In Perspective- Nishchae Suri
Social media as a channel for recruitment is one more addition to this decade’s suite of technology-powered advancements. Born out of the rise of the mobile generation, who were raised to leverage everything internet and search for information online, this phenomenon is being used in at least some form by most organisations. The appeal of social media comes from benefits to both the organisation and the potential candidate. Social networks provide curriculum vitae (CV)-like information on an online, conveniently searchable platform, making it easier for organisations and candidates both. A catalogued, one-place platform, it allows the application of targeted filters to explore opportunities. The top reason for organisations to use social media remains the targeting of passive candidates who may be the best fit but are not aware of, or actively looking for opportunities. Additionally, while traditional recruitment places organisations at the receiving end of resumes, social networks provide an opportunity to actively search for customised skill sets. With the future of work mandating niche skills this is an essential pre-requisite of agile recruitment. Social networks can be used by firms most strategically. Organisations which are cognisant of this, use them to showcase thought leadership in addition to publishing a careers page; to be able to play on their brand for attracting the best quality applications.
Given the insights data can provide, what is also useful is the ease in which valuable data can be sourced from competitor organisations — such as their benefits, job descriptions, hiring trends and growth strategies. Since the advent of online applications, the recruitment process has become much quicker and less expensive. It has also become easier to conduct checks — an online career record helps verify a resume— with most recruiters believing that the chance of providing incorrect information on public platforms is less likely. Organisations also look out for concern points such as posting of negative information about past employers and abusive content. Recruitment through social networks adds on to one of the most popular methods — employee referral.
First, by advertising opportunities through employee accounts, organisations can create authentic advocacy and second, firms are able to obtain benefits similar to those of referrals through sourcing candidates within existing employee networks. Networking websites can give a comprehensive snapshot of candidates — encompassing both the personal and professional. This is rather different from the information that a traditional CV would provide; that is limited to career history. With more emphasis on organisational culture, organisations are more sensitive to assessing not just a technical match, but also a person fit. Most organisations have well developed cultures and look for personality and identity matches. This has become even more important in the case of millennials because this cohort is likely to excel when their personal values correspond closely with those of the organisations’.
Leveraging social network technology for hiring is perhaps the one phenomenon that has most definitely enhanced human interface, something that technology has been accused of eroding. Most companies have pages on social networking websites where candidates and leaders converse real-time, an option that was unavailable before. This tends to be more informal, allowing a window to interact more freely with companies and therefore leading to better fit and lesser attrition. A cautionary note however; in addition to the need for organisational policy, privacy and legal specifications, it is important to understand that social media can only complement the recruitment process — it is an additional channel, not to be used in isolation, that must be leveraged strategically.
The author is partner & head — KPMG Academy