With social media changing the way people are recruited, Fiona Housiaux wonders whether the talent acquisition process is helped or hindered by social technology.
BSM – AKA Before Social Media
There was a time when applying for a new role meant posting out your CV, dropping into an agency, responding to newspaper ads or – if you were being really fancy – faxing your details to a company. But a lot has changed since the ‘90s – and while the advent of email and the world wide web has revolutionized the process of attracting and processing candidates, it’s social media which is really shaking up the process.
Today’s social technology has transformed the recruitment process beyond all recognition in the past 20 years – it’s broken down barriers and made every job visible to talent across the globe and has a host of useful recruiting data available at the click of a button.
Recruiters and businesses are moving to a more strategic talent management process using talent solutions databases. These databases can provide companies and recruiters with dynamic data that can foster a more strategic approach to recruiting. LinkedIn launched its own Talent Insights self-serve tool in 2018 and Facebook is now in the process of introducing its own platform.
But, as great as technology is, can there ever be too much emphasis on it? Could it be that LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter et al means we’ve lost the personal connection recruiters once had with their talent?
With nearly half of the world’s total population being on social media (3.03 billion active social media users currently) any recruiter would be crazy to ignore such a rich source of candidates and data, and job seekers who fail to utilize this valuable tool could be missing out on some career-enhancing opportunities. According to Glassdoor, 79 percent of job seekers are likely to use social media in their hunt for a new role.
LinkedIn is the most popular form of social media for connecting talent with companies. With 500 million members across 200 countries, it is a rich resource for both recruiters and job seekers. As many as 10 million jobs are actively listed on LinkedIn and 122 million people have received an interview from their LinkedIn profile. But Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are also being used daily by candidates and recruiters.
Consumer Approach to Careers
What’s interesting with the move towards social media, is that it echoes changes in the way job searches are now performed. Previously the job search was a company-centric activity – job ads focused on what the company could offer you, and relied on job fairs, adverts or brochures to attract talent. Today’s landscape is far more candidate-centric. And social media is providing companies with the opportunity to share their story, nurture prospective candidates from the very beginning and enhance the candidate experience of the recruitment process. Talent analysis is key to this and big business.
Job seekers are placing far more emphasis on getting to know and understand a company’s ethos before they’re even willing to register interest in a role. Much as you wouldn’t buy a new car without first doing your research we’re taking the same consumer approach to our careers. And this is where social media networks come into the forefront of the job search. Through the power of social networks, you can speak to people already working at a company you’re interested in, to find out what it’s really like at the coalface.
Among HR professionals, 86 percent say that recruitment is becoming more like a marketing activity, and the average candidate will use 18 different resources to research a company thoroughly before hitting ‘apply now’ – including social media. You can also get a real feel for a company by checking out its newsfeeds which can be far more compelling than a dry corporate website. And for a company using talent solutions database they have a rich source of data, which in theory can help them fill roles more quickly, more professionally and with highly suitable candidates.
Reaching passive candidates
One of the areas where social media really does come into itself is in the recruitment of passive job seekers – those people who aren’t looking for a new role but could be enticed. Kelly Services’ Talent in Science report reveals that just 18 percent of the EU life sciences workforce states it is closed to hearing about new work opportunities. This means a huge majority of 82 percent would be willing to move to a new role – with varying degrees of consideration and effort. But despite this huge pool of potential new hires, tapping into those who are not actively looking becomes a difficult task and as such, employers must deploy a proactive sourcing strategy.
The conundrum is, if a significant proportion of candidates are not actively looking for a role how can you find them? And how do you know what might encourage them to switch to a new job? Social media is a wonderful tool for reaching these passive candidates. It enables recruiters to reach a high volume of people – some of who may have the right skills and experience for a role – and can motivate them to leave a position for a better position – whether the incentive to move is better pay, the reputation of the hiring company or enhanced benefits.
Turning Passive Into Proactive
In fact, 80 percent of recruiters go as far as saying that social recruiting helps them find these passive candidates. Effective talent solutions databases can help to identify these passive candidates by analyzing key activity and data – as well as suggesting what may be their primary motivation to leave their current position.
Kelly’s report says fewer than four in ten workers are actively looking for a role that employers are advertising. Which means to find the very best candidates to fill positions will involve reaching those elusive six in ten workers. The right kind of social media activity will be key in not only reaching them but providing the motivation to consider moving to a new role.
Interestingly, 78 percent of people say that if a recruiter or friendly proactively contacted them about a new role, they would also consider other available jobs too – a move which could see them become proactive job hunters rather than passive.
Is Social Media Enough?
But, just because you can, does it mean you should? Like with anything it is a balancing act. Social media has quickly become the norm for sourcing candidates and the preferred method for prospective hires to apply for new roles. But this doesn’t mean that recruiters can sit back and allow social media to do the hard work or that job hunters should neglect the more personal touch. For the very best results it’s crucial to incorporate the very best parts of social media activity – for example, the impact it can have on passive job seekers, or for regular contact with job seekers – and combine it with a proactive human touch.
In fact, the importance of human interaction in the search for the next career move cannot be emphasized enough. While it’s vital to utilize the efficiencies created by social media, to ignore candidates’ desire for human communication could be as big a turn-off, as having no social media activity. A US study from Randstad found that an overwhelming 82 percent of job hunters report frustration if their job search experience feels overly automated. The same study further found that 87 percent felt technology had made the process of finding a new role more impersonal and 95 percent wants to see technology being used to help the recruitment process – not replace it.
A final word
A good recruiter will use all the tools at their disposal – a great recruiter will combine them with encouragement, enthusiasm and hand-holding that no AI or technology could replicate.
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