The German job board market belongs to the richest and most competitive markets in the world. The prices for job ads, compared to the Anglo-American markets, are rather high, with a range from € 800 and € 1,100 for the big and important players. The higher cost seems to result from the fact that German job boards offer the possibility to post jobs in companies’ corporate design. German firms attach very high importance to brand awareness in their recruitment strategy.
Response rates and niche sites
Response rates on listed job offers are fairly good but mostly not overwhelming (depending on the position, of course). With the skills shortage that is menacing sectors such as health care, engineering, IT and industrial/mechanical art, competition to recruit the few qualified candidates is tough. However, that does unfortunately not mean that specialized, niche, job sites perform very well. On the contrary, only a handful of niche job portals are really good – with rather low response rates.
For the high earning executives, who wish to benefit from a headhunter network, Germany has a well-functioning site with Experteer.de – a direct competitor to TheLadders. You might still remember, that Experteer made a rather poor start into the UK market which was discussed heatedly at the time when they launched their British portal: http://ukrecruiter.typepad.com/uk_recruiter_blog/2009/04/job-scraping—and-bad-business-manners.html)
Differences in the British vs German market
British job seekers might find it a bit odd that hardly any job posting includes a salary range.
Apart from that, German companies prefer to post jobs directly instead of using recruitment ad agencies or recruitment agencies. There are, of course the big recruitment agencies like Adecco, Manpower, Randstad, etc. but the number of their postings does not exceed the number of direct postings.
Job Board metrics and performance
The curious thing about the German online recruiting market is that it is less statistic and performance-driven than the UK. There are neither an equivalent of NORAS study nor IAB figures about online ad spend for the recruitment sector – even though I am sure that AGOF (www.agof.de) could do that if there was enough interest.
The two major job boards, StepStone.de and Monster.de have only subscribed in 2010 to IVW (www.ivw.de/), which is similar to an ABC audit. There are a few minor sites that get audited that way but they mainly belong to media companies that track their audience more thoroughly.
Reason being: most German recruiters are not interested in complex metrics and job board ROI (although they should be) and do rarely track the source of their applications and hires.
Social Media Recruiting
As everywhere else, Social Media Recruitment has become one of the big buzz words in HR. The number of career pages on Facebook is growing constantly. Many studies reveal that whilst Social Media Recruitment is on the list of trends to take seriously, it hasn’t reached priority level yet.
Budgets for Social Media Recruiting are practically non-existent (which are the early findings of my still running Social Media Poll -> please participate if you speak German or forward to someone who does: https://www.netigate.se/s.asp?s=50506X5230).
The social network Germans mostly use for business is XING, not LinkedIn. There are about 4.5 million German-speaking XING users compared to 1 million LinkedIn users.
LinkedIn is considered a social network for companies and networkers dealing with international businesses.
But things have started to change slightly since LinkedIn offered the possibility to create a profile in German. Since XING’s criticized relaunch in June 2011, members tend to be unsatisfied by the site and start to explore new options.
Job postings on XING are generally more expensive than on LinkedIn, but it varying by ad type (individual HTML postings cost more than text ads). A text ad self-service tool to promote jobs throughout the whole site does not exist on XING. There is far less analytical approach of member and industry data than on LinkedIn and XING doesn’t offer a recruiter platform to deal with applications. As a consequence, XING’s main revenue stems from paid memberships whereas LinkedIn makes a good deal of money with their recruiting solutions.
The major job board players
The German Top 5 (generalists) are
For more information on these and other job sites that will prove useful for your international hires, don’t hesitate to give me a shout over at http://www.online-recruiting.net/contacts/
About the author: Eva Zils has been consulting companies in their efforts to optimize their international job board and online recruiting strategy for more than seven years. In 2007 she has launched www.online-recruiting.net which lists among the most read and influential blogs in the German-speaking online recruitment landscape.