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Recruiting in the social media echo chamber,

23 March 2021

By Stuart Duffey

Recruiting in the social media echo chamber,

Recruiting in the social media echo chamber

Social media a utopian invention where everyone has a voice and equal footing or a place akin to Obi Wan Kenobi’s description of Mos Eisley space port?

That’s for you to make your own opinion on. However social media has become a bit of a de-facto route to market for talent since the mid 2000’s. Platforms such as LinkedIn (where no doubt a lot of you will be reading this) is an effective way to say you or your business is hiring for talent and specific roles. The advantages of this, is its cheap (free), it raise’s brand awareness and it’s a great success story. Growing your headcount is a coup for all business it shows you are a growing entity in your field and although there maybe a few green-eyed monsters most of the people who you are linked in with will be quick to applaud and like that you, your team and your business are doing well. Except that is a problem, I’ll come to the problems later on.

Social media and LinkedIn have been great tools for job seekers too – how many posts have you commented or shared regarding the ex-service woman looking for a job or the young graduate with all the academic skills but no work experience! The color circles about currently looking or hiring have also been added to further support hiring managers and job seekers alike everyone within your network as the opportunity to see and support. Except that is a problem to.

The problem’s alluded to above are caused by your social media echo chamber, and it is a pretty rubbish one as well, most people are not on their social media 24/7 or even log into LinkedIn unless they are building a brand and message or looking for a job at that specific time. The only people learning about your new vacancy or that you are looking for work already know you. Yes, you might reach a few more people from an ex-colleague or friend sharing your post but it isn’t going to give you the coverage you maybe think you are getting.

The example of Trump as president is a perfect way to highlight this, in the UK most people couldn’t believe Trump became President of the USA – all the things we read or watched on the news, all the opinions we saw on social media and it was real shock when he was voted in. That’s because we were in an insulated echo chamber away from the Trump supporters, if you stepped outside of that chamber it was quite apparent the large-scale support, he had from people with different ideas or connections to ours. Your echo chamber is only ever going to tell you what you know or believe in already so don’t be shocked when results you are not expecting occur such as not finding the right person to fill you position instantly.

Job boards and job advertising have had this problem over the last few years – Indeed (the job board) again another cheap route to market as you can post a job free. It is seen as a game changer for employers but did you know that over 4000 jobs are posted daily on Indeed from a candidate experience point of view think about the trawling daily to find the right match for you to apply it becomes a full time job, which although soul destroying if you are out of work it is not even something worth wasting your time on if you are in work and only passively interested in a new career challenge. A survey conducted by Reed in 2019 highlighted that only 39% of new job hires in vacancies above £30k came from advertised jobs on job boards. It begs the question on true return of investment when subscribing to job boards or paying one off fee to advertise.

The Skills and Employability sector are going to need to attract people from out of sector as we are currently in skill shortage market. I work with a lot of providers to support their strategic talent planning with Internal recruitment teams and HRD’s a big consensus over the last 6-9 months has been about growing your own sales and delivery staff particularly in sectors such as construction, logistics, IT/Digital and Health. It should be a priority to invest in an attraction policy for most providers not to showcase a career in FE to professionals with the sector competency, remember your competing against their actual trade and in the sectors mentioned above it is a hugely competitive market with salaries and opportunities growing (hence why they need to invest in training and use training providers to fill their own skills gap).

Likewise, in employability, we are going to need circa 15,000 to 30,000 front line staff to fulfill the coming contracts across the UK we are going to have to highlight this sector as a career destination but as well enticing people to come and work in the sector we are going to have to get them the skill to succeed and do it quickly.

Coming back to the echo chamber I’m not saying don’t advertise positions on your social feed or use job adverts (particularly if they are providing ROI) but don’t have that as your only route to market there are apparently many ways to skin a cat (having never had any inclination to do so or the knowledge how to, I have to say apparently). Investing in talent attraction will pay dividends in attracting the right individuals or collecting the right intel and data on how to approach the market in the future. Breaking out of the echo chamber is crucial for business and individuals.

Other routes include;-

·       Specialist recruitment partners

·       Building internal recruitment teams

·       Attraction events via webinars

·       Artificial intelligence software for recruitment (particularly for low skilled volume positions)

·       Recruitment outsourcing

·       Sector based academies.

For more advice and consultation on Talent attraction, recruitment and training please contact me on stuart@coynerecruitment.co.uk

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