The State of Social Recruiting, Part 1: Candidate Expectations

There’s no question that social recruiting is one of the bigger shifts in recruiting these last few years. As industry insiders debate the death of the resume, employers aim to expand their strategy, and the unemployed and new graduates are in hot pursuit of getting hired. At the same time, solutions and best practices for social recruiting continue to take shape.

In my role at Talent Function Group, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a number of products during the past several months. In doing so, one thing is clear: everyone is working to develop what we’ll call “candidate collaboration tools.”

These candidate collaboration components can be as simple as creating a user account job seekers can use to submit a resume and profile, to dynamic interfaces with LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms, each designed to engage candidates’ and employees’ networks and expand recruiting relationships within organizations.

Somewhere in the middle is the ability to empower candidates to search for and apply for jobs through these social platforms. Advanced candidate collaboration portals are replicating the capabilities of Facebook and other social platforms on a company-by-company basis, essentially creating their own candidate social networks. Candidates can see the jobs they applied to, review messages and take next steps such as providing references and completing on-demand interviews and assessments.

It’s easy to understand the benefits and motivation behind these technologies — they include elements of the latest and greatest communication trends. But what aspects make the most sense for meeting candidate expectations?  Moreover, at what point does the solution simply become a burden?

Candidates are starving for more information in the recruiting experience. The 2012 Candidate Experience Awards uncovered that job seekers are using LinkedIn (65.3 percent) and Facebook (38.5 percent) most in their job search. They’re also generally not aware of much of the content that companies are curating and offering at the initial-attraction stage in the recruitment process.

Based on the most recent data, candidates continue to ask for more information on where they are in the process. While acknowledgements are quickly becoming the norm, providing specific feedback is not. Candidates also want to better understand next steps and whether they’re still being considered in the process. They also want to know how they can better present themselves within the recruiting model. They’re seeking a simple and easy-to-navigate application process.

Most importantly, they want to know that they are not being reduced to a number of keywords or prioritized and valued by how many times they repeat those keywords. They want to know they are valued as human beings.

They’re not clamoring for required activities that don’t help them get noticed by the company to be thrust upon them. They also don’t want a confusing application process or convoluted steps with multiple sign-on processes, inconsistent information and views, and registration page after registration page.

I’m married to an unemployed job seeker. I can say with confidence that the last thing on earth he wants is to have to visit another portal every day to check the status of his application, hoping new information is available.

Social media is a company’s opportunity to present its humanity to its audience — whether it be job seekers or customers or both. It’s an opportunity to interact and engage meaningfully while providing access to some answers in addition to the valuable ways in which most companies leverage the platform — as another venue for delivering employment messages.

In the end, to maximize impact without frustrating talent, employers need to evaluate the ways in which their candidates seek to interact, and the ways in which their internal resources can benefit before they jump on the bandwagon for the next cool social technology.

What do you think? Check back shortly for more in Part 2.