#truLondon 2011

#trulondon thought number 2: Small changes. Big differences

I was leading a track on Facebook recruiting, when Pete Linas of Bullhorn Reach commented how a small change to their candidate interface. The tab to apply for a job used to be labeled “Apply.”. Bullhorn Reach allows you to share jobs with all of your network on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, or with targeted connections.
If the candidate clicks on the link to the job, they get the full job description.

What the team at Bullhorn did was quite simple, they changed the tab to read:”Lets Talk.” Now this seems like a small change, but it made a massive difference to the level of response which increased significantly. What this story really illustrates to me is the difference between applying and talking. There are those job seekers who will hit any application because they are desperate for a new opportunity, perhaps they are out of work.

The process of applying is a big commitment to the working candidate or passive jobseeker. They need more than a job spec before they want to share their C.V. In the past, they may have gone to the effort of forwarding their details, but in reality,many wouldn’t. The invitation to talk encourages the possibly interested or vaguely curious to explore more,and become candidates if the fit is right.

Engaging at this stage of the process is great for recruiters because they can start the filtering or selling process much earlier. I remember speaking with Greg Savage at #trulondon3 about his decision to take jobs off the corporate website, whilst he was C.E.O. of global marketing recruiters, Acquent, and connect job seekers direct with recruiters, working in their field of interest. This proved to be particularly succesful for Acquent, and is a strategy he has taken in to his new business Acquent.

The reasoning behind this is that recruiters can quickly identify those candidates that are on the money at point of entry, and start to establish a personal relationship quickly. One of the big impacts of the recession on job seekers is that they are far more likely to drop out of the process. The relationship and trust between the recruiter (corporate or third-party) is key in influencing decisions particularly the offer stage.

Equally, by identifying those candidates that don’t fit the bill at entry-level means you can manage expectation. Great for your employer brand and a real-time saving down the line. It worked for Acquent, so it is no surprise that the Bullhorn Reach switch from “Apply” to “Lets Talk” made such a difference. Social gives job seekers accessibility and opportunity to engage when they want to do it most.

My experience from the Facebook projects that I have been involved in recently is that potential candidates don’t really want to ask about job descriptions. They are more interested in the application process, skills needed and culture/environment. The key-consideration is to make sure that anyone offering the talk option,then you need the infrastructure to engage. If a potential candidate wants to talk, then they want to talk now. A post and pray approach means that recruiters can gather response and come back in their own time. Speed is an issue in a competitive sector, but there is the luxury of  being able to manage communication after the application process.

Adjusting your own process and marketing from apply to talk to, has many benefits if your ready for engagement. Not least, the increased commitment from candidates and significant growth in candidate flow.

Bill

Links

Pete Linas

Bullhorn Reach

Greg Savage

#trulondon thought number 1; Lazy Recruiters!

It has been 48 hours since #truLondon and we covered a lot of content. Over the next 5 days I will be sharing a daily thought from #trulondon. Something that stood out for me or made me think, and there was plenty of things that stood out in the memory bank. I’m going to kick off with one I’d love to hear your thoughts:

#truLondon thought 1: Lazy Recruiters

Igotmore annoyed in one track than I can remember at any of the #tru events I have attended. What caused me to get so irate was the comment “recruiters are lazy!”. Now I have worked with plenty of recruiters over the last 27 years.In the past it was all agency recruiters, and I was one for a long time. More recently my work has been mostly with direct recruiting teams.I want to start by stating that in all this time, I have met very few that could be described as lazy. Quite the contrary,I,ve met few people in any other profession who work anything like the hours, or as hard as recruiters. So why this comment, and judging by the lack of reaction, agreement?
From my position, there is little difference now between the working practices of agency recruiters and their corporate counterparts. Whilst third-party agency recruiters might have fee paying clients to satisfy, that’s not really different to having equally demanding and fussy hiring managers, except that a corporate recruiter can’t drop a hiring manager if they prove to be a difficult customer.

Over the last 18 months, the roles have got closer and closer in terms of how they operate. When we talk sourcing, technologies, candidate difficulties or control, as well as influencing hiring managers, the conversation is identical regardless of discipline. Corporate recruiters benefit from greater support in candidate attraction from employer branding communications and initiatives, agency recruiters often benefit from a wider exposure to the market at large, through working with a range of companies.

Time pressure is an issue for both disciplines, as well as a “hire now” pressure ahead of “hire future.” The pressure is on to fill seats and find the hard to hire talent. The “war for talent” is largely a war for other people’s talent. The talent that is needed to fill open positions is the talent that companies are fighting to keep, everybody is battling for the same candidates. I think recruiters have been slow to communicate this. There is a real perception that recruiting is easy and as a result, recruiters are lazy.

In my opinion, recruiters can be accused of being inefficient. When we look at most recruiting technology, it’s mostly underused, with little investment in keeping skills up to date, changing operational practice as the technology has developed. Whilst most recruiting technology issues regular updates and increased functionality to stay competitive, most recruiters use it as was bought.

One clear example of this is the recruitment database or ATS. Many recruiters, (by no means all), use the database for information storage and tracking rather than information retrieval. The progress from Recruiting 2.0 to 3.0, was really little more than the move from post and pray to source and spray. Recruiting is still focussed on volume of approaches in the hope that some of it fits,and volume often brings results.  Priority needs to be on developing smarter working practice, and development takes time. Time is the factor most recruiters aren’t allowed, with the current pressure to hire. Rather than recruiter bashing, i’d like to see a rethink on allowing recruiters to redesign operating practice, and link closer with vendors to make sure they are getting the best out of the technology they have.

Recruiters work far to hard to be described as lazy, and only those who have never had to deal with the real complexity of influencing both candidates and hiring managers beyond attraction would ever think otherwise. Recruiters need to communicate these issues better, and work on brand “recruiter” as hard as employer brand. If you work with recruiters, get to know their job better.

People play the critical part in  the success of any organisation. The recruiters who source and introduce them are central to the success of the business. I always felt privileged to be charged with the responsibility of influencing people s careers and getting the best talent in to organisations. Talk of “lazy” recruiters does not reflect this.

Sometimes, and in some cases inefficient, true , but lazy, definitely not!

Bill

 

 

The #trulondon Schedule: September 1'st – 2'nd

Platinum Sponsor

#TruLondon is back again for the second time this year. Same venue, in the heart of Brick Lane, around the corner from Norton Folgate. We are expecting 170 people, so this time around will be running 4 tracks an hour. Theres live streaming in the Jobsite studio from 10.00a.m. – 4.00p.m. each day.Oscar Mager is running a Google+ experiment from 10.00am Thursday. johnny Campbell and the Social Talent Team will be running an employer branding film school. Theres lots to look forward to and take part.

Important note to attendees: Dress Code Is Casual. Please move between tracks as you need or want. Don’t sit in tracks being bored. The track leaders expect changes!

Schedule:

Day 1: 1′st Sept

9.30 – 10.00 – Introduction and welcome/Live twitter – Bill Boorman & The HR Busker – Doug Shaw

#tru Sponsor

Track 1 – #TruBSBingo – Patrick Boonstra – Room 1 – 10.00 – 11.00

Track 2 – The Google+ #Tru experiment – Oscar Mager – Room 2 – 10.00 – 11.00

Track 3 – Live Linked In Webinar with The South African Recruiters Group – Shane McCusker – Room 3

Track 4 – Talent Pipeline – Lucian Tarnowski – Room 4 – 10.00 – 11.00

Viral Video Film school – Johnny Campbell & Social Talent – Session 1 – 10.00 – 12.00

Livestream Broadcast Starts from the Jobsite Studio – 10.00 – 4.00 – DeeDee Doke & Team

Jamie Leonard’s Reconverse Room – Speed networking with vendors – 10.00 – 4.00

Coffee Break – 11.00 – 11.15

Track 5 – Employer Brand Management – Master Burnett – 11.15 – 12.15

Track 6 – The Social Agency – Steve Ward – 11.15 – 12.15

Social Media Sponsor

Track 7 – Guerilla Recruiting – Rob VanElburg – 11.15 – 12.15

Track 8 – Talent Communities – Lisa Scales – 11.15 – 12.15

Track 9 – Future Recruiting Technology – Tristan Greaves – 12.15 – 1.15

Track 10 – Big Data – Kevin Wheeler – 12.15 – 1.15

Track 11 – Linking In – Mark Williams – 12.15 – 1.15

Track 12 – Personal Branding – Jorgen Sundberg – 12.15 – 1.15

1.15 – 2.15 – Lunch

Track 13 – The Buskers Track – Doug Shaw – 2.15 – 3.15

Track 14 – Pacman Recruiting – Gordon Lokenberg – 2.15 – 3.15

Track 15 – Community Management -Mervyn Dinnen  - 2.15 – 3.15

Track 16 – Talent Anarchy – Jason Lauritsen – 2.15 – 3.15

Viral Video Film School – Johnny Campbell & Social Talent – 2.15 – 4.15

3.15 – 3.30 – Coffee

Tweetup Sponsor

Track 17 – Oxfam and Volunteer Recruiting – Beth Mayes – 3.30 – 4.30

Track 18 – Skills Gap – Charlie Duff – 3.30 – 4.30

Track 19 – Future Of Recruiting – Peter Cosgrove – 3.30 – 4.30

Track 20 – Theres an App for that – Dave Martin-3.30 – 4.30

Track 21 – Blogging For Branding – Hung Lee – 4.30 – 5.30

Track 22 – Recruitment 4.0 – Matthew Jefferey – 4.30 – 5.30

Track 23 – Candidate Experience -Ray Duggins – 4.30 – 5.30

Sponsor

Track 24 – Recruiter SEO – Ivan Stojanovic – 4.30 – 5.30

Evening Tweetup: The Lane Bar, E1

Day 2 – September 2′nd

9.30 – 10.00 – Open and Introduction – Bill Boorman/Augmented Reality Check – Gordon Lokenberg

10.00 – 12.00 – Viral Video Film School – Johnny Campbell & The Social Talent Team

Livestream Broadcast Starts from the Jobsite Studio – 10.00 – 4.00 – DeeDee Doke & Team

Jamie Leonard’s Reconverse Room – Speed networking with vendors – 10.00 – 4.00

Track 25 – The Rejection Business – James Mayes – 10.00 – 11.00

Track 26 – Mobile Strategies – Chris Bradshaw – 10.00 – 11.00

Track 27 – Influence Or Effluence – Bill Boorman – 10.00 – 11.00

Track 28 – Helande Harding – Talent Matters – 10.00 – 11.00

11.00 – 11.15 – Coffee

Track 29 – Referral Recruiting – Michelle Rea – 11.15 – 12.15

@BillBoorman Sponsor

Track 30 – The Social Footprint – Bill Fischer – 11.15 – 12.15

Track 31 – Employee Engagment – Jason Laurittsen -11.15 – 12.15

Track 32 – Video In Selection – Ed Hendricks – 11.15 – 12.15

Track 33 – The #TruGrads – Ruxxandra Fratescu – 12.15 – 1.15

Track 34 – Predictive Internet Behaviour – Peter Linas – 12.15 – 1.15

Track 35 – Facing Up To Facebook – Stephane Le’Viette – 12.15 – 1.15

Film SchoolSponsor

Track 36 – Recruiting Technologies – Stephen O’Donnell- 12.15 – 1.15

Lunch – 1.15 – 2.15

Track 37 – Anti-Social – Ettienne Besson – 2.15 – 3.15

Track 38 – Agency Branding – Lisa Jones – 2.15 – 3.15

Track 39 – Old Skool V New Kool – Alan Whitford – 2.15 – 3.15

Track 40 - How The Dutch Army Recruit – Patrick Boonstra – 2.15 – 3.15

Coffee – 3.15 – 3.30

Track 41 – The Hard Rock Story (120 Hires In 4 Weeks) – Bill Boorman – 3.30 – 4.30

Sponsor

Track 42 – I.T.Recruiting – Elkie Holland – 3.30 – 4.30

Track 43 – Compelling Content – Martin Couzins – 3.30 – 4.30

Track 44 – The Future Of Talent – Kevin Wheeler – 3.30 – 4.30

Track 45 – Recruiter 4.0 – Matthew Jefferey – 4.30 – 5.30

Track 46 – Secret Sourcing – Johnny Campbell – 4.30 – 5.30

Track 47 – The Future For social recruiting – Master Burnett – 4.30 – 5.30

#RIDE Sponsor: Enjoy The #RIDE

Track 48 – In The Clouds – Wayne Barclay

Close 5.30

7.30 – 1.30 – #RIDE

Live from Amsterdam, the Recruitment Industry Dance Event takes place in the City Hotel. A great time to chill after 2 days conversation. Excellent opportunity for networking, dancing and having a good time,

As always, expect surprises, extra tracks and changes,

Bill

The Talent Network Approach #ATCSource #TruLondon

Carrie Corbin

I’ve been traveling quite a lot recently, clocking up a few airmiles  and meeting some fantastic people. There is no doubt that social recruiting is high on the agenda of most hiring companies. It’snot always the ultimate solution to everything, but it sits in the mix.
Last week Oracle Corporation announced that they are going to be hiring 1,700 new staff in the EMEA region, and are focussing recruiting activity on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels. I’ve been working closely with the team on putting the infrastructure together for this, and when one of the biggest brands in the world start investing in social, then you know that things are going main stream.
The big barrier that everyone talks about is time.Recruiting teams by and large do not have the time to invest in building talent communities. It takes a big budget and belief to invest in attracting people and engaging with them, whom you may never hire. Succesful social recruiting takes time to get a return, (outside of the post and pray approach.). The challenge is taking recruiting, which is largely focussed in the now, and adopting techniques that will take time to bring tangible results. My belief is that it takes at least 6 months before you begin to be in a position to harvest a return, and build up anything like a network that will pay off. Most recruiters have targets to hire now, and as a result, hiring becomes transactional in the now, starting with posting, dealing with response and perhaps a bit of LinkedIn sourcing and offering jobs. Success comes from numbers, find a number of possible candidates, mail them and hope that it sticks. Fill a job, get another job and rinse and repeat.The same is even more true when you look at third-party agency recruiters.
When I was in SanAntonio at #TNL I got to spend some time with Carrie Corbin (@TheAlphaFemme) of A.T.& T;s Associate Director of staffing and Talent Attraction. I have long been a fan of Carries work. What I picked up from our conversation was the view that A.T & T do not focus on talent communities, more talent networks. That is knowing how to reach people with relevent messages when they need to communicate. this could be job opportunities, employer branding content or just to get back on the radar. This is largely done by e-mail, where the key is relevance of message to avoid spam. This doesn’t feature engagement. It is all one way messaging with a call to action, and doesn’t rely on on-going dialogue or communication.
The job board research conducted by Jobsite, repeatedly finds accurate jobs by e-mail, that match capability, as one of the highest ranking “wants” from jobseekers. they want timely notifications of jobs that match their capabilities, to save them constantly needing to check in and follow jobs as they come up. Passive job seekers still want to be kept in the loop as to jobs that come up just in case the opportunity is tempting enough to apply.
We can apply the same thinking to talent networks. By capturing contact details and profiles of those people who come in to contact with your employer brand at any point so that you can update them with opportunities when they come up, without the need of maintaining an on-going relationship, (as with the community approach.)
Jump forward a few weeks to #ATCSource in Melbourne, and I had the opportunity to take a close look at a product that serves this function well, find.ly.com. Find.ly provide a plug-in that sits on multiple channels from career pages to fan pages. Anyone viewing the page is invited to connect with the network, and can do so using their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles. It is a 2 click opt-in operation that is quick and very simple.
On the back-end of Find.Ly, a profile is built based on the on-line profiles of the people who elect in. Find.ly calls this a “talent hive.” where recruiters can access the social profiles of potential candidates.There are 3 real benefits to Find.ly as I see it:
1: Profiles are based in real-time on the current social profile. If a contact updates their LinkedIn profile, their record updates, and recruiters can elect to receive alerts to these updates. Combining this with tracking of predictive internet behaviours, you can identify potential candidates when they move from passive to active, and be most likely to be responsive.
2: The hive is fully searchable and supports Boolean logic. This means a recruiter can segment people on any criteria to identify who to message from the talent network. Recruiters can interrogate the hive and send relevent messages.
3: Sign up is simple, opt in or invite, and sits across all career places, social or otherwise.

Users of Find.ly include A.T.& T and Nike, so they have a blue chip client base. The talent network approach fits larger organisations who need to manage scale and continuous hiring.

This approach to building a talent network, rather than a community has lots of potential. A network requires less maintenance and is reactive to need, meaning activity can focus on “hire now”, while ensuring no contact is lost and all detail on profiles are current.
On another note, I see the talent network fitting closer with the third-party/agency recruiters,over the more time intensive, longer term talent community approach. This is perhaps the approach to social that agency recruiters should be exploring as a means to capturing the contact detail of all those people coming in to contact with their agency.
A talent network approach will only be enhanced by developing talent communities and places to feature employment branding content to attract people in to the network. Increasingly, organisations are separating employer branding from recruiting or marketing. Organisations like Accenture operate recruitment marketing as a function focussed on talent attraction, others like Oracle have empowered employees to play an active part in brand advocacy. Recruiters can maximise on this type of activity by creating a framework for capturing contact detail of anyone responding, looking or getting involves, tracking these contacts to keep information current, and messaging contacts with relevant calls to action, whilst not needing to continuously communicate.
I’m going to be looking at the case for talent networks at #truRomania this week, and #truLondon next week. I’m interested in your views of this approach over talent communities. What works for you?

Bill

Links:

Carrie Corbin

Find.Ly

#TruRomania

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My One #tru Love : With thanks to @JobsiteUK #truLondon

On Wednesday 23′rd September 2009, at around 2.00pm, I first got the idea to run an unconference around recruiting and HR themes in the UK. I remember the date well because I was in Toronto at my first unconference, wearing a suit and sitting under a tree talking about of all things, the candidate experience. After early trepidation, I just loved the concept and the move away from the traditional conference. I had no grand vision of where I wanted it to go, but this was the moment that #tru, the recruiter unconference was born.
On return to the UK, I set about putting the first event together. I had no money, no venue, no track leaders, no blog or website or anything. Just an idea and twitter.I was a bit different in the way I was networking at that time. Without going all x factor, it has been a hell of a journey, and I’m loving every minute of it.
There’s been 12 events since, and over 1200 attendees, from London to Boston in the USA. People have come from 16 different countries and 4 different continents, and it all started with a tweet.
None of this would have happened without the support of JobsiteUK. they are the platinum sponsor of all of our UK events. More importantly, looking back, jobsite brought some legitimacy to the unconference concept.  It’s a hard concept to sell. No fixed outcomes or learning points in a brochure. No presentations. I think you really need to attend to fully appreciate what you get out of a 2 day event that has no fixed structure.

Jobsite have also helped with track leaders like Felix Wetzel, who has been really open in giving access to all their research and data to attendees . I still feel very fortunate to have the number of people willing to fly around the world to share their story, experience and expertise as both track leaders and attendees.I’m sure having a brand like Jobsite associated with the event has helped in this.Jobsite also understand the concept of no real advertising and definitely no pitching. Try selling that concept to sponsors, we want your money to make the event happen but we don’t want you selling to anyone!Thanks to all at Jobsite for your continued support, belief and encouragement. You have made this possible!

I asked Sodexo’s VP for talent attraction Arie Ball, why she got on a plane from the US most months and sent Senior Recruiters. Arie replied that she doesn’t get massive revelations, but she leaves each event with a host of smaller detail that she can put in to action immediately, as soon as she gets back to her team.I think this is because everyone attending is involved and active in hiring people and have real life experiences to share. The unconference conversation allows you to pick your conversations for what you need rather than being shoe-horned in to a schedule. 

On August 24′th and 25′th,  I’m off to Bucharest for #truRomania, which is our first venture in to Eastern Europe, then it’s back to the UK for #TruLondon on the 1′st and 2′nd September. We have a great line up including Jobsite sponsored track leaders Jason Lauritsen and Master Burnett, as well as Kevin Wheeler, Arie Ball, Matthew Jefferey, Jamie Leonard, Mervyn Dinnen, Bill Fischer, Andy Hyatt, Gordon Lokenburg, Charlie Duff, James Mayes, Hung Lee,Etienne Besson, Dave Martin, Chris Bradshaw, Ricky Wheeler, Lucien Tarnowski, Tristan Greaves, Lisa Scales, Jorgen Sundberg, Rob Van Elburg, Patrick Boonstra, Max Hayward, Martin Couzins, Michelle Rea, Steve Ward, Johnny Campbell,the #TruGrad Alumni, #TruGrads, Ivan Stojvanovic, Peter Cosgrove, Oscar Mager, Michael Wallace, Ed Hendrick, Pete Linas, Lisa Jones and more. There will be plenty of case studies, a product review area,live streaming hosted by Jobsite with well known editor of Recruiter Magazine Dee Dee Doke as the host.

We’ve also teamed up with Rob Van Elburg of #RIDE, the recruitment industry dance event, to host #truRIDE, their first event away from Amsterdam. you can join 300+ recruiters, live DJ’s and other entertainment from 7.00 – late. It’s going to be a very cool event at The Lane Bar, the same venue as #truLondon. To win a ticket, all you need to do is tweet “I want a ticket for #trulondon #RIDE “. The first 100 tweets win a ticket to #RIDE only, if you attach the link http://trulondon4.eventbrite.com/. Get tweeting!

Thanks also to #trulondon sponsors:

AllTheTopBananas

Broadbean

Arithon

Bullhorn Reach

SocialHonesty

BraveNewTalent

And of course our Platinum Sponsors Jobsite

See you in Romania and London, thanks for coming on the journey so far!

Bill

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BUY TICKETS FOR #TruLondon – 8 LEFT!

Community Matters #TNL Thinking #ATCSource #TruLondon

I’m in the middle of event season at the moment, #TNL in San Antonio being the most recent. I have had a lot of conversation recently around the topic of talent communities. I think people often fail to see the difference between an ATS, (and those people who have applied to you before), people you’ve identified as possible future hires and connected with on a social channel, and a real talent community.
I’m not sure people want to be labeled as talent. Talent communities often have the appearance of being holding pens. I’m not sure how appealing this is, and without any real benefit to belonging to these communities, other than keeping up to date with jobs, who really benefits?How does this differ from signing up for alerts and checking in with the recruiters you are connected with from time to time?
Recruiters are limited by available time. Many of the recruiters I work with in corporate teams would love to engage with candidates they might hire at some stage in the future. They see the benefit of building a pipeline for the future and offering continuous engagement about opportunities but, and this is a big but, they are too busy talking to candidates that they need to hire now, in the present. It is what they are targeted on and how they get measured, not by how many conversations they have in a day or how many people they have in the talent pool, it’s all about finding talent now and filling empty seats. Whatever we think about that, it is a major requirement of  most of the businesses they work for. There is no time to service the needs of the passive members of these communities.
Looking at it from a candidates point of view, there are times when they want to be all over recruiters. They want to be informed of opportunities that come up that fit them, now or in the future. Their level of interest is dictated by how active they are in the job search, but what they want most is for opportunities to be very relevent to their location and what they can do. Anything seen as not relevent is seen as spam.

What potential candidates want above all else is access to recruiters and other people who are doing the jobs they aspire to do. They want to be able to look inside an organisation and its real culture to see if it fits with what they need, They talk to recruiters about job descriptions, duties and most importantly, the application process. This is the bit that’s usually missing when candidates apply via career sites. The content is recruiter centric, usually hard fact based without the content they want around process and culture. It’s also one way broadcast, without access to their potential future colleagues. The decision over whether the culture that has been sold matches reality. The engagement that comes from community impacts on later retention because members of the community have a much better first hand picture of what work and culture will be like. The challenge is that people want to dip in to the community when they need it: i:e: when they are thinking about or actively job seeking, and not the rest of the time. The challenge for recruiters is engaging with people who are unlikely to be employees by virtue of their background or experience.

A few thoughts I have on solutions to these issues:

  1.  Build company communities with recruiting features (like links to jobs) with plenty of other content and features.
  2.  Market the communities internally to attract staff to become members, encouraging them to take an active part by taking a community DJ approach. This means a mix of on-line and off-line social events and initiatives.
  3.  Encourage the members to bring contacts outside of colleagues to join the community, contribute and share content amongst their connections.

These are just a few ideas I have on community issues. I will be discussing them in more detail at #truLondon in September in the community matters track.

What do you see as the future for talent communities?

Bill

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SOCIAL MEDIA: A compulsory subject for all university degrees?

Hi, I’m Ruxandra, one of the #trugrads. Bill is climbing mountains in sunny Wales this week so he invited me to write this guest blog on his behalf. This is the topic I will talk through at #Tru Amsterdam.

SOCIAL MEDIA: A compulsory subject for all university degrees?

Definitely!!! I would like to start this post by picturing the usual process of a third year student searching for the job he wants upon graduation. Alex, a very good third year Law and Business student at an average UK university wants to work in Recruitment. What is he going to do? He will follow the usual process like any other third year student. Alex will seek advice for writing his CV at the career office in his university, spend long hours filling in application forms for the top 20 UK recruitment companies, he will get positive feedback from 7 or 8 of them and the final result? In the end he won’t get any job offer, or he might get one, but not the one he wanted. What are the possible reasons for this? There are a few reasons like: fierce competition as graduate recruiters prefer candidates from top universities, applying for the wrong recruitment sector, he might not have matched the needs of the company at that time, lack of experience, and I could give many other examples.

Did Alex make use of social media in any way in his job hunt? LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? He might have a profile on each of them fair enough, but does he actually know how to use them to get the job he wants? Or get noticed? Not really!

How can social media help a third year student in his job search?

First of all, social media represents the best way for students to advertise themselves and catch the attention of employers. An updated LinkedIn profile with an appropriate professional headline, accompanied by group posts, related tweets, and interesting blog topics will make an employer browse through that student’s profile, download his CV and eventually give him a call. Let’s not forget that nowadays recruiters, especially internal recruiters, use social media in a big way.

There seems to be something wrong about this entire student-graduate scheme as at the moment, students tend to apply for jobs only to well-known companies but the majority of these companies look for graduates only at top universities. I would raise two questions out of this sentence:

Are students unaware that SME’s offer jobs too?

Are companies unaware that skilled graduates can also be found in top 100 (or even 200) universities rather than top 10?

There is definitely a gap somewhere and I strongly believe that it can only be filled if students start using social media more. I would now like to give a few relevant examples.

My best friend from Romania who wants to work in social media kept applying for jobs and internships at well-known companies for the past two years. She did not have any luck, and was very disappointed. I advised her to start looking for jobs on Facebook (most popular in Romania). One month after she started her job hunt on Facebook, she is working for a medium-size estate agency providing exclusivist services. She is of course in charge of their social media, and really enjoys it.
On the other hand, a few weeks ago I refused a job due to its location. At the end, the interviewer kindly asked me if I knew someone else who could be interested in the position. In this case, how can students say that they cannot find jobs? Do they actually know where to look for them?

My last argument would be that social media can help students better define what they want from their future job. Through social media students can get in touch with experienced people who can give them valuable advice about the career they want to have. In the last weeks, after I posted in groups on LinkedIn and started to write on my blog, many nice people approached me offering their help and advice. The conversations I had with them helped me understand Recruitment better, decide what sectors I would like to work in, what type of recruitment I want to do as well as the type of company I want to work in.

Having said this, what is the best way to make students aware of the benefits of social media and teach them how to use it? Should social media be a compulsory subject in universities?