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Social Media and Recruitment

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Social Media Week took place in London during February. For those who don’t know, Social Media Week is an annual event which is run all over the world. There are live streams to view and hashtags to follow, so you can keep up with the action.

Being particularly interested in Google+, I jumped at the chance to attend the Google@socialmediaweek event which proved to give some interesting insights. The presentation looked at a range of topics including Evolutionary Anthropology, which was looked at in the context of social media, and a live demonstration from Google+. Being a newcomer to the social media world, Google+ has already endured its fair share of criticism. The demonstration started with a certain amount of scepticism and with people feeling that, despite high user numbers many people weren’t actively using this new platform. Obviously, Google+ was keen to address the audience doubts.

In the context of recruitment, social media is an invaluable tool. We actively encourage our candidates to keep their social media profiles up to date and to be aware of how useful social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, can be when job hunting. A recent report by Bullhorn Reach http://blog.bullhornreach.com/post/17552695112/2012-bullhorn-reach-social-recruiting-report shows the extent of LinkedIn usage by the recruitment industry.

While LinkedIn has become a very useful tool for searching, researching and communicating with candidates alongside other social media channels, including Google+, the role that recruitment consultants play is still bigger than using social media channels alone. Recruitment consultants find candidates using many other methods and our in-depth market knowledge is what makes us invaluable.

Research by Beknown (The social recruiting app for Facebook by Monster) has shown that people check LinkedIn on average of 4.6 times a month, therefore the level of interaction can be somewhat slow-paced with certain candidates. The simplistic format of Twitter, by contrast, allows for a faster-paced conversation which can prove a fantastic tool, especially for freelance recruitment, due to the sheer speed of interaction that is possible. Facebook, in my opinion, doesn’t offer recruiters the same opportunities. As a general rule, those on Facebook don’t want to be spammed and tend to prefer it as a ‘social’ medium (the clue is in the title). The birth of Google+ presented another opportunity for recruiters. Google looked at the limitations inherent in existing social platforms and adopted a model based on improving them. The circles feature offers the opportunity to share with selected groups of people (your circles).

This was intended to address the spamming concerns of Facebook users and the benefit to recruitment professionals is that it gives users the opportunity to separate their business contacts, thereby allowing recruiters a clearer view of potential candidates. As a recruitment agency, we try to meet and vet every candidate we put forward to our clients. However sometimes time or even geographical constraints can make this difficult The emerging technology to chat live with candidates, such as Google’s Hangouts which is similar to Skype, has the potential to aid this part of the recruitment process and improve levels of efficiency. At the Social Media Week event, the Hangout feature was demonstrated by the Speaker (Beth Foster - Senior Google+ Strategist, Google UK) by linking up to several Google Hangouts.

It was fascinating to see it in action and it really could become an interesting feature for conducting meetings or interviews or perhaps even giving recruitment advice. Another interesting point raised about Google+ was by Jerry Daykin, Social Media Community Manager of Cadbury was that one of the main benefits of Google+ is the very visual nature of it. As YouTube is a Google product, it allows easy integration on the Google+ interface. Users are much more accustomed to interacting with video and dynamic images online now and, without that visual interactivity, content can actually appear dull. Video content or any photo content continues to work really well across our own social media platforms. The increasing use of video online helps our clients understand the recruitment process and the role we can play.

For example we, at Purple, will be starting to post advice in video form to our website and our YouTube channel on issues such as these in coming weeks. Access to all the social media channels by mobile is also changing the way that people use them for job hunting. Apparently 45% of access to social networks is via mobile and 2012 is destined to be year of the mobile. This will inevitably stream into the recruitment world. Some say that in 2013 mobile internet access will be bigger than desktop web. That remains to be seen but all these developments demonstrate how things are changing and how rapid that pace of change is. The social media landscape continues to evolve on a daily basis and candidates and recruiters need to pay attention to these changes if they are to stay ahead of the competition.

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