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Switzerland Recruiting & Hiring

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When you are ready to recruit and hire employees in Switzerland, it seems simple to conduct interviews, write an employment contract, and add an employee to your payroll. However, employing workers in a new country can prove more difficult as you try to meet all of Switzerland’s employment compliance laws.

Globalization Partners can simplify the process using our Employer of Record model. When you work with us, we’ll hire employees who work on your behalf, and we’ll put the risk of compliance on our shoulders instead of yours.

Recruiting in Switzerland

Expanding to Switzerland can only be as successful as the employees you hire. Without a talented team, your business will have trouble getting off the ground and competing in a global marketplace. However, to find and hire the right people, you must understand the business and cultural norms central to society. Three of the most important customs to understand follow.

1. Varied Hierarchy

Overall, the Swiss business climate is formal and conservative, with companies using the traditional vertical structure. However, company culture can vary depending on whether the business is in a German, French, or Italian part of the country. Most employees have little responsibility within a company, but international companies use more of a U.S. structure, giving employees more of a say. This setup could impact how you communicate with potential candidates during an interview.

2. Brisk and Planned Business Meetings

Meetings are usually fast, planned, and task-oriented. Prepare yourself before the meeting starts, as Swiss get right down to business after a few minutes of general discussion. Body language is also important during meetings, and customs can vary by region. All meetings have a detailed agenda, and everyone should contribute to reach a consensus quickly.

Punctuality is also important for both business and social gatherings. Make sure you’re always on time to meet job candidates, and keep meetings and interviews brief and productive.

3. Slow and Methodical Negotiations

Stay patient during negotiations, as discussions in Switzerland are always precise and cautious. The Swiss are known as hard but fair bargainers, and they make decisions slowly while considering all angles. They take business seriously, so make sure you never find humor in negotiations. Understand that this slow process could extend to hiring, with potential employees taking a long time to decide and agree on the right terms.

The Recruitment Process in Switzerland

Staffing and recruiting in Switzerland are complicated tasks that require a complete understanding of the applicable laws. For example, you can contact references that a candidate provides in a CV or application, but you can request a medical check only if it’s justified by the type of work required for the position.

Other regulations to know include the following:

  • Drug screening is allowed only if it is required for the work involved, such as the work of a truck driver.
  • Credit checks are usually not allowed under the law unless the information is relevant to the job, such as an accountant position.
  • You cannot screen a candidate’s social media accounts.
  • You can screen professional sites such as LinkedIn and Xing.

Generally, you can handle an employee’s data only if the information concerns the individual’s suitability for the job or is necessary for the performance indicated in the employment contract. This regulation also applies to pre-employment screening practices. Some exceptions are in place, such as asking the candidate for an excerpt of their criminal register if the position justifies doing so.

Finding the Right Candidates

Whether you’re staffing your business or working with a third party, it’s crucial that you know where to advertise your openings. The country has four national languages — German, Italian, French, and Romansh. You can post your vacancies in any of these languages based on the location and position. Overall, the country has a small labor market, high competition for jobs, and a highly skilled workforce. Some of the top online job boards include:

  • Neuvoo Switzerland.

If you’re primarily recruiting recent graduates or students, you can use Most recruiters use job boards, company websites, networking, or newspaper ads to find candidates. In terms of social network recruiting, LinkedIn is the top choice. Many recruiters also contact people directly, so you can do the same or work with a recruiter who can handle this communication on your behalf.

How to Hire Employees in Switzerland

Before you hire employees in Switzerland, you’ll need to pinpoint any cultural expectations or employment compliance laws that could make a difference during negotiations. For example, Switzerland employers give notoriously high salaries, especially in Geneva and Zurich. Wages are often administered by seniority, but more companies are adopting a pay system based on performance.

An employee’s salary includes pension, interest, assets, and similar benefits. Employers often review wages towards the end of each calendar year and institute a pay raise starting on the first of the upcoming year. About a quarter of all employees in Switzerland belong to a trade union, which could also impact salary negotiations.

Switzerland Employment Compliance

Switzerland employment compliance doesn’t stop once you hire a new employee. As an employer, you must make sure your employees remain compliant throughout their tenure with your company.

The standard workweek in Switzerland is 45 hours for retail employees, office personnel, industrial workers, and technical personnel. All other workers have a fixed 50-hour workweek, but employers can stipulate different hours depending on the job requirements and industry.

How to Onboard Employees

Although Switzerland employment laws do not require you to write an employment contract, it is best practice to draft one before onboarding a new employee. You should include employment terms such as compensation, benefits, and termination requirements. Make sure any compensation amounts are in Swiss francs rather than another currency.

Companies can choose how they want to onboard employees. Try to tailor your process to your company by including any necessary training that fits the position and your company’s culture. Other onboarding tips include:

  • Onboard multiple new hires at one time to streamline the process
  • Review the employment contract with the employee during their first day or week
  • Have the employee sign the company’s code of conduct and related documents

Benefits of Switzerland Hiring Outsourcing

Instead of remembering all these rules on your own, you’ll find exceptional benefits with Switzerland hiring outsourcing services. Globalization Partners can hire talented employees on your behalf and employ them using our existing PEO. We’ll add them to our already compliant payroll and act as the Employer of Record, so Switzerland employment compliance will remain our concern instead of yours.

Choosing Globalization Partners

If you’re ready to expand to Switzerland, Globalization Partners can help with our Switzerland hiring outsourcing services. Contact us today to learn more.

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