The 2012 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey reports that 92% of US companies have used social media to identify talent and potential employees. The survey also indicates that 43% of companies using social recruiting have seen an increase in candidate quality – with 73% successfully hiring.
Increasingly this means that personal brands and employer brands are colliding online – well before an interview or conversation takes place. This will impact both the employer and the individual job seeker in positive and challenging ways – with all having to come to grips with the potential and impact of digital marketing as the global economy recovers and the war for talent resumes.
Social Networks Are the Place Where Personal and Employer Brands Meet
In a crowded market it can be a struggle to stand out. On the one hand job seekers compete for the attention of leading businesses and promising startups; and on the other, employers strive to identify and source those with the talent, skills and cultural alignment to succeed within their business.
Increasingly, social networks are the space where personal brand and employer brands meet – bridging skills and geographies through business opportunity.
- LinkedIn allows individuals to create profiles and companies to create pages, join groups, advertise events, jobs and corporate information. It has over 150 million individual profiles and more than 2.6 million company pages
- Xing is the European focused equivalent of LinkedIn with over 7 million profiles
- BranchOut uses the Facebook Open Graph to bring a professional and skill based layer to the most social of social networks
- Ushi is a Chinese invitation-only business social network and focuses its membership on executive and senior professionals
- Tianji has 12 million members and connects China’s white collar professionals and entrepreneurs
- Niche professional networks abound, offering very focused connection based networks by industry, role or even age and experience
Finding the signal in the noise on any of these networks can be a challenge for employers and individuals alike.
Individuals Turn to the 4 BEs and Employers Respond
Even when there is a war on talent – when the demand for the best and brightest workers outstrips the supply, the sheer volume of names, profiles, links and data can prove disconcerting. And for those individuals seeking new career challenges and opportunities, it’s no longer good enough to prepare and send a CV in response to an advertisement – job seekers need to use the 4 BEs of Social Discovery:
- Be found: Without some form of digital profile, individuals will struggle to compete with the more digital-savvy. A LinkedIn profile is a minimal starting point but can be easily augmented through simple online publishing tools like about.me
- Be known: Individuals are increasingly using digital publishing platforms to showcase their skills, experience and networks. Employers are scouring this information to verify career facts and experience of candidates
- Be trusted: It’s not just what you know – it's who you are connected to. Reputation is an essential component for both the job seeker and the employer. This goes beyond the simplistic recommendations on LinkedIn – employers are seeking overlaps in networks to create verifiable profiles of candidates
- Be successful: Reputation is also about delivery. What are the personal case studies that individuals can publish or link to? What are the outcomes and learnings that can be identified and how does this match against other profile and career data. Employers are seeking a broader understanding of candidates – information that goes beyond the facts and figures and provides a sense of “character” and “personality” (for which social media is imminently suited)
Proactive job seekers are seeking out, following and engaging prospective employers across social networks – but the reverse is also true. Those businesses who require highly specialized skills and expertise are identifying and tracking candidates across their careers. Talent sourcers are employing ever more sophisticated techniques and technologies to accelerate their discovery process.
Vendors have already begun bringing technology to bear against this challenge. Yvette Cameron suggests that Oracle’s new Social Relationship Management suite will bridge personal social and enterprise data to great effect in the coming 12-18 months; and that we should expect similar announcements to come from Salesforce during the annual Dreamforce event.
Social Technologies Disrupting the Workplace Silo
Today’s workers expect that social and mobile technologies will not only be available within the enterprise – but that they will be used to in ways that will empower them and improve productivity. Business leaders have been challenged to justify investment and to trace the value proposition involved. Social technologies and the business rigor that they provide may well provide not only the disruption required to create value within the enterprise – they may well create the future of work – and that’s where personal and employer brands may find their perfect match.