Fishing, Recruiting, and Social Media

We live in an exciting and turbulent time.  The industrial age has given way to the Knowledge Age.  People are increasingly paid for their ideas and not their brawn.  The reason for this transition is because of the boom of technology over the past few decades.  We are witnessing history, an unprecedented rise of technology.  There is so much promise in this boom, so much good that can come from it.  Of course, as with any major change, there is resistance and some negative connotations.  Some of the outward appearances may seem to suggest that technology is having a negative impact on our society.

The next time you’re out in public, take a moment to look around.  Everyone is face down in a smart phone, their faces radiating from the glow of their mobile world.  In an awkward pause in conversation, watch how quickly people will check their phones to escape the situation.  Watch when someone is out with a group of friends and they break away to order a drink.  While they wait, instead of striking up a conversation with a stranger at the bar they will start swiping away on their phone and wait in quiet solitude.  To an outside observer, one would think that society has fallen into a dark time where human beings don’t interact with strangers and can’t be bothered by other people they don’t know.  To a degree this is probably true.  We as humans should unplug from time to time and practice the age-old art of verbal communication.  It’s important to learn how to interact with strangers and hold a conversation.  It’s a skill we’ll always need, regardless of how progressive technology becomes.

However, despite how it may seem all is not lost.  Society is more connected now than it has ever been…and that is due to technology.  The internet has linked us all, and Social Media allows us to communicate with strangers around the globe.  Those introverts who are slaves to their smart phones are actually more engaged with strangers than ever before.  The sheer volume of strangers you have access to trumps the amount of strangers you’d be able to interact with in an elevator, in a grocery store, at a sporting event, on a train, bus or in any other public place.

Companies have certainly taken notice of this boom in Social Media, because being able to reach more people equates to more revenue.  In a Harvard Business Review it was found that 58% of companies say they are currently using social media and 21% say they are preparing to launch initiatives.  That’s 79% of businesses already engaged with social media!  Of those companies actively using Social Media, 92% of them are using it to recruit.

In a previous blog I spoke about the constraints of online job boards and how job seekers should utilize other avenues to network with potential future employers after they’ve applied to a job.  Job Seekers are doing just that, flooding the Social Media scene.  56% of Americans have a Social Media profile.  They leverage these social media platforms to learn more about the companies they’re interested in, to increase their own branding, and to engage the recruiters in conversation.

As recruiters, we’ve certainly followed suit and are increasingly turning to social media to find our Purple Squirrels.  That’s what we as recruiters are good at.  We adapt as the market adapts.  We’re hunters, not trappers.  Part of what drew me to recruiting was my love for fishing.  A good recruiter shares the same attributes as a good fisherman.  In both disciplines, you have to be patient, you have to be smart, and you have to act deliberately.  If the fish aren’t biting, we move on to a new spot and switch up our technique.  The same theory applies to recruiting.  First it was word of mouth recruiting, advertising in newspapers and dialing numbers out of phone books to see who would pick up.  Then it was fax machine resumes.  Then it was online resume databases and sourcing on job boards.  NOW its social media.

However, just because we know there are fish in the water doesn’t mean we’re going to catch them.  Especially if we focus all our efforts in the wrong area.

LinkedIn is fantastic and a great professional networking site.  A recent HubSpot survey found that LinkedIn is 277% more effecting at lead generation than Facebook or Twitter.  LinkedIn is responsible for 64% of all traffic coming to corporate websites through social media channels.  LinkedIn gains 2 new members per second.  These stats are dominating.

However, LinkedIn doesn’t have as many return users as Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Facebook.  What recruiters are noticing is that a lot of profiles on LinkedIn are actually outdated and the information held in the profiles is inaccurate.  Yet we still almost exclusively use LinkedIn to recruit.  94% of Recruiters are active on LinkedIn, and only 36% of job seekers are active on LinkedIn.  A recent study done by Jobvite produced some pretty fascinating data.  The disparity between how Recruiters and Job Seekers utilize Social Media was shocking to me.  Recruiters use LinkedIn 94% of the time, vs. Job Seekers who use it only 36% of the time.  Recruiters use Facebook 65% of the time and Job Seekers use it 83% of the time.  Recruiters use Twitter 55% of the time vs Job Seekers 40% of the time.  Recruiters use Google+ 18% of the time vs. job seekers 37% of the time.

So we as Recruiters keep fishing in the LinkedIn pond while all the Job Seekers are taking the bait on other platforms.  In fact, 76% of social job seekers found their current role through Facebook.  It’s time that we adapt again and follow the job seekers to the other platforms.

So the next time you’re working a particularly frustrating requisition and you just can’t seem to find the right candidates, consider switching up where you’re fishing.

“Trust your intuition, it’s just like going fishing, you cast your line and hope you get a bite.” – Paul Simon

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Please send any questions or comments to askrecruitermann@gmail.com.  Be sure to also follow me on Twitter @RecruiterMann23

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