Sourcing in Germany: Q&A with Wolfgang Brickwedde

We caught up with Wolfgang Brickwedde who will speak about sourcing in Germany at #SOSUMED (day 2).

Q. Can you briefly explain your background and what problems you are currently solving for clients?
I’m the founder and director of the Institute for Competitive Recruiting (ICR), Heidelberg. Before founding the ICR, I hold senior management positions at SAP and Royal Philips Electronics in the areas of Employer Branding and Recruitment for various regions and countries in the Mediterranean. The Institute for Competitive Recruiting (ICR) consults companies on what I call “recruitment performance management” with the goal to make the clients competitive in the recruitment market. This is supported by conducting studies on the status of recruitment in Germany, e.g. effectiveness and efficiency of the recruitment processes, reaching from employer branding and sourcing to onboarding.

The ICR is acting as a platform for improving the recruitment function in Germany. In addition, the ICR is exploring improvement areas and consults in the steps of attracting, sourcing, selecting and hiring of new employees. Currently a lot the clients facing problems in getting enough candidates via reactive recruiting and exploring the new world of proactive recruiting, including sourcing.

Q. Can you shed some light on the labour market and the state of sourcing in Germany? How do you think it compares to the rest of Europe?
The labour market in Germany is currently experiencing a 20 year low in the unemployment rate with around 5 % according to the ILO. In certain areas we face a severe skill shortage, e.g. ITC, engineering, almost all medical areas. The majority of the employers in Germany is still in a kind of “post & pray” recruiting mode. Just one in four are testing the water with recruiting in social media or proactively sourcing for candidates. Although this figure has doubled in the last three years, in terms of sourcing, Germany is still in a toddler stage.

Compared to other countries in the Mediterranean, the labour markets in the Netherland, Switzerland and Austria are quite similar, almost all other countries are having a labour surplus market with unemployment rates close to 60% among the youth in the southern countries like Greece, Italy and Spain.

Q. In your opinion what are the most effective sources of talent in Germany? What are some of the challenges faced by employers in Germany?
The latest ICR Active Sourcing Report 2013, of which I will present parts on #SOSUMEDROPE, shows that the recruiter get the most for recruiting out of the social business networks like XING and LinkedIn. CV Databases and the so called career networks like Experteer are a good source, too. And some are working with Google. Twitter and Facebook are rarely good sources for potential candidates.

While sourcing for these potential candidates, recruiters in Germany currently face some challenges like – now, that I’ve found the candidate, what is the best way to approach him or her by mail? I will solve the big mystery on the best approach in my session at #SOSUMEDROPE. In addition, we have a very strong culture of data protection and privacy that keeps some recruiters from even trying to source.

Q. Is social sourcing big in Germany? How does Xing compares to the likes of Linkedin and other social networks?
If you would have asked me that question two years earlier, I would have stated, no, definitely not yet, it’s just a hype. But 2013, one out of ten hires are made from social networks! And as mentioned earlier, the latest ICR Recruiting Report shows that more than 25 % of the employers are, in addition to their effort in the “post & pray” recruiting area, pro-actively sourcing for candidates. That leaves as well 75% of the employers in the “recruiting stone age”, so sourcing is not big yet, but it’s the shooting star in recruiting in Germany.

With regards to XING and LinkedIn: XING is by far the favorite for sourcing among the recruiters. It’s triples LinkedIn in members, same goes for usage among recruiters. Last year, XING came with a something similar like the LinkedIn Recruiter, called XING Talent Manager, and was able to sell within the first 12 month more than 2000 licences!