Technology has changed the game for today’s job-seekers: candidates are searching on websites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, and asking employers questions using Twitter or a smartphone application, or app.
Companies, for their part, are turning to new channels to find talent, especially among “passive” candidates – typically experienced professionals who might not be actively involved in seeking a job, but could consider a career move if an interesting opportunity appeared on their screen.
This shift to new ways of finding candidates, and recruiting them, has been studied for several years by Potentialpark, a European recruitment and employer branding consultancy. The firm has surveyed employers’ recruitment websites since 2002 and has recently expanded its research to cover Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, mobile devices and apps, as well as companies’ career blogs.
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According to Potentialpark’s Julian Ziesing, businesses have refined their online careers sites and recruitment processes over the past decade. But even organisations with sophisticated online tools have been taken aback by the rapid development of social networks, such as Facebook.
“Facebook career pages have mushroomed across Europe, the US and Asia,” he says. “We had thought employers would need more time to do this, but they have learned to overcome corporate communications restrictions quickly.”
But new ways of reaching candidates also present new challenges for employers. Companies need to ensure that the way they approach candidates is consistent across all channels, and complies with any local employment laws or cultural mores. This is no easy task, given the informal and often off-the-cuff nature of many exchanges on sites such as Twitter – and also the global reach of these sites.
“Websites still do the main job, and social media pages are satellites around it,” says Mr Ziesing. Career websites have become more interactive, he says, but they are not necessarily social. That is where Facebook and other services come in. “But there is also a difference between social and professional networks, between say Facebook and LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn has established itself as useful in some areas, as well as being a venue for job-seekers to demonstrate their experience and expertise. Facebook, for now at least, is more about putting the idea of working for a particular company in front of would-be candidates, especially students and recent graduates.