How to write job postings in Germany

Some rules for writing attractive job postings for the German labour market

Hiring in Germany can be a troublesome issue. The labour market is highly competitive when it comes to talents, especially in the field of engineering and IT. The ongoing “war for talents” forces companies to attract potential employees with interesting tasks and benefits.

There are a few rules that a company should follow when writing a job postings for the German labour market. These rules can be regarded as a framework that states which information applicants expects in a job posting in order to be able to make a decision on whether or not they want to apply for that job. Applicants in Germany are rather risk-averse and prefer to have all relevant information before they apply for a job. This is also due to the fact that writing a good application according to German standards might take quite some time. Therefore, German applicants tend to only apply for a job if they are sure that it matches their expectations.

Listed below you can find some rules to how a general German job posting is set up. All sections are of equal relevance. The amount of information given in each section should correlate with each other regarding their lenght:

  1. Company description
    (who is the employer)
  2. Job description: Which position in the company has to be filled
    (roles & tasks)
  3. Profile description: What kind of person the company is looking for
    (profile of the applicant & qualifications)
  4. Offer: What does the company offer to the employee?
    (work environment, benefits, etc.)

    (Further information: start date/salary expectation/…)

1. Company description
(who is the employer)

The first part of the job posting is a short company introduction. The applicant is informed about what the company does and its major products/services. Furthermore, the company’s characteristics and how it distinguishes itself from others are presented here. The aim of this section is to catch the applicants attention and give them a broad idea on what kind of company they are dealing with. However, it is not necessary to write a lengthy text as this would rather discourage the applicant from reading it. To the contrary, a well summed-up introduction will encourage the applicant to do further research on a company.

2. Job description: Which position in the company has to be filled?
(roles & tasks)

The second part is the job description. It starts by giving an insight into what the exact role of the person in the company would be and how this role contributes to the overall business activities. In this section it is also stated whether the position includes leading a team and with whom the applicant will be interacting in their daily activities, e.g. other teams, departments, supervisors or to whom they will be reporting to.
In the second step, the major tasks which the applicant can expect to be doing are named. These are usually listed as bullet points and aim to give the applicant an idea of how their workday could look like.

3. Profile description: What kind of person the company is looking for?
(profile of the applicant & qualifications)

The third part of the job posting states the requirements of the company. In this section hard & soft skills are mentioned. The hard skills include a degree required in a specific field, additional qualifications (which can be certified), the number of years of professional experience, professional experience in a specific field, language skills and many more. Soft skills are (inter-)personal abilities and additional skills the employee should have which can not be certified. These can be analytical skills, interpersonal & behavioral characteristics, team spirit, leadership qualities and others.
This section is usually structured into bullet points. Employers should be aware, that their list of requirements depicts the perfect candidate. Very rarely does a potential candidate meet all the requirements listed in a job posting.

4. Offer: What does the company offer to the employee?
(work environment, benefits, etc.)

This section has gained importance in the past years. The so called generation Y, which forms the major resource on the labour market nowadays, has more demands towards a job than the previous generation had. Especially employees from the academic field are not only looking for a job that pays, but also is personally fulfilling and allows them to be ambitious. Team spirit and a positive work environment are basic requirements employees have towards a job. Additional incentives that employees are welcome to see include flexible working hours, food & drinks, team events, further training opportunities and work-life balance.

These four sections cover all relevant information an applicant expects from a job posting. If they are served well the job posting is likely to generate positive responses and high-quality applications.