Is social recruiting a symptom – or a solution?

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Is social recruiting a symptom of larger problems in the world of recruitment – or is it a solution to recruitment woes? Let me argue both sides of this question:

Symptom: def. “something that indicates the existence of something else”

Argument #1 – It’s a symptom: The #1 complaint about job sites in my recent survey of job seekers was lack of response from employers. Candidates want to interact with potential employers – and the most recent crop came of age with Facebook and related social media platforms. So it’s only natural that they would expect the same spill-your-guts exposure from employers – and that they’d be unhappy if they didn’t get it.

It’s also why recruiters and companies savvy enough to actually interact with candidates would see better results. These early adopters stuck their necks out – and (allegedly) reaped the rewards.

But in reality, was social recruiting the solution? Not really – the real problem was lack of communication between employers and candidates. Social recruiting was merely a symptom of this deeper problem – the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

Solution: def. “the act of solving a problem, question”

Argument #2: It’s a solution: Social recruiting is an evolution in the way employers find candidates. Just as job boards replaced newspaper ads, so does social recruiting replace job boards. It’s a new paradigm – employers and candidates chatting back and forth, exposing information, getting fuller understandings of each other.

In this scenario, social recruiting is a solution to a basic change in employer and job seeker behavior: from one where employers held all the power and candidates meekly acquiesced, to one where candidates hold as much power as employers (and aren’t afraid to use it). Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter enable employers and candidates to engage directly, without interference. The outcome? Better hires.

Which is it? Symptom or solution? Neither? Both? What do you think?

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Is social recruiting a symptom – or a solution? -- Topsy.com

  2. Niall Kelly

    We did our own survey of 10,000 Irish IT professionals (800 responses) and asked them – do you know anyone in any industry that has got a job through social media in last 12 months –
    87% said no with the clear winner as Linkedin for the balance – facebook / twitter were not at the races.

    Maybe im getting too old but I still can’t see how a job seeker can monitor say 200 companies that might suit their job search when using 2-3 job board will cover the same ground??

  3. James Mayes

    I think Niall’s point (up until recently) is perfectly valid. However, times are a-changing. I help a number of companies with social recruiting requirements. More and more, they’re wanting to use Facebook & Twitter to be “part of the conversation” with candidates, earlier in the process. They’re conscious that by building this audience early, they can perhaps spent significantly less on job-boards in future. Build their own audience to their own future requirements, rather than simply dipping in to a generic audience a job board has built on behalf of multiple customers. With the above in mind, if jobs are appearing first on social media, then going to job boards only when the client sees a reason to part with extra money, the smarter candidates will be actively seeking ways to monitor those 200 companies you mention- maximising their chances of nailing that job before it goes to the wider market.

  4. R Lanier

    Great argument James! The best I’ve heard for the case on why social recruiting will eventually prevail even over job boards. Looking at it from the perspective you have placed it in, its inevitable. Thanks for sharing such sound reasoning.

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