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Social media: changing the face of modern recruitment

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Social media: changing the face of modern recruitment

There’s no doubt about it, social media has revolutionised recruitment. Whether it is candidates uploading CVs, connecting through professional networks or applying for jobs online, or employers screening potential candidates through their Facebook pages, recruitment has entered a whole new dimension thanks to social media.

Facebook remains one of the most popular social media platforms in South Africa.  Just last month Facebook announced it would be setting up shop in the country with a dedicated local office. South Africa currently boasts around 11 million Facebook users, with 89% of them accessing the platform through a mobile phone. But the market’s potential is far greater than that; Africa as a continent has more mobile users than the US and Europe combined.


LinkedIn has grown from strength to strength, particularly as a recruitment tool. It has proved to be especially useful in identifying candidates who are not actively looking for employment. Many companies have seen the value of this offering. Standard Bank, for example, is the continent’s largest user of LinkedIn recruiter licenses, allowing it to view the full profile of candidates outside of its network and contact them directly.


More than three million South Africans have a professional profile on LinkedIn. In a country with a skills shortage, this may just be the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


In light of these digital developments, many would argue that the recruitment industry is becoming redundant. After all, advancements in social media have enhanced the ability for both candidates and clients to connect with each other. I would argue that now, more than ever, the contrary is true.


For all the benefits social media brings in streamlining the job hunting and hiring process, it also presents a number of challenges. One is the sheer abundance of data social media delivers to employers who now have to find the time to sift through potential candidates from all the various platforms, identify those that might be suitable and then manage all communications with the preferred candidates. In addition, there is the risk that candidates could be viewed as online commodities.


This is where an accomplished recruiter demonstrates their true value. Not only are they experienced in identifying potential candidates from written profiles and CVs, but they also have the ability to adequately match candidates’ competencies and personalities to the position available and company culture.


Social media also presents challenges for candidates. For one, getting noticed in the sea of potential employees online can be difficult. A well-compiled, complete CV or profile is key to being spotted by potential employers or recruiters online. Candidates can stand out more by ensuring a meaningful online presence, through activities like tweeting relevant industry news or growing their professional network through connecting with industry stakeholders.


Another challenge for candidates is the high visibility social media affords their personal lives. It’s important for job seekers to be aware of what they put out into the great unknown that is the internet. Once something has been said, it cannot be unsaid. A recent survey in the US found that 91% of companies screened potential employees using social media platforms, pointing to the importance of maintaining a positive online image at all times.


While it is clear social media is entrenching itself as a facilitator of modern recruitment, there’s still a vital role for recruitment professionals to play in the process. Candidates and employers would be wise to partner with those recruiters who understand both the risks and rewards of using social media platforms, and how to maximise these channels for optimal benefit.

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