Impressions from TalentPro 2024 in Munich - the State of HR Tech in Germany
7 min read

Impressions from TalentPro 2024 in Munich - the State of HR Tech in Germany

Last week, I had the chance to visit TalentPro in Munich, where I live. The expo is one of the significant HR Tech events in Germany. If you are interested in what is happening in the DACH online recruiting, employer branding and recruitment marketing industry, this post is for you! 

I want to first thank Jobiqo, who sponsored my ticket, for inviting me to the conference! 

Germany is still sticking to tradition with job postings.

Job Postings are still KING – but vendors are considering CPC/CPA models.  

Not surprisingly, the majority of the German job boards are still working primarily with job postings. I have talked to most significant and secondary marketplaces, and no one is interested in doing CPC, even for high volume. 

This leaves a massive gap between CPC-based advertisers providing traffic and a growing demand from programmatic vendors – excluding Indeed. For example, most companies that want to use Appcast in Germany are limited to large international aggregators and a few Tier2 and Tier3 aggregators. 

On the other hand, I talked to a few startups considering CPA/CPC offerings. However, their primary consideration is revenue cannibalization once the new offering goes live. Their secondary concern is selling the service – recruiters in Germany are not used to this, and it is hard to explain. 

Recruiters in our country are used to posting jobs on XYZ and waiting for applications. Therefore, I always say there is a need for a generational change in the German recruiting departments. Once this happens, the demand for a more performance-based advertising approach will increase. 

Kununu’s legal trouble 

This was a scorching topic of discussion during both days. For those of you who have yet to follow the story, Kununu is something like the DACH Glassdoor, but in a significantly nicer way. Xing acquired Kununu in 2013, and the business has exploded since then. I would go so far as to state that Kununu is one of the most influential brands in the New Work SE portfolio (the company that owns Xing, Kununu and some other brands). Putting this in perspective with New Work reporting significant revenue loss in the past quarter YoY, you can see why this is getting the whole market nervous. 

So, what is happening with Kununu? 

Kununu is a platform where (former) employees can rate their employers anonymously. While positive reviews are generally not problematic, negative reviews can harm an employer’s reputation, raising the question of whether employers can demand the deletion of such reviews.

An employer questioned the authenticity of several negative reviews on Kununu, suspecting they were not from actual (former) employees. Kununu verified the reviews internally and provided anonymized proof of employment to the employer.

The Hamburg District Court ruled that Kununu’s anonymized employment records were sufficient to verify the authenticity of the reviews.

The Hanseatic Higher Regional Court overturned this decision, stating that employers can request review deletion if they cannot adequately identify the reviewer. The court held that anonymized proof is insufficient, and employers must be able to verify the reviewer's identity.

The decision by the Higher Regional Court is still being determined, as Kununu plans to contest it, potentially bringing the case before the Federal Court of Justice. 

The case has significant implications for Kununu’s business model, which is based on providing a platform for anonymous employee reviews. Kununu’s unique selling point is allowing employees to review employers anonymously. This court ruling challenges the foundation of this feature by potentially requiring Kununu to reveal reviewer identities to employers under certain circumstances.

The platform’s trustworthiness for users depends heavily on the promise of anonymity. If Kununu is compelled to disclose user identities, it might deter employees from posting honest reviews, fearing repercussions from employers. 

I can think of a few profound implications for Kununu's business model, none of which are positive:

  • Legal costs for the ongoing case and new ones
  • Reputation risks to users used to anonymity will drive usage down
  • Competitive pressure

Unfortunately, this is not the only blow for New Work.

Xing Revenue / Restructuring

The second most discussed topic during the conference was the state of XING, the second most influential brand in New Work’s portfolio. Word on the street is that half of XING's employees at TalentPro fell into one of two categories: 1) recently let go, 2) took a deal and will be out in a few months. This comes on top of what became known around April this year: Xing will retire Onlyfy, their recruitment marketing agency. 

Put all these in perspective, and you will know why Burda wants to take New Work off the stock market. This is a good decision. 

I have worked very long in Germany and know that companies like XING can get inefficient with time. Taking them off the public market gives an excellent opportunity to restructure and return more robust with a proper focus. Maybe they will go after building a CPC/CPA or a staffing marketplace, similar to Indeed's plans.  

International aggregators and job boards are looking into Germany

I managed to talk to Jooble, who has been in the German market for a while but is looking for new ways to strengthen its position. I am a massive fan of their platforms and find what they have built over a few years quite impressive. Their approach to conquering SEO with backlinks has played off well for them.

Talent is back!

After some tough times for Talent, I was surprised to see a large stand at Talentpro. This is a statement about the importance of the German market. They have quietly rebuilt the platform from scratch to accommodate more flexible advertising models, like API and job boosts. This is the correct direction here, and I applaud their decision to do this quietly, without any significant announcements. Most job boards and aggregators built in the past ten years with this size carry some solid legacy technical debt. There is a huge business opportunity to fix this. 

I also met Ding – a Croatian-based job board focused on student jobs. They are very successful in their home country and are considering entering the German market. Good luck to them! 

General lack of innovation

With few exceptions, the online recruiting market in Germany feels stale. Talking to the large vendors, there is very little substantial technical innovation. Yes, some of them sprinkle generative AI here and there, but mostly around questionable low-ROI use cases like writing job descriptions and optimizing job titles. 

Matching, Matching, Matching! 

Ok, so this is an interesting one. You have probably heard of TextKernel – their tech is powering lots of ATS platforms and job boards in our space, providing job & resume parsing and matching services. After the acquisition of Sovren, there was a bit of a gap in this space. 

I am thrilled that TextKernel is getting some solid competition in the eyes of 8vance and I had the opportunity to test both products recently and was pretty impressed. 

8vance recently won the bid from the Dutch employment agency to handle their matching. It's good for them and interesting, considering that Textkernel is a Dutch company. 

Best of startups

Unfortunately, I did not get to see all the startups, but I see four emerging topics: 

End-to-end support for non-EU workers 

Hiring outside of the EU in Germany is a nightmare. Germany has a huge demand for professionals in all areas of employment, so startups handling this flow are an excellent product-market fit. It is a clear buy for me. 

Ai-powered hiring

Yes, autonomous recruiting agents are a topic in Germany, too, and I talked to two startups at the conference. However, evaluating how much of what is pitched is real tech, an edge-case custom implementation, or just marketing is strenuous. To this day, I remain skeptical. 


Yes, I did get to talk to two companies looking to build AI-based matching products. There is a massive market for this, so this was good news. 

Videos for Job Ads

It is not AI video but well-produced videos for job ads. I have seen this concept a lot in the past few years, and although it is a sound idea, its effort and ROI are pretty low. Still, it’s excellent for employer branding.  

Monster is still alive.

Yep, I saw the purple Monster mascot running around. It almost made me want to fax and buy a job ad. 

Is TalentPro in Munich worth it?

Absolutely – I had a lot of fun and met some great people. If you want to understand the pulse of German recruiting marketing, this conference is a must. The price point is also pretty good for the two days. Of course, RecBuzz is also a must if you want to understand how recruiting in DACH works, so make sure to make plans for both!