The Future of Recruiting is Social, and it’s Happening Now

image The past few years have seen the social web truly take off.  Activity streams are replacing email and conversations are happening all the time, all across the internet.  People are now more connected, more informed, more knowledgeable and more adaptable than ever before.  What this means for the online recruiting world is that for every recruiter who has a job posting with a list of pre-qualifications; there are hundreds or thousands of people who would be a perfect fit, whether their resume says so or not.

Until the birth of Linkedin in 2003, the online recruiting and job board industry was dominated by a few key players; namely, Monster and Career Builder.  Recruiters posted jobs, candidates applied for jobs, and sometimes a match was made.  That’s it, there was no interaction, no getting to know each other, just a job posting and a resume.

Linkedin recognized that this model was not going to work much longer, so they introduced premium services that let recruiters search for, contact and learn more about candidates.  Since then, the smartest organizations have slowly realized that a generic job posting will, at best, get them a generic employee.  Today, if a company is only recruiting through the major job boards, they’re probably a company you don’t want to work for.

Today, the online recruiting world is officially going social, whether recruiters are ready or not.  My company, Brazen Careerist, is providing recruiters the tools to see past a traditional resume to create real relationships with tomorrow’s leaders through conversations, and to get a glimpse at our members thoughts and ideas that can translate to future action.  Last week we launched Social Resumes to provide tomorrow’s leaders with the tools to showcase the ideas and abilities they display every day when they participate in conversations online.  The goal is to make sure our members never have to settle for a job that makes them want to jump off a bridge every day.

We’ve built our product offering and our company based on two ideas.  The first idea is that people now have the power.

Despite the recession, we no longer live in a world where people feel lucky to have a job.  People are all free agents, they change jobs frequently, they drop out of the workforce to start companies and they take time off to watch their kids grow up.  Demanding relevant experience and telling people they should be excited to work for your company in a generic company description is a recipe for disaster.

image When people have the power, recruiters have to meet them on their turf and engage them in conversation.  I can’t tell you how angry I get when I see job descriptions that brag about their “great team environment” and list “superior execution and operational capabilities” as a key qualification.

When people have the power, you do not have permission to tell them that you are looking for specific experience or provide a canned description of your corporate culture.  First you have to introduce yourself, join a conversation, and provide value.  Then you have permission to tell someone why your job is a perfect fit, the same way you would tell a friend.

The second idea is that people make the best matches.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 90% of jobs are filled through employee referrals.  The number sounds high, but when you really think about it, this makes sense.  People make the best matches. Employees want to work with friends, and they’ll happily take a $5,000 referral bonus to do someone a favor – if they really believe the job is a good fit.

No search engine or algorithm can compete with a human connection when it comes to matching.  There are just too many variables in place.  Monster recently launched a pretty impressive Semantic search engine to try to make better matches.  The technology is amazing, light years ahead of its competitors.  But the truth is that the future of online recruiting is not simply in search engines.  It’s in human connections and conversations.