Updated 28 October 2012
There's so much commentary around the transformation of the recruiting landscape. How social media is providing a recruiting option that undermines recruitment agencies and job boards alike.
Yet isn't this missing the bigger picture?
Step back from the day to day toil of your recruiting workload and one thing becomes very clear. The rise of social media has fundamentally changed the balance of power between candidates and recruiters - far more than it has between the suppliers of candidates.
Rewind just a few years and candidates danced to the recruiter's tune. Want this job we've advertised on our corporate site or our preferred jobs board? Well then Mr Candidate you'd better jump through the hoops we're insisting on, suffer our terrible online application forms and live with the dreadful candidate experience we provide. Have questions you'd like to have answered before you go ahead with making an application? Sorry, our job spec is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.
To all intents and purposes, recruiters yielded the axe and decided which candidates would proceed to interview. The first chance most candidates got to ask a question of the prospective employer was at interview.
Contrast that with the situation today.
As we tiptoe into the beginnings of a modest market upturn, the dynamics have completely changed. Social media has flipped recruiting on its head and handed the power back to candidates. With your plethora of social media profiles and your eagerness to engage has come a huge new responsibility. The attractiveness of your employment brand is now in your hands; one false move and you could wreck it.
Most media attention to date has focused on the shifting balance of power between recruitment agencies, job boards and social media. LinkedIn and its social media cohorts stand to take the dinner from the plates of the more established suppliers. Yet in the context of what we describe above, this is the lesser story.
The real story is that the balance of power has swung firmly back in favour of candidates. The interactions needed prior to any application even being made have ballooned. Candidates can prod, question, debate and cajole without the slightest commitment of actually submitting an application. The ramifications are immense:
A far greater recruiting resource is needed to adequately serve the enquiries and interactions demanded in this new social media era
Candidates who ultimately apply for jobs are likely to be far more engaged with the employer and have a heightened chance of being a successful hire
Poor candidate experiences are increasingly being exposed and will come to be a distinct talent hurdle that employers will need to overcome
Your candidates can be won over, made advocates, brand ambassadors or alienated in ways that your organisation has never had to cope with before
So whilst the media focuses its attention on where the money is flowing, the shrewd recruiters amongst you will be more concerned with understanding how social media has changed the balance of power between candidates and recruiters - and deploying your teams and your strategy accordingly.
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