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Social recruitment roundup

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy December 14, 2013
How much is recruitment changing? If you believe the tech vendors then plenty. But dig a little and you quickly see immaturity and iteration rather than any fundamental rethinking about how to improve this risky process.

Recruiting is changing. A slew of technology enabled alternatives to the traditional recruiting house and processes have arisen in the last few years. Add in the social dimension, the ubiquitous availability of technology and we see many experiments.
For example, Bill Kutik's riff on the resumé reminded me of a couple of other things I saw this last week. First, Cornerstone OnDemand's presentation on 'social recruiting' (see above. ) Second, reports that Twitter is getting into the recruitment game. Let's kick off with Kutick. He says:

The problems with resumes -- and the systems we've invented to deal with them -- are legion. First, of course, people exaggerate or even lie on them. And all the systems I've seen demoed that promise a "verified" resume might catch a wrong date corrected by a previous employer, but rarely an inflated accomplishment.

Fundamentally, most problems stem from the resume being an idiosyncratically structured information document. People write it more or less the way they want to and even the commonly accepted narrow boundaries are still pretty wide.

He then goes on to walk us through the failed history of technology as a means of standardizing resumés, how LinkedIn has largely solved the problem of staleness but not delivered what prospective employers want - the resumé rather than selected pieces of a person's profile. Kutik then discusses a potential solution from 1-Page, a place where enterprises can set up problem solving competitions for potential candidates.

This is a selection method that reminds me of the approach Cloudspokes takes in creating coding/design competitions for its customers. It is a good way to assess capabilities and a method I suspect  will take hold going forward. Disruptive as Kutik suggests? Maybe for recruitment but as I've just shown, there are precedents. The difficulty comes in designing challenges that people can understand sufficiently well to elicit a clutch of responses. Make the challenge too easy and you lose the potential for finding differentiated answers. Make it too hard and you don't get takers.

One significant advantage I see in this approach is that candidates should get a good sense of future employer expectations. That's important in the context of the recruitment process being akin to dating. While each person on the date wants to creates the best impression, it isn't until much later in the relationship that reality strikes. In employment, that often occurs too late for easy course correction.

Regardless of the practical issues, these types of service need to build a lot of awareness among potential candidates in order to create a large enough candidate pool that offers a good spread of candidates. That's a lot of LinkedIn advertising activity!

Social hiring

Moving onto the social recruitment aspects, the Cornerstone slide deck argues that the rise of social tools by both companies and individuals has created an environment that encourages:

Social sourcing - where social channels act as a pipeline source for new hires

Referral hiring - where employees recommend folk they know

Collaborative hiring - where teams share information in and around the hiring process

The Cornerstone deck is book ended with a pitch for its own solutions (naturally) but then I absolutely recognise the referral and collaborative elements. For example, when we decided to bring Jess Twentyman on board, the decision process had hefty elements of both in our individual and collective back and forth. Why when four out of five of us know her? Each of us have a different perspective on what this person brings to the party. The question comes - do those perspectives, supported by what we see online, add up to a coherent whole?

What about building hiring pipelines in this manner? It's a nice idea and one where I see how social tools provide an easy on ramp. But I wonder how many organizations are in shape to make this a viable hiring method? It seems to me that you likely need well executed plans that can adequately anticipate demand such that the pipeline is meaningful. I also believe that organizations need strong competitive intelligence since hiring never occurs in a vacuum.

What's this Twitter thing?

On the Cornerstone blog, Courtney Buchanan asks:

As job candidates condense their CVs into 140 characters, job seekers are taking to the Tweet to recruit talent, as well. According to social recruiting company Gozaik, 15 new jobs are posted to Twitter every minute. Twitter is making its mark on the social recruiting sphere, but could it rise to compete against the big guns like LinkedIn?

When I read this my immediate response was eh? I've never seen job ads on Twitter and I've almost never heard anyone on Twitter refer to a job change. It turns out there is a LOT of jobs action going on. Check Life at Google or SAPJobs.

Buchanan goes on to say:

More than 500,000 jobs were announced on Twitter in October, while over 100,000 companies are currently using Twitter as a recruiting tool. Yes, techies are being recruited on Twitter, but sales jobs are dominating the Twittersphere as the top socially recruited job (24.7 percent).

Really?  That sounds like a LOT of jobs so I went and checked out Goziak, which claims to be curating this element of the Twittersphere. Here is a graphic that talks to job titles posted in the US during the last two weeks:

trending job in US

As expected, most of the top jobs by number are in the technology space. The question comes - will Twitter get sufficiently broad appeal to be anything other than just another channel that is nice to have but not central to the hiring process? And what about the international dimension?

I ran a Goziak query for marketing managers within 10 miles of London. The results were less than perfect. It showed 5,300+ jobs across a multitude of descriptions and with a lack of geographical accuracy I found bemusing. Most of the jobs exposed by this search have been placed by agencies with very little direct corporate placing.

If this is a foretaste of the future then Goziak and by definition Twitter, are only going to be an extension of that which already exists. That's hardly innovative.


While there's a lot of activity going on in the recruitment space I am not convinced we're seeing much more than incremental innovation.

While it is good to see social channels coming into the equation, I am more convinced that enabling internal collaboration and expanding the idea of referral hiring methods will provide better scope for improvements in the recruitment process. The fact these methods might be enhanced through the social channels is all to the good.

Featured image via Bubble Jobs

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