How Germany uses Social Media for Recruitment

Just back from a trip to the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany where out of pure curiosity I wanted to discover how popular social recruiting is in Europe’s biggest economy.

Despite the economic crisis, Germany has grown, created more jobs, and reduced its national debt. Armed with a recent study undertaken by Stepstone: Recruitment via social media: fact or hype? based on research carried out in seven European countries including Germany, I spoke to business men and women from varying backgrounds – ranging from print, manufacturing and consumer brands, to healthcare and education – about their use of social media per se, and also as a means of social recruitment.

Of the eighteen people I spoke to, only five had heard of LinkedIn and none thought it worth their while joining at present. They told me their primary social media site for business networking was Xing closely followed by Facebook and Twitter (although all but two said their Facebook and Twitter sites were primarily used for engagement and brand awareness).

This ties in with Stepstone’s research, which states that the number one site in Germany is Xing – founded by Lars Hinrichs in 2003 (known as openBC/Open Business Club until November 2006). The site is used by 78% of Germans; Facebook is at the number two slot, with LinkedIn coming in at third place, but growing in popularity.

Highlights of the Report

Research carried out in seven countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.

  • 62% of European internet users use social media.
  • 81% of job seekers are represented in social media; most use social media daily.
  • The corporate world has increased its social media presence by almost 50% in just three years.
  • Social media sites most used for recruitment are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • In France, Viadeo and LinkedIn are equal.
  • Top social network in Austria and Germany is Xing.
  • LinkedIn is continuing to gain ground in France, Germany and Austria.
  • Social media only fill 2% of job openings.
  • Internal sources account for 24% of job openings.
  • Job boards 21% of job openings.
  • 56% of job seekers have been contacted via social networks, the majority white-collar workers.
  • Only 25% of companies receive a response to the majority of their requests.
  • 73% of companies use social media to check candidates.
  • Companies have tripled their use of social media for employer branding over the last three years.
  • 50% of job seekers check a company’s social media pages while applying for a job.

However, with companies like JTW now utilising sophisticated big data technology, designed to refine and attract both active and passive talent for companies – discovering those with specific skills and in niche roles in a fraction of the time taken by current recruitment techniques – it will be interesting to see whether social recruitment has time to grow and become an effective part of the recruitment mix in the future.

Mike Sandiford
Head of Partnerships
0207 193 9931

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