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Recruiting for the public service - Recruitment Process Outsourcing for the Autobahn GmbH of the Federal Government


The Autobahn GmbH of the Federal Government manages over 13,000 kilometers of highway throughout Germany, from Rendsburg in the far north to Kempten in the Allgäu, Krefeld to Cottbus. It has been operated under the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport since September 2018.

One of the biggest challenges with the start of operations on January 1, 2021, was the mammoth task of recruiting in the organizational structure, which is very similar to the civil service. ARTS supported the 10 branches and 41 field offices of Autobahn GmbH for 24 months as a strategic and operational partner in personnel recruitment - and the results are impressive!

Project details at a glance

  • Sector: Public service
  • Customer: Autobahn GmbH des Bundes
  • Jobtitle: High Volume Recruiting / Recruitment Process Outsourcing
  • Location: Nationwide in Germany
  • Service: Recruiting

90 % staffing rate - a recruiting project in the public sector in figures

By bundling tasks centrally in Autobahn GmbH, several advantages were to be realized. In addition to faster planning, the new organization also enables uniform quality standards nationwide and efficiency gains through synergy effects.
Since day one, Autobahn GmbH has pursued the goals of faster planning, more efficient construction, operation and maintenance.
Before the project started, we evaluated necessary personnel marketing measures and set up a dedicated landing page for people interested in careers, not only to generate more reach for vacancies, but also to create SEO-relevant backlink management for Autobahn's careers page. 
Additional job landing pages also helped target ads. All of the job ads we placed were SEO-optimized and linked to Autobahn GmbH's application form.
With a team of at times up to eleven recruiters, we relieved the internal personnel recruitment of Autobahn in the headquarters and in the branches as external colleagues and thus contributed significantly to the fact that a large number of open positions could be filled in a very short time. Our colleagues mainly worked remotely from Hamburg or Dresden, but occasionally traveled to the various branches for individual appointments. From the customer's point of view, it was important that we carried out our work directly and fully in Autobahn's applicant management system (BMS). This resulted in further efficiency gains for the entire recruiting process.
In total, ARTS managed over 550 positions with a 90% fill rate and screened over 4,000 applications.

The labor market situation today does not allow anyone to rely solely on multiposting job ads to find suitable employees. Our recruitment consultants therefore supported the highway with active sourcing, especially on Xing and LinkedIn. On Xing alone, we viewed almost 10,000 profiles and added them to sourcing projects. Nearly 12,000 messages sent on Xing over a two-year period demonstrate our efforts to attract high-caliber applicants.

We would also like to take this opportunity to expressly thank those for whom the idea of external recruiting colleagues initially felt alien, but who nevertheless gave us the opportunity to be convinced.

In the process, our recruiters have immersed themselves in the requirements of a wide variety of professional fields to better assess the fit for each position. Of course, the autobahn requires a lot of civil engineering know-how, and by now our ARTS colleagues are well acquainted with the qualifications in road and tunnel construction and know, for example, that bridge construction requires more than just knowledge of structural engineering. Another focus in our search was positions in law and administration, which also have many specializations, as well as IT positions, which are difficult for all companies to fill.

Our now well-positioned applicant network, constant desire to learn about new areas and requirements, and more than 20 years of HR expertise helped us provide Autobahn with a solid hiring recommendation for every position we advertised.

Throughout the staffing process, it was always important to ensure that we met the requirements of public sector recruiting. As a publicly owned limited liability company bound by the collective bargaining agreement of the German federal states, and as a federally owned company with a certain exemplary function, Autobahn prioritized legal certainty in all selection steps. It was not just a matter of selecting the best person for a position, but also of being able to justify perfectly why another application was less convincing. Without the patient explanations and close cooperation with our contact persons at Autobahn, we would not have been able to deliver this high quality in our work. Over the course of the two years, a trusting, appreciative relationship has developed between ARTS and Autobahn, both at headquarters and in the branch offices.

The required job profiles at Autobahn GmbH are diverse.

Classic KPIs in recruiting are not everything

Many talk about time-to-hire to measure the speed of recruiting. However, we have focused on another figure, namely the number of working hours that have to be put into a position from the beginning to the end on the recruiting side. This includes coordinating with the department on the specific requirements of the position, selecting suitable job portals and posting the job, answering questions from interested parties, active sourcing, reviewing and evaluating resumes, making appointments for interviews, conducting telephone interviews and job interviews, administrative maintenance of applications in the BMS and, last but not least, writing a hiring recommendation. All in all, you can expect 80-100 working hours spread over several months - depending on how coordination-intensive the application process is, whether there are synergy effects between the positions, or how many applications are received. To put it in a nutshell, we have saved our customer around 50,000 man-hours, making high-volume recruiting in the public sector possible in the first place.

If we assume these approximately 80 working hours per position, the recommendation from personnel management literature is understandable that each recruiter should ideally only look after 5-10 positions at the same time. Of course, you can give your recruiting team more positions at the same time, but then it is only logical that staffing processes will be protracted. Recruitment outsourcing, especially in times of intensive staffing, is the more elegant solution here.

Profiting from the outsourcing of personnel-related processes

The outsourcing concept has long been established in industry. The advantages are obvious: turn fixed costs into variable costs and benefit from the efficiency advantages of the service provider. Business process outsourcing is also a strategic success factor in the HR sector. At ARTS, we have been solving the HR challenges of our customers from a wide range of industries, such as IT and communications technology, the automotive industry or the energy sector, for over 20 years. In the context of recruiting process outsourcing, we have already been able to support start-ups such as Lilium with ARTS Expert:innen on site for recruitment as well as onboarding. High volume recruiting, as in the case of Autobahn GmbH, is a special form of RPO, as it involves filling a large number of positions in a very short time. It is characterized, among other things, by the fact that we can take on individual subtasks as well as the complete recruitment process. The focus is always on the individual needs of the customer.

We would also be happy to save your team an hour or two of work and thus continue your success story.

facts and figures

550 open positions
90 % staffing rate
10.000 viewed profiles