Social media has become an established recruitment tool and is now part of what has become known as “multi-channel resourcing”, with major companies combining LinkedIn and Facebook with online groups, forums and blogs to build shortlists of candidates.
So what does this mean for aspiring candidates? Will your pithy online comments about the economy land you a new job? Probably not, but being part of such a forum could be could be a major factor in getting you noticed.
At Omni Resource Management Solutions, senior consultant Stuart Jones has been training corporate clients in using social media as a recruitment tool for the past four years and so is well placed to comment on how candidates might be expected to behave. He says that jobseekers must first understand how corporates deploy different social media for different purposes.
“[Employers] use Facebook and Twitter to promote employment brand values and engagement with the candidate community, so if I was a candidate I would take an active part in conversations on them. Then I would do things like use the ‘like’ button to receive information such as updates and vacancies. You will be alerted to job opportunities rather than having to check their careers website continually.”
LinkedIn – and Monster’s new BeKnown platform on Facebook – are the best places to post a CV, and Jones says that it is worth being open and visible on the site. He says that searches are keyword-driven, making it essential to concentrate on a writing an effective personal profile based around non-clichéd material that is suitable for your industry or sector.
“Avoid CV buzz words such as ‘proactive’ and ‘self-starter’ and use accurate relevant key words for your role,” he says. “Employers do searches on specific skills and experience, and will also look at title, location and current employer.”
You should also join relevant discussion groups, as long as you have work-based and appropriate conversations. “The more active you are, the more visible you will be,” says Jones.
Not everyone shares this enthusiasm, however, and there is a school of thought that says that online communication can never replace the more traditional face-to-face and telephone relationships with a recruitment agency, even though it could supplement them.
“It’s worth setting up a social media profile but its not necessarily going to get you a job,” says Ronnie George, director of e-commerce at Randstad UK. “It’s always worth finding a recruiter who knows you and your strengths – establishing that cultural fit.”
The need to get to know the candidate and to check personal recommendations about them, especially for senior roles, means that although social media will put candidates onto the radar it does not guarantee that they will be headhunted, says James Parr, divisional manager of Executive Head Hunters.
“Most headhunters will at least have a look at LinkedIn,” he says “but they also keep a research team in the business.”
He thinks that headhunters are more likely to use social media to facilitate introductions and then keep in touch with potential candidates, so it pays to keep your profile up to date and professional. “When a shortlist has been sent to an employer, that employer is likely to use LinkedIn to look up people,” he adds.
Economic uncertainty may fuel the growth of social media as a recruitment tool because it is seen as a cost-effective way of finding candidates. “We heard of one client saving 50% of agency fees by identifying talent through social media”, says Jones. “And so prospective candidates who are not involved could be putting themselves further down the pecking order.