HR Recruiting Employer Branding Marketing in Times of Social Media: 5 Books for Theory and Practice {Review}

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Many books have meanwhile appeared on the subject of HR and recruiting in times of digitization. 5 books for you read and selected.

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By the way: You can find many more hand-picked reading recommendations in our section Editorial book tips.

Here writes for you:

Wolfgang Hanfstein 38Wolfgang Hanfstein is co-founder and chief editor of, the leading bookstore for executives, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons.


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Oliver Ibelshäuser 85Oliver Ibelshäuser is a journalist and owner of the editorial office Text und Vision.


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Martin Tschumi martinschumiMartin Tschumi worked for a long time as a seminar leader and business coach in HR further education. From this experience, he regularly reviews HR literature from various fields.


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Tobias Mattl is an online project manager with a focus on social media recruiting.


The problem lies in the target group

First there is Frank Bärmann's “Social Media in Human Resource Management” and secondly “Recruiting in the Social Web”, edited by Bernd H. Rath and Sonja Salmen. The difficult undertaking of such books is the target group orientation. Because in general, such IT books in guidebook format are intended as an introduction to people who have so far hardly dealt with the topic.

And this is exactly where the dilemma begins: in the personnel area, these potential buyers are also exactly those who actually do not feel like dealing with the topic. Anyone who reads such a book, however, are the people who are already familiar with it anyway - and therefore expect something more than just an overview-like introduction. That's what happened to me.

Two books, one price

Both books are at the same price, both of them deal with the same topic and yet there are some fundamental differences: not only does the collection of Bernd H. Rath and Sonja Salmen cover almost 200 pages more than Frank Bärmann's book also far more opinions.

That makes the comparison almost a bit unfair, but Bärmann and the MITP publishing house have to put up with it because of the same price.

Smart examples, hardly any strategy

To Bärmann's book, Jannis Tsalikis has written a very readable review and discussed in his blog also with the author. The observations of Tsalikis coincide with mine:

The book covers the technical aspects of the topic, shows numerous practical examples with screenshots and explains the basic concepts of social media and personnel management.

What is missing, however, are far-reaching strategic considerations which, of course, are increasingly difficult to give, the author also says in his commentary: one does not know where to start. A problem that I know only too well from the seminar.

20 authors, 20 opinions

After all, the collection “Recruiting in the Social Web” by Bernd H. Rath and Sonja Salmann also takes this aspect into account: because in addition to the editors, 20 authors have contributed to taking the topic into account from different perspectives.

These include, for example Dr. Nico Rose, responsible for employer branding at Bertelsmann, or Martin Reti, social media manager at BRERA AG, with whom I recently discussed in the blog. And it is precisely from these practical experiences that comprehensive strategic considerations then find their way into the book:

Management models and Generation Y

This includes comprehensive explanations, such as Generation Y and the War for Talents, as well as the basic strategies using the St. Gallen management model.

Aspects such as employer branding, talent relationship management, e-recruiting systems, but also legal aspects and social media guidlines are addressed. Each chapter is scientifically provided with detailed source information, which invite you to browse further.

Theory or practice?

There is no doubt that the book of Rath and Salmen has a quite different, more scientific claim, which is more suited to the more educated, more specialized target group.

However, the topic is rather on a theoretical level: I would like to get more personal insights into the daily recruiting-2.0 work from the authors, who come partly from the HR practice.

From which one can draw more profit in the end, from the clever, practical examples of Frank Bärmann, or the systematic but theoretical treatises of Rath and Salmen, each one must decide for himself in the end. I personally would prefer the volume of Rath and Salmen.

All Business is People Business

Despite Facebook and Co, there is no way around a substantial network. And as it is with nets, they must be made in small work. Node for node. A good guide for this has been written by Peer Arne Böttcher. Relationship management is the ability to build long-term, trusting relationships. To customers, partners and, of course, to our own employees.

It is not primarily about harmony, as Peer-Arne Böttcher makes clear in his management book “Hand on it”, but about the basics of economic activity: “Marriages should be happy, partnerships should be successful, that is a big difference”.

Good relationships are no coincidence

On the basis of his relationship pyramid, the author illustrates that good relationships in business are not mere coincidences, but are based on regularities. Ten chronological stages lead you from the foundation to the top.

Before the first friendly phone call there is reflection and research: You first formulate your business goals and outline the profile of your teammates (“To be successful together sometimes means simply to find partners who support your own project.”).

Good preparation is everything

Then prepare yourself sufficiently for your counterpart. Xing, Google and maybe also Facebook give you valuable clues as to who you will be dealing with in the future - even before you have exchanged a word (“the zero impression”).

And then? Approach people with determination, in a friendly manner (“A relationship must be established analogously and then also cultivated, otherwise it virtualises itself”), with whom you work and above all personally.

Good contact brings 10 others

Of course you want something from them, but that is exactly why you should be ready to always give something. In advance. Not as a thank you. This is the basis of sustainable relationships and negotiating in partnership. "If you let each other win, not just once, but on principle, then long-lasting and successful relationships can result."

Conclusion: “Good contact in the network adds ten others. A bad one, on the other hand, sells ten good ones - writes Peer-Arne Böttcher in his book “Hand on it” and explains in detail that it is not an art to make “good” contacts regularly.

200 important key figures for human resources: just do not lose control!

Where did we reach our educational goals and where did we fail? What effects does demographic change have on us? Are we measuring social media costs and success accurately and transparently?

These are just a few questions that personnel managers and managing directors keep asking themselves. Roger Polansky and André Hafner answer these and many more questions in their “Key Figures Manual for Human Resources”.

Purpose and goal of the HR key figure works

Key figures are rightly a popular control instrument - also in the human resources sector. They point to mistakes, facilitate control and planning, create decision-making bases with facts and figures, clarify analyzes and are an indispensable cost control tool.

This book is based on the relevant HR key figures including analyzes, interpretations, code selection, reporting, data sources, key figure goals, application purposes and much more. Important key figures are illustrated with practical examples and often also provide for possible measures and analysis aids.

Compact and clear preparation

The book is suitable as a reference book for the fast reader as well as for HR practitioners, who would like to deepen themselves with the matter practice-oriented. The information is extremely compact, limited to the essentials, and has been specially prepared for action.

Numerous panels summarize the essentials for HR practice on one page and thus facilitate the implementation into the practice in particular. Illustration of the staff reality in the Company, Tasks and focuses of controlling and prerequisites for powerful performance measurement systems are examples of helpful background information.

200 Key figures for selection

From a selection of almost 200 key figures, the reader can compile his own individual “HR key figure menu” using a specified criteria and selection grid.

A case example for the key figure introduction in companies, the overview boards and checklists and text modules for HR key figure reports have given me particular credit. Very true and too much of a belief in numbers, the authors are correct:

“They only fulfill their purpose if measures follow, key figures trigger actions and use of opportunities, stop undesirable developments and initiate corrections. If there is no willingness to act, key figures degenerate into an ineffective end in itself ”.

With many additional services as added value

The down-linkable additional services offer attractive additional services. These are all the work aids and templates from the book (decision aids, analysis sheets, test aids, code selection, text building blocks for reports and much more). An HR key figure sheet with several dozen key figures is a compact tool for automatically calculating and updating the most important key figures at all times.

Including HR cockpit as Excel tool

An HR controlling template for reporting, which has been developed down to the last detail, is immediately available as a template or suggestion on how a reporting can be structured, designed and built.

It is a detailed and gelaged template with numerical summaries, summary, measures-surveys and much more. The attractive and clearly structured template enables successful presentations and reports that are received and understood

The Excel files on the CD-ROM

To many of the key figures discussed in the book, there are also individual Excel files as a supplement, often with graphics, further evaluation possibilities, statistical additional information and more. Examples are the development fluctuation rate, presentation and adjustment efficiency, analysis of personnel search channels, development of wage costs on an annual basis, age structure in the company, personnel development by departments and many more.

This book convinced me in every way. It provides the most relevant and essential information for practice, is up-to-date and read-friendly, up-to-date, and offers the reporting templates and Excel tools a convincing and high-quality added value that is unrivaled. The positive reader comments on Amazon speak for the book. An undoubtedly worthwhile investment!

Personal marketing in times of social media

Today it is about how companies need to set up to use the Web 2.0. Not the one thousandth book explaining how the Web 2.0 changes communication. But the first thing that shows how companies have to change. So none of the usual web 2.0 explanations, but one that is a decisive step further:

Because that much is already evident. Beyond the requirement for all companies to use the new communication channels, the challenge is to make the company receptive to the diverse signals of its customers. This requires “Heros”, say the really well-studded authors Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler in their new book “Empowered”.

Heros asked

“Heros” are highly empowered and resourceful operations. As bloated as the word monster is, there is the right insight that the employees of a company must be encouraged to frolic in Web 2.0 and - that is the point - be put in a position to act quickly and effectively when it matters.

Web 2.0 also means giving vent to his anger. There were complaints up to not very long ago the choice between an annoying hotline and the possibility to send a mail (or a letter) to Nirwana, so angry customers today the smartphone or the laptop and trump their displeasure into the whole world out.

Drain steam with serious consequences

This has serious consequences for internal business processes. Because no longer the complaints department or the service is now the addressee, but the average 150 Facebookfreunde of the customer (and the friends of the friends, etc.) and just anyone who once googled the product or the company.

The two experts, Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, demand companies to extend the antennas. This means training employees and sending them online in order to react quickly to possible negative posts. And to accelerate positive posts and spread them further.


There are Heros in every company. But they can't be heroes in every company. That is why in the first chapter of “Empowered” there is a quick guide to the hero company (which processes are necessary, who are the right people for it, how to leave a long line without losing control ...).

But Bernoff and Schadler, who are well-versed in their work at Forrester Research and have good data material at their disposal, are continuing. They show the heroes how they find among the millions of Facebook members and bloggers the relevant ones. And they show how to leave positive impressions and generate them.

2.0 marketing begins after the purchase

For example, by realizing that customer service is an essential pillar of marketing and not a department in which you can become a world champion in saving money. Anyone who has ever strayed into a telecom waiting loop knows that even the most expensive TV spots do not help over this trauma.

Or by recognizing that you have to convince the customers not only before the purchase, but also just after the purchase. For many companies, however, Facebook is a troublemaker, which is created by means of a profile page.


Encouraging employees to roam the Internet in the interests of the company and to act quickly and independently when necessary naturally also involves dangers. That is why Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler dedicate the third part of their book “Empowered” to this topic. This is also about a new understanding of working with the IT department.

Moving from “safety first” to “customer first”. And it's about developing a corporate culture in which employees, for example, dare to react quickly and unconventionally to a complaint. Or even try to try a new technology or new processes.

There is another way

Conclusion: “Empowered” was written in 2010, which is why some numbers have long been out of date (for example, the number of apps has multiplied since then). Nevertheless, the book by Bernoff and Schadler is highly recommended!

All too often, companies see the new media as a disruption that can be overcome by setting up a Facebook profile. But “Empowered” shows that it is something completely different. Namely about integrating the new media into the value creation process. And this requires not only new processes, but also a new culture.

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  1. Alex

    Two really good books with lots of great lyrics. Thank you for the recommendation.

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