Digitalization is the “mega topic of the next few years,” that is, if we believe the words of Volker Kauder, the CDU/CSU group leader in the German parliament. We at OPTIMAL SYSTEMS are pleased to read this, even if the wording “of the next few years” is somewhat surprising. After all, the implementation of the digital revolution has been a part of daily business at OPTIMAL SYSTEMS for more than 25 years.

So what is the actual state of affairs in German offices and companies when it comes to digitalization? The recent ‘Recruiting Trends in 2017’ study by Staufenbiel highlights a small but exciting aspect of the corporate world: the recruiting and/or human resources department.

The first step has been taken

Four out of ten companies do not use a software solution to process applications from prospective candidates. In many offices, letters are still opened daily, e-mails are printed, and photos are attached to paper with paper clips.

Four out of ten companies do not use applicant management software.

Home office on the rise

And even the slim majority of companies that already uses a digital solution does not always do so consistently. It may be that the main function – document management – is used almost everywhere. However, more advanced functions, such as combining rejected applicants into a talent pool (50 percent) or linking up the onboarding process directly (36 percent), are still used all too rarely. A migration of the previous work processes to digital processes can often be observed, but rarely an integrated ‘digital first’ strategy.

Areas of implementation of the applicant management solution (multiple answers possible)

Companies have recognized this trend: 70 percent of the surveyed companies estimate that the option to work remotely is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for applicants – only the aspect of flexible working hours is considered to be an even more important. Much has already been done in terms of implementation. For example, almost three out of four companies state that they offer their employees the option to work from home – but they never asked their employees whether their home Internet connections were fast enough for comfortable use.

HR departments are trying to tie employees to the company with these benefits (multiple answers possible)

Many companies have already recognized the spirit of the times and are proactively tackling the challenges of digitalization, yet a great deal of potential still remains untapped. A ‘digital first’ strategy with comprehensive integration of electronic workflows has so far been an exception in human resources. Sooner or later, most companies will not be able to avoid making their processes more and more flexible through the use of computers and taking an integrated approach to digital strategies.


There is no getting around a job interview: This is how HR staff make contact with applicants.