Finding the right recruitment channel

There are many ways of finding foreign employees – and many organisations to help you. In this section you can find out what you need to consider to ensure that you are successful in your search for skilled labour. You can also find out more about how to go about searching, possible ways of posting vacancies and contacts who will provide support.

Finding the right recruitment channel © fotolia / alphaspirit

Check your need for staff

Check your need for staff © istockphoto / kupicoo

Ask yourself whether your company needs to extend its search for job applicants to foreign countries. It is important here to carry out staff requirement planning on a regular basis to ensure that your company has the qualified staff it needs. One good way of analysing the staff situation in your company can be found on the website of KOFA, the centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals.

Searching for and selecting job applicants abroad is more time-consuming and costly overall, but you have more chance of finding the person who corresponds to your requirement profile. If your business exports, it can be especially advantageous to recruit qualified professionals from your target markets.

Select countries

Select countries © istockphoto / triloks

The actual task of recruiting abroad can be made easier by first of all selecting the target countries which are most relevant to your business. It is also important to take into account the recruitment channels and ways of addressing applicants specific to those countries. Other questions you should take into consideration are: do we already have contacts in that country? What is the current labour market situation there? Are the qualifications there recognised in Germany, or are they comparable? Do qualified professionals from that country need a residence permit to work in Germany? Is it strategically meaningful for your company to develop or expand networks in that country? KOFA, the centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals, tells you more about selecting countries and provides detailed information about recruiting from abroad.

Tip: Do you already have foreign employees in your company? They might possibly be of help in the search for staff, for example by using their contacts or their knowledge of the labour market there.

Formulating your job offer

Formulating your job offer © fotolia / contrastwerkstatt

Once you have decided to look for staff abroad, you have to fit the job offer to the target group. Draw up as accurate a job profile as possible showing the key professional and personal requirements. Set out the qualifications that are required for the post, for example whether or not a specific, formal diploma is required. If in doubt, point out that your company can help get foreign diplomas recognised. Also state the required German skills. In addition, where possible state an actual salary figure, and set out any other services that your company offers, such as relocation or support for learning the language. In other words, describe as specifically as possible what you are looking for while at the same making yourself attractive to applicants. Furthermore, state in which languages you accept applications. You will find more tips on how to formulate a job offer on the website of KOFA, the centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals.

Tip: Write your job offer in English or in the local language of your future employee. That will give you a better chance of addressing applicants who do not have a perfect command of German. Moreover, you will demonstrate that you are a cosmopolitan company, which will further improve your image abroad.

You will also find detailed information on how to find new staff and fill positions on the KOFA website.

Publishing your job offer and finding staff

Publishing your job offer and finding staff © istockphoto / zimmytws

You also need to think carefully about where you post your job offer. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Via which channels can I best reach my target group?
  • How can I get myself known abroad?
  • What other possibilities are there for finding staff?

Job listings abroad

You will find numerous international or country-specific job listings on the Internet. Post your job vacancy online there, or search for suitable candidates in the applicant pools of online job listings. When writing your job offer, make sure that it is formulated as accurately as possible and describes the requirements in concrete terms. This will help qualified professionals who are not very familiar with German technical terms and locutions to know it concerns them.

Posting vacancies on Make it in Germany

If you have a vacancy in a profession where there is a worker shortage, you can also publish it in the Make it in Germany job listings. To do so, notify the Federal Employment Agency of the vacancy and state that your job offer is also eligible for publication by public service partners. The advantage of this is that you can draw the attention of qualified professionals from all over the world to your job offer at no cost to you, but here again, remember that a job offer in English will be more effective.

Job offers on the EURES network

The EURES professional mobility portal helps employers in search of qualified professionals in other European countries. If you want to register on the EURES portal as an employer, for example, you can search for CVs of applicants who correspond to your requirements. You will find further information on the EURES portal.

Trade fairs abroad

Another possible recruitment channel are trade fairs abroad. There, you can meet potential applicants in person and get a first impression of them. Another side-effect is that your company makes itself better known abroad!
The International and Specialised Services (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency also regularly organise recruitment events in Germany and abroad. For further information, phone +49 (0) 228 713-1313.

Using social networking websites

You can also make use of national or international career platforms to draw attention to your company and your job offer. Many foreign workers are active on these special types of social networking sites to develop business contacts. As a company, you can generally draw up your own profile, search for suitable applicants or post job offers there.

Tip: Post your job offer in English or in the local language of your future employee. That will give you a better chance of addressing applicants who do not have a perfect command of German. Moreover, you will demonstrate that you are a cosmopolitan company and at the same time build your image abroad.

Important note
Notify the Federal Employment Agency of your vacancy. This is (in some cases) the only way of getting the required Vorrangprüfung – the test to see whether there are job applicants with preferential rights – carried out, for example if you wish to fill your vacancy with someone from outside the EU. You can find out more about admission to the labour market in the section “Entering and working in Germany”

Where to find further support for recruiting

Where to find further support for recruiting © fotolia / contrastwerkstatt

Federal Employment Agency Migration Support Centres

The Migration Support Centres of the International and Specialised Services (ZAV) is the first place that employers should contact and offers advice on:

  • Possibilities for employing international professionals and the legal requirements for doing so (entering Germany and visas, recognition of qualifications)
  • Recruitment channels
  • Specific challenges related to employing foreign professionals (e.g. finding accommodation, administrative formalities, language skills)
  • Establishing a welcoming culture in the company

EURES portal

The EURES professional mobility portal helps employers in search of qualified professionals in other European countries. On it, you can post job offers or search applicant profiles. Further information can be found on the EURES website.

Regional initiatives and projects

Some employer organisations, Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Chamber of Crafts offer support specifically to small and medium-sized businesses seeking to recruit qualified professionals from abroad, or run their own recruitment projects. To find out about these, contact the respective institutions in your region. Many of the Migration Support Centres also provide support for both recruiting and integrating international qualified professionals.

Another option is to enquire at the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) of the country in which you want to recruit.

You will find further regional contacts and programmes in the “Finding support” section.

HR service providers

You also have the possibility of commissioning private HR service providers to search for qualified workers. That would make less work for you in searching, although you would have to pay for the service.

Tip: Get support: look around in your region to see which partners might be able to help you find qualified professionals from abroad and take advantage of their experience.

PDF downloads

Information on this portal

Find out how some companies successfully recruited qualified professionals from abroad

Find out here how you can make qualified professionals feel welcome in your company

Information about the recognition of professional qualifications

Information on the World Wide Web

KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)

Recruitment procedure – judicious recruitment of qualified professionals

KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)

Recruiting from abroad – Efforts to secure skilled labour without borders

KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)

Apprentices from Europe – finding exactly the right young international recruits for your company

KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)

International students at German universities: qualified professionals for international markets