HR & Personnel Practitioners

Recruitment and the Social Media- Maintaining our humanity?

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    • #35549

      Social media has profoundly changed the way many organizations do business, how they communicate and how they build their brand image.  Few would disagree that the recruitment practice and process has been influenced significantly by social media.  From how a recruitment consultant advertises positions, to how they source and attract candidates to what they gauge about a candidate before the interview and how they regret has changed significantly.  There is incredible hype about the value of social media and how best to leverage off it.  In the recruitment space, one of the areas, to my mind that could be better researched is the applicants experience of the recruitment process the minute they apply for a position.

      The internet and social media has created a greater awareness amongst job seekers of available positions in the job market.  This has resulted very often in recruitment consultants being “flooded” with applications for positions.  This is also probably worsened by the current economic climate.The important question to ask is, how do recruitment agencies and consultants deal with this challenge?

      My own observations are as follows regarding some trends in companies and recruitment agencies (my own observations and not scientific data):

      1.  Increase the minimum requirements for a position

      2.  Include the standard sentence at the bottom of the advertised position stating that if you have not heard from us in so many weeks you may consider your application unsuccessful.

      3.  The standard system generated regret letter.

      All 3 of these methodologies I find problematic.  Increasing the minimum requirements for the job may result in excluding a potentially good candidate who under normal circumstances would meet the minimum requirements. 

      The standard sentence at the bottom of the advertisement can have a significant negative impact on the psyche of the applicant.  Imagine the candidate applies for the position, takes the time and effort to send in their CV and waits expectantly for the interview call which never comes.  How does this impact their self confidence, their sense of self worth?

      The standard system generated letter for me is the most problematic.  For me it is a bit like anonymous vague feedback.  I do not know why I was unsuccessful and have no development feedback so as to improve in the future.

      Have those organizations which employ these strategies researched the impact of this on the brand image of their company?

      The social media are likely to become a more and more important tool for the recruitment consultant.  In the use of this tool I think that  more work needs to be done on exploring how recruitment consultants and agencies are experienced by the applicant and to develop appropriate strategies that will meet needs of clients but also meet the needs of the applicants.  After all, recruitment is part of human resources and as such recruitment consultants should not only be the gate keepers of the recruitment practice and process, but also demonstrate the fundamentals of good relationships with people, high EQ and a caring for people.

      I would be keen to hear what others think about this and how recruitment consultants are able to manage large volumes of applicants for positions.  I end off with a Buddhist saying which resonates with me, Tashi deley, which means I honour the greatness in you.

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    • #35551
      Ian Webster

      I agree wholeheartedly with your concern about the first item. That’s laziness. I don’t want to go through too many CVs so let’s require a driver’s licence and ownership of a functioning vehicle. Apart from what it does to the labour pool, it excludes potential greats.

      The second is just too bad. The reality is that we do not have the time or the capacity to reply to each candidate. I’m speaking from my experience of an in-house HR department, not recruitment agencies. There may be different factors at work there. Candidates have to recognise the realities of a massive unemployment pool, and learn to make the most of it.

      Your third has to have been tongue in cheek? When I am recruiting I am not stroking egos nor am I involved in development feedback to improve the lives of hundreds of applicants. That’s a great community development initiative or CSI, but not part of recruitment. Let businesses get more involved in their communities through helping job seekers with training, preparation of CVs, planning for the future, etc. But don’t expect it to happen during recruitment.

      Labour legislation also makes detailed rejection tricky. The applicant is an employee for the purposes of the LRA and giving them ammunition for a perceived unfair labour practice or discrimination claim doesn’t make sense. The less said the better. Again, start a CSI programme.

      Having said that, shortlisted candidates who have been brought in for interviews or assessment must be treated with every respect. They should be contacted and regretted personally. Even then, detailed information is not necessary but respect and gratitude for their time and effort, is. They should be saying, “I didn’t get the job but, wow, that must be a great place to work. I’m going to try again.”

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    • #35550

      Kevin: I agree with your comments. Recruitment and selection (if we include recruitment consultants) is a three – way process between employer, recruitment agent and applicant.

      I agree that the three points you mention really count against a recruiter.

       There are other areas of thought:


      Applicants should be educated in the fact that recruiters do not find jobs for applicants. Recruitment consultants (generally) first receive a vacancy from an employer, and then they seek an applicant to fill the position.

      Applicants should be educated in the difference between a résumé and a CV.

      Recruiters should specify the absolute minimum requirements for the position and add that applicants who do not possess these will not be considered.

      Recruiters should request résumés and not CV’s from applicants. This should be clearly stated.    


      I would surmise that the points above might reduce the number of applications (and amount of paperwork) that recruiters receive. 



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