The death-knell appears to have sounded for the résumé (the old-fashioned CV). If you are busy beautifully lining up all your years at school, college, work experience and the time you interned for your dad’s firm, in the hope that it’ll get you a job in this uncertain economy you might want to take a peek at what’s going on in the world of job recruiting courtesy of social media.
CVs, no matter how beautifully they may have been printed out on heavy cream paper, were no more than a handy means for a firm to weed out the undesirables and end up with a handful of hopefuls who could come to the interview. It was only at that stage that the question of whether you got the job or not came down to what HR experts readily acknowledge are the three key qualities to a successful job hunt: Strengths, Motivation and Fit.
The perfect candidate always had some strengths to offer to a future employer, was highly motivated and fitted just right in the workplace environment he wanted to join. But perfection, HR experts always know is a rare quality. Usually, if a candidate had nothing to offer in terms of strengths but his motivation was great and his fit perfect he would most probably get the job (and the firm would train him up). If motivation or fit however were wrong then he would simply join the list of those who made it to the interview stage but where, sadly, not selected. This has not changed. Companies still need to find those who best fit in their work culture and are motivated to train up and work hard, so why is the CV, the calling card of the job candidate, dying?
Social media has a lot to do with that.
How Has Social Media Changed Job Recruiting
Before social networks made it possible for each of us to live most of our lives online the ability of a company to get it right and hire the perfect candidate for its needs were 50%-50%, even with several bouts of interviews and a panel of company bods looking at the hopeful and asking all sorts of ‘good-cop, bad-cop’ type questions.
Today however recruiters simply need to pick a candidate’s name and go online. You may be able to turn up in a smart suit with your hair neatly brushed but if your Facebook profile is wall-to-wall full of wild party pics and your Twitter feed presents four-letter words which are not poem, poet or work, then it’s unlikely that will even get to the interview stage.
From companies vetting potential candidates through social media to companies actively using social media to recruit those who they think are the perfect fit we are seeing, in the work arena, the ability of social media to bring in transparency and simplify an unnecessarily complicated process.
Of course the moment we discuss recruiting through social media the obvious questions arise:
But is that not an intrusion of privacy? Well, not quite. A company which hires you has the right to be able to assess your personality (remember fit is important). Social networks have privacy controls and it can be easily argued that if you have not bothered to hide those half-naked inebriated shots of you, you are unlikely to be too bothered about fitting in with any given work culture, which makes it unlikely that you would then be invited to join one.
How accurate can recruiting through social media be? Surprisingly, the answer is pretty accurate. Our use of social networks allows us to project much of ourselves on the web and because our interaction is unscripted, usually spontaneous and fragmented, it allows a lot more of our true shelves to leak out than we would even acknowledge. Studies have shown that Facebook profiles accurately predict if we have a poor body image or a booze problem, for instance. An expert recruiter knows how to put it all together in order to make sense and, these days, there are also quite a lot of data-mining programs out there which can do the job quite nicely.
Does this mean we are under constant surveillance? No. Although, obviously, as long as we interact on social networks a lot of ourselves gets ‘put out there’ and is subject to scrutiny.
Good News For Companies and Job Hunters Alike
The point is not that suddenly those of us looking for a job have nowhere to hide. Social media applies its transparency both ways. If you are looking for work you can employ social media and see what is being said about those you are about to pledge your professional allegiance to. You can see how they treat customers, what is being said about their products.
While it’s true that companies no longer need to look at a CV and try to guess where a candidate may have stretched the truth and where they could, perhaps be lying, job candidates also no longer have to worry that they were taken in by a company’s sleek recruitment brochure and then found themselves working for a company like the AltruCell Corporation:
This saves time both ways. It saves money for companies which do not have to have lengthy and costly hiring processes and it saves money for potential candidates who find themselves in the wrong job and end up having to leave and then explain the short tenure on their CV to the next potential employer.
More than that it holds the promise of helping to create a better work environments by matching job candidates with the companies they are best suited for. This utopian view of recruiting and the future of work has not yet materialised, but the first steps have been taken and we are beginning to see a slow transformation take place.
It is more than likely that the recruitment process of the future will take place in a social network with a video call or a hangout in the first instance, followed by a firm job offer, and all because we can’t help but share +1s and ‘Likes’ and post pictures of our Christmas party for our friends to see.