Steinbeis consultant Martin Jäger (left) with Daniel Kargl, service manager at Autohaus Weeber in Leonberg

Recruitment 4.0 – Digital, Fast, and Inexpensive

Steinbeis experts share new ways to recruit staff

The digitalization of recruitment processes is still in its infancy in many companies. While applicants now expect a digital, highly efficient application experience, it is still not uncommon to find employment ads on job websites asking them to apply via email – not forgetting to attach a cover letter, references, and a resume with a photo. The whole process is then rounded off with an automatic response along the lines of “Please allow up to four weeks for us to review your application.” As a result, job applicants try applying to a different company. The Weeber Group, based in Leonberg on the outskirts of Stuttgart, is showing that things can be different these days, not only for large companies but also for SMEs. With the support of Martin Jäger from the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Sales Analytics, the car dealership overhauled its recruitment processes – resulting in the hiring of new, qualified staff.

SMEs may be hit the hardest by the shortage of skilled workers, but this is also an opportunity – assuming companies are willing to move their recruiting processes into the digital era. “Small businesses can definitely generate a broader reach than large companies, especially in digital times. This can mainly be achieved by offering an actual peek behind the scenes, or a certain quantity of content, because people only apply to companies that actually take notice of them,” explains Martin Jäger from the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Sales Analytics.

Perceptions can be extremely strongly influenced in the world of digitech. You’re more likely to apply to companies you notice every day – for example in digital formats, in social media – than companies you have to google first. There are also cost benefits. Social media such as Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn can basically be used for free.

Recruitment 4.0 – tips from a professional

Steinbeis expert Martin Jäger has pulled together a synopsis of the most important aspects of successful recruitment:

  • Don’t try to “cover all your bases” at once. For example, SAP is planning to waive its requirement to hold a degree in order to leave the door open to people who’ve not completed a college degree.
  • Speed: Respond to applications immediately, because good applicants are often invited to interviews within only 48 hours and it’s not uncommon for them to completely ignore offers that come later.
  • Build and reinforce your social media presence: Without Instagram, TikTok and co. you’ll find it difficult recruiting people.
  • Type A’s hire other Type A’s: If you want to recruit high achievers, you need the best recruiters and the best leaders.
  • Make it easy to apply: Every obstacle that makes it difficult to apply loses you applicants. So make it as easy as possible for applicants. The key idea here is one-click applications.

Recruitment 4.0 – making a success of it

When the Weeber Group turned to the Steinbeis Enterprise from Hilzingen, it didn’t take long to draft a Recruitment 4.0 game plan based on the aspects outlined above. Before long, Martin Jäger and other managers at the company set about implementing their new game plan.

The first step was to set up exploratory meetings to define employee profiles with a focus on the specific needs of the company – without trying to “cover off all bases.” The next step was to plan a social media funnel, which was optimized specifically for mobile devices. To do this, the project partners made certain that they used the same language as the target group and clearly highlighted the benefits for applicants. In addition, a social media campaign was launched with paid advertising for the target group.

The results of the campaign confirmed that they were doing things right: Out of 64 applicants, 32 were deemed suitable. Eleven were then shortlisted and in the final round the company made four job offers.

Considering the cost of the campaign, which was less than placing a three-month job ad on a recruitment website, it was evident that changing the recruitment process was the right thing to do – and an important step for the company. As a result, the Weeber Group will continue to bank on Recruitment 4.0 processes in the future.

Social Media Funnel

A social media funnel consists of a landing page that is highly customized to target applicants in terms of text, emojis, colors, or benefits. The same applies to the questions applicants have to answer if they’re interested in a specific job. After clicking through these questions, applicants land on a page that allows them to leave their contact details without being asked for a resume or similar documents. Often the entire process takes no more than 60 seconds. Such funnels are optimized for mobile devices, since most social media users use smartphones.


Martin Jäger (author)
Freelance project manager
Steinbeis Consulting Center Sales Analytics (Hilzingen)