Beyond the Resume and CV: is recruiting via web 2.0 that different?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 - Uncategorized


BMany people in the recruiting and HR world are talking about recruitment 2.0. These people are those in that world who are totally web aware, and probably have a blog – so no wonder why I am writing about this phenomenon!

But, is recruitment web 2.0 style really any different to recruiting properly? In my personal opinion – NO!

Recruiting web 2.0 style is seen as a free flow of information between candidates and employers – there by cutting out the recruiters – where by employers find passive candidates through use of amazing tools and online social networking; while candidates find hidden opportunities in amazing employers.

Well, here’s a shock. Great companies have always hired for talent – they may not have had a position, but they do have systems which recognise talent, and they have captured it. For example, until 1998, who had ever heard of the UK Secret Service MI5 recruiting? Why did they have to do this – because the European Union in effect forced them to do it through legislation, plus not all situations required a while male Oxbridge graduate: in fact in certain situations, it was a hindrance to your future prospects of breathing. The UK Secret Service had to diversify their recruiting channels, and advertising when you are perceived as a wholly white male Oxbridge bastion can help to change potential recruit’s perceptions – they could widen the net, and get better quality candidates for new situations

What still shocks me today, is that much as though web 2.0 proponents suggest it brings freedom and a far lower cost process of recruiting to the employer, most employers still don’t use their own two greatest tools of cheapest cost recruiting and retention: their own brand, and their own workforce. The issue any recruiter has to deal with is not just skill competency of any candidate, but also social fit within an employer. Most honest recruiters will accept that even the best at this only get around 50% of placement right on the social fit measure: it is hence why the head hunters always put more than one candidate forward; while the bottom end and high street will put more than 10 forward because there’s bound to be one that fits in there somewhere! If you were employer, and were looking to expand your team of nuclear fission research scientists, where would you go to find more of them? Most employers send out an advert or pay a recruiter, where as less than 1 in 10 employers speaks to and incentives their existing people – who know the social fit of the company better than any external resource could ever – and who probably just flick through their own diary to earn a fee of less than 10% a half competent recruiter would charge. Who needs Facebook or LinkedIn when you have a workforce?

One thing web 2.0 can do is reduce the time to recruit, and the efficiency of that process. Aaron Strout, Vice President of New Media at Mzinga.com correctly points out that web 2.0 recruiting means that an employer can get a far, far better rounded view of any employee. Web 2.0 cuts out the need to contact them, bring them in and interview, and then ask for references: they have already given you the references thanks to their open social networks profiles. In fact, one of the things I have suggested to many candidates when they decide that they want to find a new job, is to firstly clean up their social networking profile, and then secondly increase that profile by changing a few key words and taking some simple actions. Hence, any candidates you do invite in for interview via a web 2.0 process search are hence more likely to have social fit, and be able to be offered a job – but I still think, that process still won’t be perfect, just better.

One thing Strout has asked his candidates to undertake for the companies new Citizen Marketer post is not to send him a CV or Resume, but to blog and socially network with him and others to get an interview. Is this a web 2.0 tactic or strategy? In this case it is not, it is a test posing as a web 2.0 cutting edge development. Simply, if you want to hire an X, you need to test during interview and assessment for the core competencies that an X would need. A Citizen Marketer apparently needs to be able to use web 2.0 tools such as social networking and blogging to satisfy Mzinga’s client’s requirements – this application process merely tests for those skills. A business acquaintance who runs a private dining catering company asks all new potential employee’s to peel a potato (its not a test about peeling potato’s, it is a test about cleanliness); while in BT and many other telecoms companies, field workers are asked to pick out certain copper cable colours from a piece of cable (it is a test of eye sight and colour blindness). They, like the blogging test set by Strout, are all just tests to test core competencies of the potential employees against a defined role.

Web 2.0 as a technology does offer more – its offers both candidates and employers the opportunity to access a wider network of opportunity: and that’s good for all, as long as you make sure your online reputation is in order first, and continually updated. Is it the answer to every HR teams recruiting question – no, probably not. For employers, using a better employment process and focusing on improvement of a talent management system will still bring the best results, which web 2.0 can bring new tools to – and that’s all folks!

Good Luck!

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One Response to “Beyond the Resume and CV: is recruiting via web 2.0 that different?”

  1. Ray Says:

    Linkedin was added to the About.com Top 10 Employment site list with 2 other sites but linkedin is still the only social netwoking site on the list. 3 newest job sites on top list are:

    http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated job listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches you to the perfect job)

    Good luck to all those searching for jobs.

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