5 recruitment trends in the German market

Published on 05-07-2017

Entering and expanding into foreign markets is certainly a step worth considering in order to develop and grow the business. However, there are many barriers a business needs to overcome to successfully enter a new market. Finding highly skilled staff is probably one of the biggest challenges. Here are 5 trends companies should be aware of when it comes to recruiting in Germany.

These are the 5 most current trends which are based on a study conducted by the Institution for Competitive Recruiting:

  1. Recruiting technologies
  2. Challenges recruiters face
  3. Active Sourcing & Social Media Recruiting
  4. Channels to communicate vacancies
  5. Future investments

Before we dive into each recruiting trend in Germany, let’s get a brief overview of the most relevant developments and their changing prevalence.

ICR Recruiting Trends 2017
Candidate Experience
and Active Sourcing became very relevant topics in the recruiting business in Germany.

Employer Brand has gained significance in recent years and imposes more of a challenge to recruiters than hiring professionally experienced workforces.

Social Media Recruiting dipped in 2015 but throughout 2016 it regained traction and continues to make a comeback.

Since 2013, the prevalence of applicant management systems has been steadily growing and employee referral programmes continue to gain significance since 2014 as well.



The other topics (professionalising recruitment, relationship to supervisors and reporting & controlling of recruitment tasks) neither show an increase nor a decrease in significance.

Recruiting technologies

As stated above, applicant management systems and ATS’s are considered the most relevant technologies and are most frequently used by companies within the field of recruiting. Companies are also using software to search and find candidates e.g. LinkedIn Recruiter or XING Talent Manager. XING is the equivalent of LinkedIn for the DACH region (Germany, Switzerland and Austria). These solutions are considered to be the shooting stars among all technologies.

Despite the seemingly unstoppable trend of digitalisation, video-based job interview technologies have become less favourable over the past two years. Mobile recruitment solutions on the other hand are one the rise since 2014.

Challenges recruiters face

Nearly one in two recruiters are concerned about finding suitable candidates and staffing vacancies in a timely manner. Almost every third recruiter complains about their workload and struggles to find a good balance between operational recruitment tasks and project management.

Active Sourcing & Social Media Recruiting

The graph below represents the percentages of all surveyed HR managers who say:

Active Sourcing Germany


“Along vacancy placements (online & print), we are proactively searching for potential candidates (XING, LinkedIn or using Google).”

After a dip in 2015, active sourcing has become a commonly used recruitment strategy these days.



When it comes to social media recruitment platforms there were no surprises really. The top 4 platforms being used to post vacancies are:

  • XING
  • LinkedIn
  • Employment review platforms
  • Facebook

Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest and Whatsapp live in the shadow of the big players.

Various channels to communicate vacancies

The corporate career and job sites are at the top of those channels being used to post and communicate vacancies followed by social media business platforms, the federal employment agency and job fairs.

Print media, HR consultancies and external sourcing providers have become nearly redundant in communicating and posting vacancies.

Future investments

In which domains do German recruiters plan to invest more money? Almost every second company is planning to invest further in social media business platforms to attract candidates and hire new employees. The companies also emphasised investment into employee referral programmes, job fairs and social media platforms.

Trend Report 2016/2017

The study conducted by the Institute for Competitive Recruiting focuses on companies of all sizes and how HR representatives of these firms evaluate the trends.

CompanyMatch has published the Trend Report 2016/2017 which gained insights into candidates’ preferences and choices. To what extent do the trends defined by the HR representatives match the candidates’ viewpoint of recruiting in Germany?

Source of information

Sources of information during job search

Career sites are a candidate’s preferred source of information about the company they would like to work for. The findings match the results of the Recruiting Trends Study 2017 as career sites are commonly used to post and communicate vacancies. However, posting job ads alone is not sufficient to attract the best talents. It is recommendable to provide information on the work-life balance, opportunities for development and the company culture. Cultural Fit is among the top key decisive factors in job searches. 


Furthermore, professional networks (XING, LinkedIn) rank high among candidates, justifying companies investing in this domain as well.

Recruiting tools

Recruiting Tools

Candidates regard employee referral programmes as very important and an effective tool in the recruitment process. This aligns with the trend of companies willing to invest into these programmes. Video recruitment tools are to be found least helpful by candidates and that is also indicated by findings from the study above. Finally, it is very important to have a culture test in place as it is the second highest ranking recruiting tool that candidates find helpful.

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