Where Recruitment Has Gone Wrong

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October 25th, 2012

The recruitment process has become "inhumane" and companies should use social media in order to personalise it again, a global recruitment expert has warned.

Jeremy Langhans, who has recruited for companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo and Starbucks, said businesses risk alienating talented job seekers and wasting money on expensive recruitment processes if they do not embrace social media.

Mr Langhans said adding social media and mobile apps to the recruitment process would make companies treat job seekers "more humanely".

"We used to still treat people with respect and follow up, even if the answer was 'no'," he said.

"Then we began hiding behind emails, behind websites.

"We've lost the human element of this deal - if they don't hear anything back apart from an automated email system that says 'Thanks but no thanks' that's not a good way to treat people," he said.

Balance out the negative

Mr Langhans told news.com.au companies should treat candidates like customers on Twitter and Facebook by talking to them, rather than just posting job listings and waiting for responses.

"The issue was [Starbucks was] saying 'no' to job applicants and then assuming they'll go and buy a coffee from us," he said.

"We had to balance this negative process with something more positive as our candidates were also our customers - this is where Facebook and Twitter came in."

He said the social and mobile recruiting is key in a market where companies are competing for highly talented and experienced candidates.

"They're at [their current job] and they don't want to be doing their job seeking from their work computer but they always have their mobile," he said.

Mr Langhans added that companies can save thousands of dollars in job ad spending and recruitment agency fees by using social media.

"There is a big difference between paying an agency versus tweeting someone and they tweet back at you," he said.

Social media 'more practical than a resume'

Catherine O'Brien, HR manager at online deals and group buying company CatchOfTheDay, said the company uses social media to recruit a large percentage of its staff.

"We do use Seek but we also don't necessarily need a resume, we look at channels like LinkedIn to search for the appropriate candidate," Ms O'Brien said, who handles hiring for websites like CatchOfTheDay, Scoopon and GroceryRun.

"It's a lot more practical and real time than a resume."

Ms O'Brien said the company targets staff in Generation Y and younger using the company's Facebook and Twitter pages.

"We find our customers are generally the type of person we would like to attract into the business because they're passionate about the product and they understand online business," she said.

Ms O'Brien said social media recruitment works well when trying to fill roles in customer service, sales and IT.

Grab good people before a job is on offer

But another Australian employer, Origin Energy, has found social media recruitment is also successful for recruiting candidates in unexpected fields.

"When we have our targeted job ads [on LinkedIn] the industries we get the best response from are manufacturing and transportation workers," said David Als, Origin's candidate engagement project manager.

In June of this year Origin started working with LinkedIn to drive more traffic to the company's careers page and strengthen Origin's brand on the social networking site.

Origin has also placed advertising on its rivals' LinkedIn pages.

Over the last three months, visits to the company's careers page have gone up 918 per cent, and within a year visits to the Job Search page from LinkedIn increased by 1550 per cent.

Origin is also developing groups of people with niche skill sets and getting them to talk to each other through LinkedIn before roles are even available.

"We create talent communities of these individuals - we talk to them, share info and build a degree of brand loyalty," said Mr Als, who will also speak at the December conference.

"When we do have a role available we can cherry pick from this talent pool.

"And we're first in mind if they're looking to move [jobs].