Biological nitrogen fixation gives legumes a pronounced growth advantage in nitrogen-deprived soils and is of considerable ecological and economic interest. In exchange for reduced atmospheric nitrogen, typically given to the plant in the form of amides or ureides, the legume provides nitrogen-fixing rhizobia with nutrients and highly specialised root structures called nodules. To elucidate the molecular basis underlying physiological adaptations on a genome-wide scale, functional genomics approaches, such as transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, have been used. This review presents an overview of the different functional genomics approaches that have been performed on rhizobial symbiosis, with a focus on studies investigating the molecular mechanisms used by the bacterial partner to interact with the legume. While rhizobia belonging to the alpha-proteobacterial group (alpha-rhizobia) have been well studied, few studies to date have investigated this process in beta-proteobacteria (beta-rhizobia).