SocialRecruiting

Recruiters: What the new LinkedIn means to you

LinkedIn are on a constant path of change. Jeff Weiner, CEO of the professional networking giant describes this as a state of constant beta. The long term aims of the channel are shrouded in secrecy, but if you keep up with the changes it is easy to see a pattern developing. In the last quarters financial results Weiner commented that the company had made significant investments in increasing their sales team and in developing product. Each time I log in, something looks different or has moved to a different position on the screen. Whilst these changes might seem cosmetic, they are changing the way users are interacting with the platform, and this means recruiters need to be rethinking their LinkedIn strategy.

The trend over time was for using LinkedIn from outside of the channel, with users relying on e-mail and third party applications to interact and keep up. At one time the average user only visited the channel 1.9 times a month. Most notably, engagement levels were low, and the discussion was all around whether LinkedIn was a social channel at all. What is interesting to note is that since the recent redesign of the home page engagement is now at a record level for the channel because users are driven to the home page, and the home page now contains a stream for updates which increases engagement.

One of the other new features enables users to determine which updates get displayed on their home page. The default is for all updates in time sequence, with a refresh button at the top of the stream to show the number of updates since you logged in to the channel. The display options are:

>Top
The most popular updates from your connections (what constitutes popular is explained below this list.)

>Recent
The latest updates.

>LinkedIn Today
Users can customise this according to what topics they want to follow. This is very similar to the way the Mashable social app enables users to choose what content they want to follow by category.

>Connections.
Based on your personal network.

>Shares
What is being shared by your network displayed by time line

>Groups
Updates from your connections in the groups that you share

>Profiles
Changes to the profiles of your connections. This is quite a neat way to keep up to date with what is happening from your connections in one place, from changes to job title, address etc to who is launching a LinkedIn ad campaign.

>Applications
The applications added to profiles by your connections.

>Companies
Changes to company profiles by your network, recommendations and updates.
>Answers
Another neat feature that lets you see all the questions asked and answers given by your network. You can answer this question from this screen or comment, like or share, a great way to engage with your connections when they are reaching out for help or advice.

>Your Updates
Your personal updates including comments,likes and shares.

>Customize
This enables users to determine what type of updates they choose to see or hide, and how many updates they want to see on their home page. If a user is not interested in seeing jobs you may be interested in they can choose to hide them.

LinkedIn are also working on automating moving jobs from the stream (and group discussions) when they are posted as updates. This will clean up the stream and keep it relevant and topical for users. For recruiters, this will also impact on the practice of posting jobs to updates and in to discussions in groups. The only way to reach targeted audience for jobs will be through paid for advertising (most effective), or by posting in the jobs section of groups.

Customisation is a big feature of the new home page because users can edit their own home screen changing the position of the key features and taking out the ones they don’t want. LinkedIn want to give users a personalised experience on their home page, again to encourage use, and making it a destination for users to keep up and engage with their network in one place. The more time users spend in the channel, the more opportunities to serve up PPC and targeted ads based on user behaviour and profile. What i’m seeing among the channels is that their battle is as much about user time as it is about the number of users. Over the last quarter LinkedIn reported a significant increase in ad revenue and a significant increase in sales staff. PPC and ad revenue goes well beyond recruiter products, and it may well be that the company see this as the route away from their dependence on the dominant recruiter revenues. Success in this area is dependent on time spent in channel.

The company have clearly taken some inspiration for this from Facebook and Edgerank, aiming to deliver the most relevant and popular content to the top of the feed via LinkedIn Today. Updates are shared according to the posts that are trending amongst your connections. When you consider that your LinkedIn network is going to be far the most relevant to your objectives by a long way. My own network, which stands at close to 4000 connections comprises of 70% of relevant audience. Others with a smaller network may well have an even higher level of relevance. This means that effective updates are becoming increasingly important because they are far more likely to be seen by the people you want to reach than in any other channel.

LinkedIn shares are ranked according to comments,likes and shares for promoting in the stream between connections. To get “share” points and inclusion in the algorithm the shared content needs to contain a LinkedIn share button first on the list of share options, an important consideration for page design. Retweets count as LinkedIn shares provided the link on the tweet originated from your profile. This means posting to LinkedIn first manually on the home page, and tweeting from the update. This also applies for LinkedIn links posted to Facebook. Even if you are using a posting app like buffer, or a shortner like bitly, use the LinkedIn update as the originating link. By linking all postings back to LinkedIn as the originating source, every action counts as a LinkedIn like, comment or share, and each action will advance the promotion of your content in the channel.

Yesterday, I noticed that LinkedIn have taken the update and share feature from the profile to the home page. This subtle change is quite clever because it drives users to their personal home page rather than their profile, and the more familiar people become with their home page, the more often they are going to use it and review the updates in the stream. The other change of significance is enabling updates from company pages. Again this brings the way LinkedIn works closer to what works on Facebook with pages, enabling users to share updates and communicate with their followers.

Company pages have also added a new feature that gives page admins access to the profiles of who is following the company account. This is the first time recruiters (via the page admin) have been able to see who is connecting with them in order to reach out to anyone who looks of interest. Jobseekers also have access to a similar feature for the page as the one for group statistics. As the company pages are evolving they could become as important as Facebook fan pages for recruiting, especially now that you can post updates from the page. It is going to be interesting to see how these evolve.

Another of the announcements to come out of the last briefing was that LinkedIn are now making it much easier for developers of third party applications.to develop sign ins using their profile, access to updates for monitoring and posting and for integrating share features. Notably, LinkedIn are making it easy for applications that facilitate engagment in groups beyond purely posting in to discussions. This links back to my view of where LinkedIn are positioning themselves among the social media channels. Everything they are developing points to 4 aims:

> To increase engagement between a targeted professional audience without the noise of other channels such as Twitter or Facebook.

> To become the channel for sharing to a targeted and very relevant audience.

> To be the professional reference point for signing in or signing up for any application such as job seeking.

> To become the source for structured professional data and all its applications. This goes well beyond recruiting.

Everything I’m seeing points to great progress in these areas. When you consider your recruiting strategy and how you attract, reach and engage with talent, it is important to consider how the changing face of the channel could impact on your strategy. Time to rethink how you are using LinkedIn for the new age? It is a different place that needs a new approach, and old thinking is just that. Make the most of the changes.

Bill

You must read this post on influence

This post is a bit of an experiment related to on-line influence and on-line impact. My view is that when we talk about influence, we really mean impact. Influence became a bit of a trendy word to use, multiplied by the likes of Klout and PeerIndex. Suddenly everyone was arguing about influence, relevance and whether it actually meant anything in the real world, or was just an elaborate marketing ploy.
Some bloggers have tried to intelectualise the whole influence conversation through their blog posts. As recruiters though what are we really interested in, influence or something else? These are my thoughts on what the principle measures should be for recruiters:

> How many people look at our jobs
> How many people apply for our jobs
> How many people get hired

> The conversion ratio of each

There are lots of other matrix I’m going to look at around influence. what content did people look at before they decided to apply. Is one piece of content better at progressing people to the next stage of the process than another. All of this is useful, but a recruiter is not judged on fans, followers, network numbers, likes, size of talent community or engagement, they get judged by hires. All of the other stuff might be useful, could even be considered to influential to recruitment outcomes, but in isolation none of them count for anything without hires.
On line activity is designed to create a reaction and an action. A click on a link, a share, a like etc, something happens because of the content. The worst thing is inaction, when nothing happens. That tells me that I’m either being ignored, hitting the wrong audience or lacking credibility as a source. It can also mean that I haven’t banked up enough credits in the bank of reciprocity. You know the kind of thing. you share my content or help me when I need it, I’m much more willing to help you. When that relationship becomes one-sided then I’m going to stop reacting to your content. I’m going to ignore you and do nothing. Not open your links or share them. Perhaps we should be measuring how many people are ignoring us rather than how many people are reacting to get a real picture of our influence, or rather the lack of it.

I have documented the story of the Barclay’s Social Hub in the past. What is impressive about the data that comes out of this story is that whilst traffic and page views increased considerably, applications dropped significantly. On the face of it this is not great, but the end result was a massive improvement in the conversion ratio of applications to hires because people were choosing to opt out because the added content enabled informed decision-making and opting out. It is fair to say that the reduction in applications shows that the content influenced the decision not to apply. As the conversion rates increased and the hiring targets were smashed, in this case it should be considered a positive influence even though no physical action took place. This brings in to question the whole measurement of influence because the inaction was the desired outcome, and the viewers were mostly “influenced” to do nothing.
I titled this post in the way I did because I wanted to test how easy it is to write a title or a heading that gets opened. Click throughs or open rates are easy to achieve with creative headlines or tweets, but what is important is what happens once the link is open. If nothing happens, is it really influence? If everyone looks at my job but nobody applies, should I be congratulating myself on my high traffic and great Klout score, or be concerned about the fact that no one is actually going to get hired. If the  headline of this post “tricked” you in to opening it, that’s great for my Klout score, but is it really influence?
One of the things that prompted this post was a conversation with a UK blogger who sends out tweets (automated) about her own blog post saying things like “Really interesting post” or “this is really helpful, great post.” When you click on these links it takes you to their blog and their content. I challenged her on this, asking if she had really said that about her own content. The response I got was that this approach was great for click-throughs and traffic. When I landed on the link, I felt cheated. my opinion of the blogger went down considerably. I added a click to the traffic numbers but was that really worth while. Is this influence, impact or nothing? This kind of link prompts an action, clicking on a link, but not a positive outcome because nothing else happens. There is an argument however that there was an opportunity for an outcome because I looked and made a choice not to act. Is this any different to what happened with Barclay’s? An automated job feed on Twitter gets a high click-through rate, but doesn’t really influence my thinking. It does however present the opportunity to consider applying. Should driving traffic be considered as important in social recruiting as “influence”, or is all this talk effluence?

My thoughts on this is that the most important thing is outcomes, and that is going to be different according to need. If you need to hire now, then traffic and applications are going to be key, if you are taking a longer term approach and looking to build pipeline then engagement, page views and other factors are going to be more important. To me, actions and outcomes are far more important than influence, and it is this that should be the main focus.

What do you think?

Bill

A 100 Years Of Recruiting Tech @TalentBinHiring (Infographic) #TruSanFran

Tomorrow I’m leaving for SanFrancisco and #TruSanFran. The event takes place on Thursday 16′th August and will be hosted by our friends at TalentBin. I’ve been really impressed with the way they have developed from an early social referral product which I was unconvinced about, through to a brilliant sourcing tool. The 2 big features I like about Talent Bin are the aggregated social profile and the profiling from channels like github and stack overflow where the candidates hang out.
Thanks also to our event sponsors WhiteTruffle who have made it possible to run a quality event with a $20 admission price.
We are going to be running 2 Google+ hangouts during the event thanks to Dice.Com. The first hangout is for technical recruiters looking at the important issues and challenges faced bytechnical recruiters in SanFrancisco, and the second hangout will feature advice for job seekers in the technical sector from the expert recruiters present. I will be publishing the location of the hangout tomorrow. Please come and join us.

In advance of the event, TalentBin have produced an infographic that outlines the history of technical recruiting. Please share it!

YOU CAN STILL BOOK $20 TICKETS FOR ~TRUSANFRAN HERE

Please join us in person or on the Dice.Com hangout.

Bill

Get Referred: The Big Change In #SocialRecruiting?

There is a feature that I have been noticing appearing on most of the Facebook recruiting applications. The get referred feature enables you to see how you are connected with the employing company, and enables you to message your contacts to ask to be referred for a particular job. In most of the apps you get to see both your LinkedIn connections and your Facebook connections. You can find this feature on the Work4Labs, TMJ,  Gooodjob, Glassdoor, BranchOut, Jibe and more. This might not seem like a big deal, it has become common place, but I think it could be.

My thinking behind this is that it changes the dynamic for social referrals and job pipeline. I’m a big fan of social referrals. The average person has 125 Facebook friends and 225 LinkedIn connections. From the research I’ve conducted there is usually a 20% crossover between the channels, and around 70% relevance for employment. This might be as tenuous as living in the right area, but when you multiply the numbers by the number of employees then there is massive potential.

Applications like Work4Labs and SocialReferral (available through Broadbean Inc) have matching technology under the hood that matches the social profiles of an employees connections, enabling employees to refer jobs to potential candidates creating a relevant and on-going pipeline. The success of social referral programs are dependent on five things:

> Understanding that a social-referral is based on a profile match and is not a recommendation. this means removing accountability and asking for the level of relationship.

> Establishing trust at point of sign up that you want access to networks for automated matching only. You need to provide reassurance that you won’t be stripping any data or messaging anyone without going through the owner of the network first.

> Establishing a review and response time to ALL social referrals regardless of fit.

> Rewards for referrals rather than hires.

> Making the process quick, and using technology to take the work out of matching, with no reliance on memory.

These are the pillars on which I build social referral programs, along with ensuring high-profile visibility and recognition well beyond the launch date. The reality of this however is that most social referral programs falter beyond the first 3 months because they cease to be a priority, become a distraction or the promised rewards or recognition are not forthcoming. There is always a new initiative or something more important that becomes a priority. To make these programs work you need to embed them in to culture, and keep them going. It takes real effort, but the pipeline rewards are significant.

What changes this is the get referred button because this changes the onus from the employee to the interested party in terms of effort. Potentially this also changes the candidate experience where referral candidates are given priority for review and response. It also gives potential candidates the opportunity to look deeper in to companies by enabling conversation and investigation on a peer level before application, and the more informed the candidate, the better the conversion rate to employee, because those who choose to opt in after investigation interview better because they have already established their interest.

LinkedIn go a bit further on their get referred feature because they show the relationship with the advertising recruiter and the closest connections. I’d like to see this feature being integrated in to all the applications beyond who you know, including features like who you know who does this job now with the potential employer. The how are you connected feature is also a great way to promote a talent network, giving potential candidates a great reason to express their interest, even if they are not ready to apply. As this feature catches on, it will only encourage people to make connections within companies that could be of interest at some stage in their career, and offers a very real benefit to those who network.

Combining an internal social referral program with get referred features on all jobs and social places will only enhance your pipeline, and make your applications better. Get referred might just make a real difference to your results.

Bill

 

#SocialRecruiting and employer branding in China(infographic) #SRChina

A client recently asked me to find out a bit more about what was happening in China with regards employer branding and social recruiting because this is proving a bit of a problem for them. There is extreme competition for skilled technical candidates and their efforts from their global programs were falling short. I am by no means an expert in China, fortunately the benefit of social networking means I know a man who is.

According to SocialBakers there are 2,269,575 LinkedIn users in China. This represents only 0.17% of the population and 0.54% of the on-line population. Facebook has 515,380 registered users. China means different channels and a different approach.

I’ve been following the work of Maximum, the employer branding and recruitment advertising agency for some time now who are well established in this market. Followers of the #Tru events will have come across Patrick Boonstra who works for Maximum in Rotterdam. They have produced some excellent work for the likes of Delloite NL and the Dutch Army. CEO of Maximum Ed Barzilaj has been operating from an office in Shanghai for quite a few years. Maximum include Starbucks, Deloitte, Baidu, Shell, Novartis, Yum! Brands and Schaeffler in their client list in China.

Recently, Maximum published a survey of HR professionals in China to research attitudes and practices to social recruiting and employer branding in the region. The report makes interesting reading. You need to buy it to get the full report, although the executive summary makes interesting reading for the curious.

The summary of the report reads:

“The research revealed that 51% of the survey participants have been using Social Networking Sites (SNS) for employer branding and recruitment since 2010. While Qzone appears to be the largest online SNS in China, Renren and micro-blog platform Sina Weibo are in fact the most utilized SNS for employer branding and recruitment purposes at the moment. Majority of HR-professionals see social networks as the most important channel to invest in for employer branding and recruitment in the near future, whereas print media and mobile marketing are being considered as the least important channels to invest in.”I was particular interested in the closing statement on mobile. This mirrors the Evenbase researchin the UK which found the same thing in the minds of recruiters. It would be interesting to see the views of the job seekers to see if they share the same view.The most popular site in China is QZone in terms of users, but for employer branding and recruiting  Renren and micro-blog platform Sina Weibo are the most utilized.

You can keep up to date with other research from Maximum by signing up for their newsletter and updates. in the participation section.

To capture the headlines, Maximum have produced this useful infographic. Thankyou for sharing.

Bill

Social Media, Work And HR (Infographic) Featuring @SusanAvello

Susan Avello is smart.and sassy. Susan blogs at HRVirtualcafe.Com. You should check it out. I was lucky enough to meet her at #SHRM12 in the blogger lounge, and we exchange tweets from time to time.Earlier this week Avello shared an infographic that she had put together for a presentation. I like this infographic because theres a range of sources including a SHRM survey on attitudes to social media. Susan was good enough to share all of the original data sources. I have copied these at the end of the post in case you want any of the numbers or access to the original reports.
Thanks Susan for sharing.
Bill

Social Media in the Workplace
SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Media in the Workplace
 20% of CEO surveyed use LinkedIn; 17% use Facebook; 9% use Twitter; 8% use YouTube; 7% use Photo-sharing applications; 5% use Video-sharing applications
 69% of respondents surveyed say their organization does NOT track employee use of social media on company-owned computers or handheld devices
 57% of respondents surveyed say their organization does NOT block access to social media on company-owned computers or handheld devices?
 68% of respondents surveyed say their organizations have groups or individuals who currently engage in social media activities to reach external audiences
 Marketing – 67%
 Human Resources – 44%
 Public Relations – 38%
 Sales – 24%
 Management (corporate / senior ) – 20%
 Customer Service – 15%
 Information Technology – 12%
 Operation Logistics – 6%
 Legal – 3%
 Accounting / Finance – 2%
 Other – 8%
IABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants Employee Engagement Survey
 Percentage of organizations who encourage employees to participate in social media to share information and express opinions
 33% – Small number of employees have access to organizational social media and are encouraged to participate
 25% – All employees have access to organizational social media and are encouraged to participate
 18% – Some employees, but not all, have access to organizational social media
 23% – No employees have access to organizational social media
 49% of respondents say their organization have a social media policy in place whereas 28% have one in development or 22% do not have one at all
 54% of respondents say their top executives do NOT participate in social media; 35% say their CEOs occasionally do; and 11% say their CEOs participate regularly

Mobile Workforce
Cisco, Connected Technology World Report
 Two of every three employees surveyed (66 percent) expect IT to allow them to use any device – personal or company-issued – to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere at any time, and they expect the types of devices to continue diversifying
 IT respondents (45 percent) said they are not prepared policy- and technology-wise to support a more borderless, mobile workforce
 Almost three of every five employees globally (58 percent) admitted that they have allowed non-employees to use their corporate devices unsupervised.
 IT respondents felt security (57 percent), budget (34 percent), and staff expertise (17 percent) were the biggest barriers to enabling a more distributed workforce, employees often felt IT and corporate policies were the obstacles
 70% of employees with smartphones regularly check their emails outside the normal business hours.
 42% of employees log onto their business email accounts while home on sick leave.
 43% of employees connect to their emails on their smartphones in order to get ahead and ease their workloads for the following business day.
 3 of 5 workers say they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive
 32% of employees globally now rely on more than one mobile device during the typical work day
 46% of mobile workers feel most productive in the office while 38% most productive working from home
 87% of IT Managers say companies provide workers with mobile phones and cover costs, but more than half of employees with iPhones, Android phones and iPads report they purchased the devices themselves
 Users accessing web-based email decreased by 6% while users accessing mobile email increased by 36%
 Of 22-34 year olds, 70% use tablets while only 47& users between the ages of 55-64 use tables, and 65% of users between the ages of 35 – 54 use tablets
iPass, Mobile Workforce Report
 61 percent of mobile workers sleep with their smartphone nearby, 43 percent within arm’s reach
 During downtime, 91 percent of employees check their smartphone every six to 12 minutes
 38 percent of mobile workers wake up to check their mobile device during the night
 35 percent check email on their device first thing in the morning – even before getting dressed or eating breakfast
 The average mobile worker works 240 hours a year longer than the general population
 94 percent of mobile workers have a smartphone
 41 percent of mobile workers have a tablet, and an additional 34 percent of mobile workers intend to purchase a tablet in the next six months
 87 percent of mobile workers that own tablets use their tablets for at least some work
 Among tablet owners, 27 percent have a tablet provided by their workplace and 73 percent have a personally owned tablet
IBM Allows Employees to Use Personal Smartphone Devices for Workplace Tasks
 By the end of 2011, 100,000 employees of IBM can connect their handheld devices to internal networks of IBM and by 2012 another 100,000 employees will be connected to it.

HR Transformation
2011 Achievers Social HR Survey

  • 98% of HR respondents say they believe that social networking is an important tool for recruiting, retaining and managing employees
  • 82% of HR respondents believe that social networks will be used as an HR tool in their organizations within the next 12 months
  • 85% of HR respondents say their companies plan to increase investment in both time and money in social networks in 2012
  • 52% of HR respondents say that senior management is the biggest hurdle to getting social networks accepted as a legitimate HR tool
  • 90% of HR respondents believe that social networking should be used as an HR tool.
  • Percentage of HR people who believe that social networking tools can have those most impact in these areas:
    • 34% – Reduce cost of recruiting
    • 26% – Reduce costs of communication
    • 22% – Employee Engagement
    • 15% – Career Management
    • 12% – Employee Satisfaction
    • 9% – Employee Retention

Recruiting

Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey

  • 41% of college seniors use some form of social media in their search for employment
  • 90% of HR managers use or plan to use social networking to find employees
  • 64% of employers have used social media to successfully recruit workers
  • Approximately 31% of college seniors have LinkedIn profiles, while nearly 23% have Twitter accounts
  • Almost 70% with accounts on both LinkedIn and Twitter report using them for their job search
  • 81% of college seniors use LinkedIn to distribute their profiles to their network contacts and prospective employers, while almost half use it to research employers

Cisco, Gen-Y Study

  • 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young employees would accept a lower-paying job if it had more flexibility on device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.
  • 64 percent of college students would ask about social media usage policies during job interviews, and one in four overall (24 percent) said it will be a key factor in determining whether or not to accept an offer.
  • 41 percent of young professionals said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them.
  • More than half of college students globally (56 percent) replied that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would either not accept the job offer or would join and find a way to get around it anyway.
  • 29 percent of college students believe that once they begin working, it will be their right –- not just a privilege –- to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.

Talent Management

Towers Watson, 2011/2012 Talent Management and Rewards Study, North America

Integration of reward and talent management programs

  • Only 36% of organizations with a competency model have linked it to their reward programs.
  • Most organizations have been unable to effectively leverage their investment in HR technology.

Segmentation

  • Only 44% of organizations formally identify employees with critical skills.
  • Fully 68% identify high potentials, but only 28% inform those employees who have been identified.

Agility

  • Short-term incentive (STI) programs provide greater flexibility because payouts can rise or fall depending on business conditions. Funding for STI programs increased sharply last year, from 88% to 111% of target as profits increased, and employers expect to fully fund STI programs in 2011.

Employee / Performance Management

Cornerstone OnDemand Research Survey on Performance Management

  • 50% of employed U.S. adults who have experienced their employer’s review process feel more valued by the company when they receive a performance review that is focused on helping them succeed in their role
  • Only 37% said they’ve been given useful feedback from their manager/employer;
  • Only 34% indicated that they’ve received training and development to help them better perform their job;
  • Only 32% said that their performance goals are aligned with their company’s business objectives; and
  • Only 20% have established career goalswith their manager/employer

IABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants Employee Engagement Survey

  • 44% of respondents say that individual supervisors is the highest contributing factor to increasing employee engagement; 39% by amount of communication; 31% by change in leadership
  • Percentage of importance of organization’s decisions to develop programs and strategies for engaging employees:
    • 33% – Create a new culture or work environment
    • 28% – Increase productivity
    • 26% – Retain top talent
    • 19% – Increase employee morale
    • 8% – Knowledge transfer to younger employees

 

Towers Watson, 2010 Global Workforce Survey

  • Only 31% of employees their senior managers communicate openly and honestly
  • 3% thought their managers treated them as key parts of the organization and no fewer than 60% felt their senior managers treated them as just another organizational asset to be managed.
  • Only 39% of employees in the US feel senior management does not exhibit attitudes and behaviors that reflect they care about the well-being of their employees. (29% of employees for UK)
  • Only 47% think their leaders are trustworthy
  • Only 42% think their leaders inspire and engage them
  • 61% question whether their leaders deal effectively with poor performers
  • Only 42% think senior management encourages development of talent

 

What If I Don't Want To Engage? The Elephant In The Room

I’ve been spending a lot  of time recently talking to people who don’t appear to be massively active in the social channels, but who I know are in the job market. I was interested in why they were job hunting but apparently not connecting, and I got some interesting answers back that have made me dig a bit deeper.

At the same time I have been looking at an increasing number of posts talking about the importance of engagement, about how candidates want to connect and join talent communities in the hope of one day being hired. I’ve read the LinkedIn experts talking about why you should be joining LinkedIn groups and joining in discussions if you want to get noticed. The message has been clear, engage, engage, engage.

On the whole I agree with what is being said. I understand the benefit of engaging with candidates, there are plenty of people who are looking to connect and engage with organisations, but there is also a big passive audience who just want to observe, watch and wait for opportunities. The conversations I have been having are around this point. They want to see the content and plenty of it. They want to be able to sign up to talent networks and get relevent notifications of opportunities as they come up, what they don’t want to be doing is engaging and talking to recruiters until they are in the application process.

There are a number of reasons for this, the biggest one being a fear of being found out or noticed. A feeling of job insecurity is rife in this uncertain economy, so the fear is that if I start talking to recruiters in public places, joining in chats and the like then the alarm bells might just start ringing with their employers. They also don’t want to be joining talent communities or forums where other members from the same industry might just take their participation as a sign of itchy feet, whilst others say that they just don’t know what to say or how to engage.

There are also those who don’t naturally engage. In any social network, community, network or group, it’s rarely more than 5% of the members who generate content. The percentage of people who actively watch is harder to measure, but I’m sure it is considerably bigger, as well as those who connect or follow then forget about it.

My reasoning behind this post is NOT to say that you should not have a strategy of offering engagement. I’m still convinced that all employers should be creating places and opportunities to connect and engage with potential employees. The elephant in the room though is that large section of  potential employees who for whatever reason don’t want to be engaging. Social recruiting is not all about engagement, whatever might be said elsewhere. Theres a big audience who want to watch and quietly apply, and you need to make sure that your recruiting strategy is inclusive for everyone.

Bill