HR Department

Cost-efficient recruiting: methods & measures

Recruiting is the daily bread of larger companies. But in times of a shortage of skilled workers, it can quickly become expensive. Therefore, we clarify how costs can be reduced during the recruiting process without worsening the results.


  1. What is recruiting?

  2. Recruiting in times of the War for Talents

  3. What does cost-efficient recruiting mean?

  4. What are the cost drivers in recruiting?

  5. Where are there potential savings in recruiting in your company?

  6. Conclusion - Cost-efficient recruiting

Recruiting is daily bread in larger companies. Talent has to be recruited from outside the company, and failures within the company have to be responded to.

What sounds simple at first is actually a complex process in the course of which many adjusting screws can be turned to improve results and reduce costs.

Our guide is all about cost-efficient recruiting. How can costs be reduced during the recruiting process without worsening results? We would like to answer these and other questions.

What is Recruiting?

Let's start with the basics. What is recruiting anyway? The term "recruiting" originates from English, but has now been adopted by many German companies and is used instead of the rather dusty word "personnel recruitment".

Recruiting is about searching for qualified employees and attracting them to your company. In order to be successful in times of the so-called war for talent, many individual steps have to be taken as part of the recruiting process, which can sometimes be costly.

From the creation of a job advertisement, to the interview process with suitable candidates, to onboarding, there are many areas in which competence, patience and financial strength are required.

Recruiting in times of the war for talent

In recent years, the search for suitable candidates has become considerably more complicated for companies in certain industries.

The shortage of skilled workers is affecting almost every industry, and companies in all sectors are having problems attracting suitable and, above all, talented junior staff. Whereas just a few years ago many companies had problems selecting the right candidate from a flood of applications, nowadays well-qualified applicants in some industries can choose where they want to work.

Optimizing the recruiting process is therefore at the top of many companies' to-do lists. As recruiting costs have skyrocketed in recent years, many companies are faced with the question of how to reduce these costs without losing their appeal to talent.

What does cost-efficient recruiting mean?

Cost-efficient recruiting is the art of streamlining the recruiting process in a company in such a way that good results can be achieved with low expenditure.

Due to the aforementioned war for talent, the cost per application (CPA) for companies has been rising significantly for years. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult, especially for smaller companies, to keep up with larger, financially stronger competitors in the battle for qualified specialists.

Today, it is therefore becoming increasingly important not only to streamline recruiting processes, but also to provide the best possible training for talents that have been acquired for the company and to retain them.

What are the cost drivers in recruiting?

Recruiting can cost a lot of money. Particularly in industries where talent is scarce and jobs are plentiful, necessary recruiting can eat into a company's budget. So where do particularly high costs lurk in the hunt for talent?

Placement of job ads & social media

Even the first step in the search for new employees can cost a lot of money. Before job ads can be placed, they must first be created. This alone ties an employee to a task for several hours.

Then a fee must be paid on relevant portals, which can often be 1,000 euros or more for 30 days.

In addition, important job ads should be advertised online, especially on social networks. Advertising on social media is not free either, not to mention that social media experts now get paid princely.

Often, the fees on social media portals depend on the number of clicks an ad receives. This offers the advantage that you only have to pay for the ad if it really attracts interest. This concept is called "cost per click" (abbreviation CPC for cost per click).

Use of headhunters

Even more costly, but also more promising, is the use of headhunters. Headhunters search specifically for suitable candidates for the position to be filled. Applicants are selected on the basis of criteria defined by you and contacted directly.

Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly difficult for headhunters to achieve success in their search for talent. At the same time, recruiting experts are charging a lot for their work. Fees of 20% to 30% of the recruited employee's gross annual salary are not uncommon.

Further personnel costs

Personnel costs are incurred not only in the creation and placement of job advertisements, but also in other activities and measures as part of the recruitment process.

Employees in the HR department, for example, have to sift through applications for jobs, evaluate and categorize them before conducting time-consuming interviews with promising candidates in the next step.

Costs for personnel marketing & employer branding

Personnel marketing also costs a lot of time and money. Content must be created, maintained and updated. In addition to employees with sufficient know-how, this also requires software solutions that are often not inexpensive.

Even if marketing costs in HR seem unnecessary at first glance and many managers think that this is where money is most likely to be saved, the importance of this area should by no means be underestimated. Employer branding, for example, is an immensely important recruiting tool with regard to the shortage of skilled workers.

It makes sense to sum up all these expenses and consider them as "cost per hire". This makes it easier for people in the finance department and in management to keep an overview, while the success of the recruiting channels can be measured much better.

Where are there potential savings in recruiting in your company?

As you can see, there are many challenges and cost drivers in recruiting. However, experience shows that these can be countered with certain measures. Processes can be optimized and resources conserved.

We would like to provide you with some recommendations that can serve as a basis for future decisions in the personnel area.

Automate the recruiting process

So-called recruiting automation systems allow you to make significant savings in personnel costs for your recruiters. Thanks to machine learning and AI technologies, such a tool takes over the search for suitable applicants for positions that need to be filled.

Instead of distracting your employees from their core tasks for hours and letting them post job ads on dozens of portals, you can easily let a software handle these repetitive tasks.

Modern tools even take care of contacting the professionals, for example via social media or email.

Avoid high fluctuation

If you keep key employees in the company, you don't have to constantly search for new skilled workers in Germany's already tight labor market.

Ensure a pleasant atmosphere in the company and create financial incentives for key employees. This includes, for example, promotion opportunities, flexible working hours, home office options, company cars and much more. Offer your top employees benefits that other companies do not offer them.

Speed up the recruitment process

The longer the recruitment process takes, the more it strains your budget. Therefore, try to find out where the process falters. Find pinholes and mend those spots in the recruiting process. The faster an employee can move on to other tasks, the fewer resources you'll have to spend on recruiting.

Nurture the talent pool

Create a talent pool. Just because a promising talent prefers a different job at the moment doesn't mean it will always be that way. Don't let the contact drop.

Conclusion - Cost-efficient recruiting

Human resources, like any other area, costs a lot of money. Nevertheless, thanks to modern tools, costs can be reduced, sometimes significantly. Use social media and software to stay competitive. But don't neglect your recruiting at all. Think of your company as a product that you need to market in the right way. This is the only way your company will continue to attract people in the field.

More information

Would you like to find out more about recruiting? Then take a look at our free guide to active sourcing.

EN Active Sourcing


Similar posts

Bleiben Sie informiert!

Gehören Sie zu den Ersten, wenn es um Insights in der HR-Branche geht. Abonnieren Sie dazu unseren Newsletter, der neue Blogartikel, Whitepaper und Leitfäden ankündigt.