Organizations that leverage social media intelligently can expect unprecedented returns in the quality and reach of talent pools.
Much has changed in the last 10 years about how someone looks for jobs. Not until too long ago, a job seeker would open the daily newspaper’s job supplement section, encircle the jobs of interest, note down phone numbers and contact details, and create a list. The more enterprising, perhaps, would go the extra mile― do a Google search on the company, and inquire in his limited personal and professional network to investigate about the company. The territory of job research was limited to publicly available (and often promotional) information on the Internet and word-of-mouth. As Internet penetration deepened, candidates began to realize the benefits of a larger aggregator of jobs― the job portals. Along with the convenience of having everything in one place, job seekers were also saved off the pain of having to note phone numbers, call for appointments, and visit individual company offices to deliver their resumes. The job portals provided a job seeker direct access to job openings from hiring organizations, as well as to a number of job and recruitment consultants. Job portals also offered the convenience of allowing an applicant to create a profile and store their resumes where potential recruiters can view and reach out to the applicant. From the hiring organization’s standpoint, job portals resulted in significant reduction in hiring costs and turnaround times. Trends indicated that job portal usage was more concentrated in the large employment hubs (metropolitan and Tier I cities), while job seekers in other parts of the country largely relied on job newspapers. For a while, both job newspapers and portals co-existed owing to their large consumer base and fairly undeviating search behavior.
Developments of changing demographic behavior and technological innovation have given rise to many changes in hiring workflows and the way jobs are promoted. These trends are largely driven by cloud and social media technologies that are triggering significant changes in behaviors, both of the job seeker and of the hiring organization. Social media is no longer limited in reach; 60% of all new Facebook profiles created in India in the last 6 months were from Tier II cities and the non-urban sector. With the increased ease of information access, job seekers want to know almost everything about the employment experience before accepting an offer, some even before applying. Hiring organizations, on the other hand seek greater intelligence about prospective candidates, owing to their ever increasing need to hire specialized talent. Another key development is the increasing trend of organizations reaching out to professionals who are not actively looking out for jobs. The industry terminology for such skilled professionals is, “passive” candidates. While organizations can reduce significant cost by tapping into the talent pool for active candidates, the higher value proposition of social media is its ability to tap into the passive talent pool. Organizations, more often, find the right talent for their requirements in the passive talent pool. In the absence of the right information channel and a delivery mechanism to attract talent from this pool, organizations can potentially miss out on significant opportunities.
Irfan Abdulla, Director, Hiring Solutions, at Linkedin India says that they realized the potential of leveraging social media for tapping into the passive talent pool and started Linkedin’s hiring solutions in 2009. Launched in India in the first quarter of 2012, the “Linkedin Recruiter” is their specialized hiring solution, which opens up an organization’s access to 175 million active and passive professionals globally.
The need for tapping into the passive pool
The need for hiring quality talent for executing specific organizational activities has become more pronounced. “Given the current economic climate,” Irfan says, “organizations are not just required to hire the right quality of candidates; they are required to hire quality at scale.” It is possible that the right candidate for a job may not be looking out for a job at the time when an organizational position opens. Also, in the absence of macro-level geographical workforce information, an organization may end up focusing efforts in the wrong geographical talent pool. All of these issues can result in an organization facing in-ordinate delays in filling up critical positions, or selecting the wrong candidate for a position. It is, therefore, extremely important for organizations to track the right information on the following questions:
- What are the skills available in the talent market pool at this point?
- From where can we source the talent required for the specific role requirements from open positions?
- Are there opportunities where we can attract the right candidates that we need in our organization, even though they may not be looking out for a job at this point?
- What are the ways by which we can send the right messages to attract this passive talent pool?
The social media imperative
Social media, owing to its presence and penetration among global professionals, offers the greatest potential to reach active and passive candidate pools globally. Social media recruiting companies, therefore, will continue to identify newer and more effective ways to gather intelligence and more accurate answers to the above questions. For example, post-login, a user of Linkedin views professional news feeds from the network, and suggestions about groups, associations, and potential jobs. It sources and delivers targeted content by gathering intelligence from an individual’s professional profile. A hiring organization, on the other hand, can push their employer brand message and current job opportunities to a large pool of active and passive candidates through the platform.
The future of social media hiring
Very soon, organizations failing to realize the full potential of social media will lose the race for sourcing skilled talent. Organizations will soon need to integrate social media recruiting into their strategic organizational mandate and understand what drives talent behavior. Only then will they be able to truly realize the rich potential of social media hiring.