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Social media, recruiting, and job boards: which way are we going?

which way are we goingIf you follow my Twitter stream, you no doubt noticed I spent last week at #truManchester. It was a great experience – I listened to many recruiters and HR pros talk about how they use social media in their recruiting (or hope to), and what they think about job boards. (I also learned that the British have switches on their power outlets, are extremely hospitable, and don’t open their pubs until noon).

A few observations:

  • Company attempts to outlaw or censor social media usage are probably futile (remember when phones were restricted?). Companies are better off developing intelligent and restrained ‘communications’ policies that cover all forms of employee communication – from phones to Twitter – and that focus on fewer hard rules and more general guidance. Think how newspapers had many voices (via columnists) but a consistent standard across all articles.
  • Mobile is displacing the desktop for many people. That means that whether you are an employer, recruiter, or job board, you need to think about how candidates can use your services via mobile devices.  It’s a different channel and calls for different approaches. (It’s also looking a little more Android and a little less iPhone out there).
  • Job boards that don’t evolve will fade away. Job boards are in a unique position – they have the opportunity to expand their market…or lose it. Smart sites are already integrating social media (emphasis on ‘social’) into their offerings – and transforming themselves into the vendor of choice for social media recruiting.
  • LinkedIn is a job board. OK, that wasn’t a universal opinion – but it’s certainly mine. LinkedIn is more than a typical job board (think Groups), but I’d be surprised if there was any other business out there giving large and medium size job boards more heartburn. (However, the fact that it has become a recruiter’s playpen also makes it less attractive to candidates – a problem that Linkedin will have to solve soon).
  • Authenticity is important. And it always has been. Whether you’re an individual blogger or a multinational corporation, your voice must square with your actions, products, and services. Readers, consumers, job seekers, and employers are pretty good at sniffing out fakes. On the flip side, companies have a right (and duty) to maintain standards – thus, a company blogger should not spend his/her time talking about religion or politics, for example; they’re blogging for a purpose.

There was more (much more!) flying through the air at #truManchester, but these were some of the most useful takeaways for me. Hope you find them helpful as well.

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