Recruitment vs. Social Media

As with other business sectors, recruitment and HR are not immune to the occasional hype that inevitably accompanies digital change.

Recently a feature piece in online media community site Chinwag declared the death of the Recruitment Consultant, while elsewhere it looks like recruitment advertising has been proclaimed dead on the table. The not so silent assassin in both cases? Social media, of course.

Look beyond the hype, however, and you can see this doesn’t ring entirely true.

Yes, some companies are finding the future employees through online ‘word of mouth’ referrals instead of simply handing over the responsibility to a recruitment agent but the fact is that while you may need to recruit a new member of your digital marketing team through their usage of Twitter, the same is unlikely to apply – for example – to a new CFO or Accounts Payable Person or a Personal Assistant.

The fact is that the future superstar of your business might be so busy being productive that they do not have the time to trawl through job boards, thus they find it easier to let a recruitment consultant assist them with their job search. They might not even be looking in the first place.

And as for those people (and this is particularly prevalent in those looking for roles in digital) who do use social media to drive their job search and wider career ambitions, there’s every chance you’ll encounter a particularly new recruitment problem: the socially-enhanced ‘pseudo CV’.

There has been a great deal of media attention given to employers who screen social media profiles in order make sure that the candidates whose CVs are in front of them are trying to conceal a life of debauched drinking and partying, but no one seems to look for the opposite.

Sometimes it seems that for every candidate out there who is frantically ‘untagging’ themselves from last weekend’s party photos on Facebook there are two more, equally frantically updating their LinkedIn page with reciprocal recommendations from friends; making sure their Twitter feed portrays them as a guru of relevant re-tweetery; or even starting a professional blog. Such is the way of the ‘pseudo CV’.

It is to see through the acts that candidates (particularly those with a level of digital-savvy) can put-on, in these days of digital masks and multiple identities, that the intermediary service provided by a recruitment consultant can still help – because they ensure that a new breed of digitally empowered timewasters don’t get through the door.

So the recruitment industry isn’t dead yet, and neither is recruitment advertising.

The fact is, while the future is still unevenly distributed, the past is so widely distributed that it tends to blend into the background and be ignored in favour of what’s new and shiny.

What is required for any organisation looking to recruit is a balance of the old and new – it is not about wholesale abandonment of business as usual, it is about using the right approach to find the right people for the job.

Not many are making the right balance of it all. Last week I was visiting a travel organization in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, after I heard of theit job opening of a friend through Facebook and Twitter. The JD on their website was to the point. I didn’t spend a century filling in online forms, they contacted promptly and  I had possibly the first job interview that seemed to me as they were actually obtaining relevnt information about me for the job which actually brought to me the idea of this post, because unfortunately this are rare phenomena in the job market.

What else is there to say? If you are searching, happy hunting. Rumour has it that the financial crisis is over and sooner than we think we will all be back hitting our offices worldwide… I wait and see.


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