Top 3 Tips to engage with German candidates

Top 3 Tips to engage with German candidates

It is a known by anyone that Germans are uber punctual and very serious!  But let’s dive into the German work culture a little but more outside the cliches.

Our guide with 3 rules to understand better the German work culture and to successfully engage with German candidates.

#1 Efficiency is their middle name

When it comes to productivity, Germany scores 27.2 percentage points in terms of efficiency. Amongst the best ranked countries in work productivity are Ireland, Norway, and Germany according to OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development)

Germany allows employees to work less and more productively! What’s the key to high productivity with less working hours? The answer is: EFFICIENCY. And Germans love to claim this title, look at what the World says on German Engineering and Precision! At work, you quickly notice that your German colleagues keep small talk to a minimum and keep their focus.

Particularly in meetings, everyone strives to contribute to the project as effectively as possible; any unnecessary or excessive small talk tends to leave the impression that you’re simply not working.

When recruiting Germans: Get used to getting straight to the point when reaching out to them give them the right amount of relevant information and don’t forget straight talking!

#2 Show R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Formality

You don’t simply call a German by their First Name or Nickname! That’s a BIG NO NO! In smaller to middle-sized companies, it’s still the norm to address you work colleagues and needless to say, your managers with the formal “Sie” as if you’ve never met before. (don’t get your hopes up if you think they will become more flexible, this NEVER happens!). By the way, people with a doctorate/PhD tend to insist on being called by their Dr Herr or Frau and Surname – get used to it.

With more and more startup’s and tech hubs in Berlin or a more “young, trendy and international working environment”, the atmosphere is rather different, with flat hierarchies, and the formal address fades away.

When reaching out to Germans make sure you address them properly and you don’t offend them by not including their Title!

#3 Rule #1: Time is precious

Us Germans aren’t spontaneous! – as simple as that. Everything needs to be planned, arranged and scheduled in advanced.

Germans love planning, they choose security over spontaneity. In the work culture in Germany (but also in your free time!) unpunctuality is among the biggest sins. An absolute no-go! IF you agreed on having a call with a candidate at 5.00 pm you meant 5.00 pm not 5:02 pm that’s simply wrong! In line with their efficiency, you don’t waste their time or make them loose their time. Germans believe wasting someone’s time is very disrespectful.

What’s even more, being punctual applies to all concepts of time. Project deadline need to be hit, meetings start on time and end on time – don’t run over time! So be precise and straight to the point when communicating with Germans.

Some other traits that describe Germans generally is that they have very good work ethics and a professional attitude. They are often very thorough, detail-oriented, and keen on producing good results. Usually, they mean exactly what they say. This can come across as perhaps direct or straightforward!

All in all, you can be sure Germans take time to create a relationship but once they have made a commitment, they will try to develop a mutually beneficial relationship based on trust and you will have won them forever!

Written by Diana Haltermann – CEO


Executive Director

Talented International –


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