How social media has changed the recruitment industry

The most valuable asset within a recruitment company is their database. Or at least it used to be. When I started working in recruitment, having an accurate and large database was critical. Candidates would often choose a recruiter based on their size, deducing that the big corporate recruiters would have all the relationships with the companies they were interested in. On the other side of the coin, clients would gravitate to well established recruiters because they knew they had the details of all the relevant candidates. It was a tried and tested method, information was king and the recruiters were the gate keepers.

Today we live in a different world – a social media world. Now everyone has access to the information that recruiters used to guard so carefully. A candidate can simply go on LinkedIn and find profiles of the businesses they want to work for and details of the decision makers within those businesses. Clients can now easily search for candidates that would be relevant for jobs within their business. So what does this mean for recruiters? Well it means that recruiters can no longer rely on candidates and clients coming to them; it means that if they want to survive, recruiters need to upgrade the value they offer. This is something we have spent a lot of time discussing at Digital Minds. Questions such as: Why should a candidate or client come to us? What are their reasons? This made us evaluate what services we should actually be offering and how we can make ourselves valuable and relevant. So below are a few things we decided to put into practice when we set up Digital Minds.

1. It’s still about information. Preparation for interviews is essential if you want to secure a new digital job. You will be up against other candidates and you need to differentiate yourself. Therefore at Digital Minds we ensure we provide candidates with some really useful supporting information. We can tell candidates a lot about the people who will interview them; what is their interview style; what type of questions to expect; what the personality of the person running the interview is like. Only a couple of days ago I told a candidate that the person they were due to meet was just back off paternity leave and that his wife had given birth to twins and that they have another child who is 3 years old. The candidate also had a child aged 3 and his wife was heavily pregnant with their second baby. That simple piece of information formed a perfect ‘ice breaker’ and instantly provided common ground and common empathy. The list goes on – but you get the idea.

2. Role play. Interviewing is not a natural situation to be in and we often find the most talented candidate does not get the job because they did not articulate themselves well enough during the interview. This is very common at all levels of seniority. Therefore we will often role play interviews with candidates, it can seem an unnatural thing to do but it is actually really helpful. It allows the candidate to get familiar with the interview process and to practice their answers. It allows the recruiter to highlight potential weaknesses and to address them. This process is designed for one purpose; to help candidates do the very best they can at interview and to ensure if they do miss out it is because another candidate was better suited to the role, not because they fluffed their answers. You only get one chance.

3. Added value. We spend most of our time speaking with candidates who are not looking for a new job. We decided when we set up Digital Minds that we would not work to targets and we would not work on commission. We basically set up an environment that allows our consultants to take a long term approach and to focus on helping candidates regardless of if there is going to be a fee or not. Therefore we are more than happy to help and support candidates who are not looking so that one day in the future, when they are, they will come to us. A lot of recruiters do not want to know candidates unless they are looking for a new job and unless they can place them in a job here and now, ensuring they hit their targets and earn commission on the placement. So we give candidates long term advice. An example would be that lots of our candidates come to us when they are about to have a review. They want to know what type of questions they will be asked; they want to know what salary increase they should be receiving etc. We can benchmark their salary against their counterparts in other companies; we can tell them what is the average salary increase for that year and that sector.

4. Consultancy. Moving jobs is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make and having a good recruiter by your side can be very helpful. If you can find a recruiter that you trust and who provides transparent advice throughout the recruitment process, you will be in a better position. A recruiter can be a good sounding board. Also they manage the process for you and this means they can take the hassle out of doing it yourself. A good example is negotiating salary. I always think it is better for the recruiter to negotiate on behalf of a candidate as it can be a difficult process and it can get personal if you are doing it yourself. A recruiter is a buffer between the candidate and client and is well placed to take the emotion out of the negotiation process and, if they are good at their job, secure the right salary without jeopardising the candidate’s relationship with the company before they even start the job!

There are many other things I could mention but hopefully this at least shows there is a place for recruiters in this new social media world. The good thing is that recruiters who don’t go the extra mile, recruiters who do not constantly evaluate and improve their service, will struggle. Merely having candidates on a database is not good enough anymore. At Digital Minds we have embraced social media and it is at the heart of what we do and how we do it. If you would like to discuss this blog or just have a chat about the digital industry please get in touch. If you are looking for a new job in PPC, SEO, SEM, Social, Display, Digital Planning & Buying, Mobile, Affiliates, Web Development front end and back end we can certainly help. My LinkedIn profile gives a good overview of Digital Minds and me personally. It also has recommendations on the page which cover how I operate and work with people. http://www.linkedin.com/in/simonhalkyard

Simon Halkyard

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