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How Sociable is Social Media?

How Sociable is Social Media? Asks Jessica Smit - Primat Recruitment

Has social media within recruitment reached its peak? I think it is safe to say that it is now the primary means of communication for the new generation of recruiters and is firmly established in our sector.

Companies no longer need to put an advertisement in the local paper and wait patiently for a high standard and quality of candidates to start applying. The amount of traffic social networking websites generate has given us the tools to search for candidates ourselves.

From career networking websites such as LinkedIn and Bluesteps, to social applications such as Facebook and Twitter, more and more professionals are using these methods to recruit and find new jobs. Working within recruitment, I am using the internet on a daily basis to find CVs, map out competition and carry out name generation activities. I have a blackberry to use out of hours and speak with potential candidates who cant talk while they are at home and I am constantly scanning LinkedIn for new candidates to target. Therefore if I wanted to, I could carry out research and recruit 24/7. If I have a new role to release to the market, I can post it on job boards, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, all from my phone or laptop with one click. In as little as 30 seconds, I can let thousands of professionals know that I have a recruitment need which may be of interest.

And why not? Its quick, easy and massively reducing my recruiting costs.

Not just for advertising either. I can spy on my competition, draw attention to my company and its requirements and establish my name to build a reputation for myself within the market. I can also conduct market research and find out what is going on in the sector I recruit for.

As well as finding candidates which are suitable for the vacancies I am currently working on, I can target and create relationships with all sorts of professionals who are on social networking websites. I can establish and maintain relationships with people, who may one day, turn into a placement, a source or even a new client.  

But my question is, just how social is social media?
Constantly sitting behind my laptop and having my blackberry glued to my hand, doesnt sound very sociable to me. Let me tell why its important that we dont get sucked too far into these industry changing developments in technology.

If I didnt have the time or technology to have a social online profile does this make me a less attractive candidate? It shouldnt, especially if social media and technology has nothing to do with my profession. However, as I am not a visible candidate, I may not be considered by a head hunter. Further, how accurate is someones online profile? Having a higher response rate when advertising a position on a social networking website; is this always a good thing? Or do I have to filter through my responses and personally speak to everyone who is interested as if I have a relationship with them. If I have a large number of contacts with various backgrounds, how can I be sure that I am targeting the right contacts and not just blocking their news feeds? Emails are often taken the wrong way when trying to have an important discussion, where it can be helped, why not just pick up the phone? These are just some reasons why we shouldnt rely on social networking too much.

If I was looking for career advice, I would like to think that I could call someone or even meet with someone I knew for a face to face discussion. I dont want to send out emails to everyone I know and have a discussion about something which is extremely important to me over an email! I want to speak with a person, not a computer! Working in recruitment is a people position, and by that I mean we are dealing every day with, guiding and providing a service to people. It is important that we build relationships with candidates and clients, and speaking with someone face to face provides us with the opportunity to create more powerful and significant business relationships. We can also read facial expressions and body language, which can prompt us to bond with and understand each other. As much as I appreciate the technology I have, I will never take it for granted or rely on it and I will always prefer having a conversation with someone face to face where it can be helped.

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