Friday, 3 August 2012
The idea of a perfect candidate is one we hear all too often. Yet in this candidate-rich market, hiring managers are still constantly pining for that perfect hire – the one that’s hidden amongst the masses with a skill set perfectly suited to join your corporate brand. More commonly than not, you hear these candidates referred to as a passive job seeker.
But who are they? What is the difference between active and passive candidates? What impact do they have on your recruitment strategy? And why are passive candidates so highly sought after?
Anyone who has done recruiting will understand the difference between active and passive candidates. The most common definition for a ‘passive candidate’ is employed, but not looking for another opportunity. An ‘active candidate’, however, is a candidate that is currently seeking a new employment opportunity.
Yet, a recent poll by webrecruit found the meaning of active and passive may not be so clear cut. The survey taken part by 749 LinkedIn users, asked candidates how they would best describe themselves in terms of searching for new opportunities.
The results revealed 46% of candidates would consider themselves as active job seekers currently looking for a job. 9% were passive and would not initiate candidacy, and another 4% were not interested in opportunities at all. The remaining 41%, however, are not actively looking for a job, but are curious about opportunities they see before them, and are more commonly referred to as the actively passive. So what does this mean for recruitment?
Many argue that a passive or curious candidate is more desirable than an active candidate. This is because, unlike active candidates, they aren’t looking for jobs and must, therefore, be better.
But reaching the passive market can be a challenge. After all, passive candidates aren’t looking for a job and are not using the traditional recruitment platforms. As such, business networking, social media and direct candidate sourcing become key channels to recruit these types of individuals.
The fact is, as recruiters, we have to seek out the right candidates – passive, active and everything in between – regardless of their current working status. Which means we have to be vigilant in the resources we are using, and more importantly, how we are using them.
In reality, no type of candidate is better than the other. Rather, the best candidate is the one that best meets your needs, is the best person for the job, and the best person for fitting into your organisation.
And these findings show now, more than ever, the importance of embracing an integrated recruitment strategy comprising both social media and traditional recruitment methods in order to identify the best person for the job.
Talking about the current financial climate and the affect it’s having on the jobs market is something I’ve had to do a lot of recently. It is tough out there, and with recent government statistics revealing a 0.7% fall in GPD, it doesn’t look set to significantly improve any time soon.
However, and I say this vehemently, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Recessions can provide us with an opportunity to identify new and exciting career paths.
I also believe that positivity and a healthy dose of fighting spirit is the recipe for career success in these hard times. To help foster this, webrecruit has teamed up with Aimee Bateman, of Careercake.TV, to bring you CareerCamLive.
CareerCamLive – a monthly live careers show – will see Aimee answer questions from those seeking careers advice. The first show – Using Social Media to Job Hunt – is on 7th August, 18:30, and is available here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/careercamlive#
Aimee is incredibly knowledgeable and fantastic to watch, so please ensure to tune in.
Now, back to the column. This week I’d like to discuss the issues facing public sector workers seeking employment in the private sector.
For instance, I received an email from Alex, a finance officer within local government looking to move into the private sector due to a lack of progression in his current role.
Having worked in local government for the last four and a half years, he is now seeking his next step up as a finance analyst or manager. However, he fears that prospective employers may be put off by his public sector background.
He asks me:
‘Is there anything that I can do to show them that I am capable of translating the skills I have and continue to learn into the private sector?’
Alex, I can see you’re in a frustrating position. Whilst there are many benefits of working in the public sector, career progression isn’t necessarily one at present.
Transitioning from the public to private sector can be a challenge; this is because they are often seen as two different worlds.
As you mentioned, Alex, progression prospects within local government can be limited. Whilst the public sector can offer flexibility in terms of working hours and holiday, the workspace can be regimented and includes a lot of red tape.
The private sector can also prove to be a very challenging working climate too – it’s incredibly target-driven, with longer working hours and shorter holidays. Yet, the rewards, both personally and financially, can be fantastic.
To make the move, you must consider the type of company you are interested in working for. Whilst I appreciate you’re open to any industry, it’s important to target your job seeking efforts in order to transfer your skills and demonstrate your value effectively.
In your case, Alex, with your lack of private sector experience I’d try adopting a different approach to your CV. We know that the private sector keeps a firm eye on costs, so emphasise what value you will deliver; for example, your budget management skills.
You mentioned you were studying towards your CIMA. This is an excellent example of going the extra mile to gain new expertise. Make sure to communicate the qualification’s value and how you are able to transfer this to a new commercial setting.
It may also be worth mentioning the importance of an online profile. Why not harness LinkedIn’s potential to market yourself? Private sector employers check candidates’ profiles online and it can be a strong networking tool.
Overall, your challenge, Alex, is to present your experience in such a way that a prospective employer can ‘slot’ you into their company. If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to finding your next opportunity.
Thursday, 19 July 2012
There’s no getting away from the fact that social media has taken the business world by storm recently. Companies who have managed to harness its true potential for generating brand awareness are reaping the rewards; those who haven’t are losing out.
It really is as simple as that. What social media can offer, in the way of brand exposure, is unparalleled in terms of its cost and effectiveness. What’s more, you can make your brand accessible and build relationships with your fan base using minimal effort.
Once you have an established network of followers, you are in a position to boost your brand and bolster your company’s reputation. Not only that, but you are effectively building your very own talent pools with which to source candidates from.
The beauty of using social media to recruit in this way is that, not only is it easy on resources, but you are also able to vet your own candidates. LinkedIn is a prime example of this. Really, what you have is an online CV database with a myriad of additional extras.
You can instantly ascertain whether a person possesses the necessary skill-set for a certain role, but added to this you are able to see what other professional activities they partake in. It helps to give a far more rounded portrayal of a person and adds depth to your understanding of whether or not they would be suitable for the role.
It’s worth investing the time to have a presence on all of the major platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, so as to tap into each of the unique audiences they attract. This will increase your brands exposure and will allow you to make use of different techniques within your social media strategy.
Statistics from jobvite show that 80% of companies are using social media platforms to recruit and 9% of the remaining respondents said that they plan to begin. When asked whether or not they had successfully hired a candidate using a social network 2/3 (64%) answered yes. The trend for utilising social media as a hiring resource is certainly on the rise.
For companies, the incentives to go social are both rich and plentiful. It won’t have escaped your notice that our economy is suffering and so, with recession, comes cut backs. The biggest draw of social media is that it’s wallet friendly and fairly easy to implement.
What it requires is people and, more importantly, people engagement. To achieve this, companies need to provide a generous mix of high quality content and consistent interaction. Transparency is the key here. It’s no good a company trying to control every aspect of the message they are putting out. People just won’t buy it or bother taking an interest. What needs to happen is for people to make up their own mind and the company just to provide the back drop for people to say what they think.
A really good example of where this was effectively rolled out was when Ford decided to reinvent the brand’s damaged reputation. They gave out 100 free Fiestas to people who were big on the social media scene. This included popular bloggers and social networkers who were already documenting their lives online.
Their stories made for an authentic and compelling narrative which was completely organic and not at all dictated by Ford. It generated much respect for the brand, as it made it appear more personable and real.
When it comes to social media hiring, Twitter is sometimes seen as the unsung hero. On one hand you’ve got LinkedIn – a hugely powerful networking platform that has changed the way recruiters search for talent. Then there’s Facebook – a much more informal platform that’s just announced its move into the jobs arena.
On this basis, it’s fair to say Twitter tends to occupy the vacuum in the middle. So why integrate it as part of your recruitment strategy?
Twitter is a valuable tool if you’re looking to inject some personality into your latest job opportunities and direct audiences to your website or blog without seeming to ‘salesy’. That’s if you get it right.
There are a number of companies already successfully using Twitter as part of their hiring strategy, recognising early on that it gives a new dimension to the hiring process – one that can significantly extend the reach of your message.
Just look at companies such as KPMG (@KPMGRecruitment), ITV Careers (@ITVCareers) and Nokia (@NokiaCareers). A brief look at their profiles shows they’re engaging with the followers, increasing their reach and most of all, sharing their latest recruitment opportunities.
If you’re considering Twitter as part of your social media recruitment strategy, here are five ways to ensure you start on the right foot.
1. Optimise your profile
Optimising your Twitter profile is crucial if you want to capture the attention of prospective hires, yet many businesses neglect to complete it in full.
Some Twitter profiles can be perceived as quite static and dull (not including those lucky enough to benefit from a Twitter brand profile ) yet it is possible to create a profile that supports your recruitment strategy.
For instance, include keywords in your 160 word bio that directs audiences to your careers page. Get creative with your background; include snaps of your company culture and be sure to include links to your website in the background. Think about your audience, what do you want them to do?
2. Content really is king
Google’s algorithm checks the authority of every user that tweets, therefore valuable, relevant content will give you a great edge. However, people still struggle to come up with tweets that engage audiences.
If you sell too much in a tweet, you’ll may run the risk of alienating your followers. And if you don’t ‘sell’ enough, you may not see the returns you wished you had.
At least at first, I’d recommend allocating 1 in 5 tweets to the sharing of your jobs. The remaining updates/responses should seek to reply to followers, direct people to your website and share relevant content.
3. Mind your Ps and Qs
Adhering to Twitter etiquette can help you to gain much needed currency on the platform. To start, ensure to personalise content as much as you can. Thank people for RTing your content, and politely involve yourself in conversations.
Hubspot suggests that as much as 64% of users are more likely to purchase from businesses that answer their questions on Twitter. Why should this be any different when applied to your recruitment strategy?
4. Follow the leader
To increase your following, it’s important to identify and follow the ‘good’ tweeters – the influencers who can get your message out to the right people.
Experiment with keywords – what is your ideal candidate inputting into Twitter? What are they talking about? Don’t be afraid to look at what your competitors are doing. Apply the good pointers and improve on the bad.
As a side note – size isn’t everything. Remember, when it comes to Twitter, you’re measured on value. How much do you give back to the community? How often to do you respond to people? Influence is everything.
Especially when using Twitter as part of your recruitment strategy, it’s important to direct visitors to your careers page. This will ensure your message is seamless; ensuring a smooth journey.
If, however, you do not have a careers page, why not create a landing page and collection form? For a relatively small price, this will ensure to enhance the audience’s journey and will speak volumes about your process. Include a straight forward collection form, and start building your talent pool straight away.
Once upon a time, it was only big organisations that were fully able to leverage the power of the internet as a tool for attracting and building talent pools.
But today, the rise of social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, has given SMEs a vital and cost-effective way of interacting with and identifying potential employees. And in addition to a candidate rich market full of far greater talent than there is demand; research has found more than half of UK job seekers now use social media to assist them in their job searches.
But how do SMEs take full advantage of this opportunity?
Here are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions by SMEs when considering leveraging the recruitment benefits of social media.
We’re a small business, how will potential candidates find us online?
SMEs are in a difficult situation as they do not always attract the best candidates compared to well-know corporates and big brands.
Whilst there is no simple answer, there are a few things SMEs can do to help increase their online visibility. For example, you can use social buttons as a simple way for candidates to find and follow your social platforms when visiting your company website. You could also share keyword optimised content, such as blogs, to help raise your online profile.
What platforms are best for an SME looking to recruit using social media?
Choosing the right social platforms to spread your message is key to your success.
Consider the type of candidate you’re trying to attract. Do they spend more time on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn? Find out where people with specific interests, skills and experience related to your company are talking. What engages them? Online gaming, blogs, videos?
Whilst LinkedIn is an obvious choice of social network for recruitment, graduates spend more time on Facebook. Twitter works well for niche career specialisms through the #hashtag function.
Remember though, not everyone is signed up to every social media account. So combine your media to get your hiring message out. For example, integrate content and context using Twitter to share short sharp messages or links to your corporate blog, and Pinterest to expose your brand identity and share images of your company.
There are not enough hours in the day already, how will I find the time?
As an SME, you will have limited resources to dedicate to your social media strategy, and as such, it’s important to make the process efficient and financially viable. At a minimum, webrecruit suggests spending the following time on each platform:
LinkedIn – 2 hours per week
Twitter – Tweet twice a day
Facebook – Share three posts a week
Blog – Once a week
If you are unable to tweet regularly or struggle to find the time to share posts, there are tools available that can schedule your updates, such as Hootsuite. There are also sites dedicated to finding and recommending web content to its users, so if you need help with sharing your blog posts, you could try Stumble Upon.
How do we ensure our talent pools are engaging?
By using what others crave most – compelling, rich and engaging content – social media can have a massive reach creating tremendous value when it comes to recruitment. As such, it’s your company’s job to create a compelling environment where people frequently want to go.
If all you have on your social platforms are corporate videos and job descriptions, you are not moving beyond traditional recruitment. Think of exciting ways to drive engagement, such as crowdsourcing and gamification, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
Get your own employees involved in your social platforms so they are visible and accessible to potential candidates. Answer questions about the company honestly and openly and don’t hide unmoderated comments and discussions. All of these are real engagement activities that strengthen relationships because they demonstrate an organisation’s ability to offer positive responses and extend trust.
I’m not getting the response I was hoping for, what should I do?
If you’ve posted a link to a job in a LinkedIn group or tweeted it and you haven’t had the interest you expected, look at how and why you are using that particular channel. Perhaps the type of candidate you are seeking doesn’t use it?
To overcome this, set clear, realistic objectives, monitor the response and evaluate the resources you have invested in. You may find you have to take an integrated approach. For example, use Twitter to share your latest job posting, but write a follow up blog that is keyword-rich to source candidates using those particular words.
As more SMEs begin the process of transitioning into social media recruitment, it’s important to remember that it is of course, only one more channel. People will still search for jobs on Google and use job boards, but the social arena is growing fast. And when this new way of working is wholeheartedly embraced, social media could provide a genuine opportunity to identify the best talent for your SME business.
Have you ever considered what you could do differently to make yourself redundancy-proof? When Monster asked this to 1,281 workers throughout the UK, the results surprisingly revealed that only 57% would look for opportunities to shine and show how they add value. 25% said they won’t be taking any actions and 9% said they would get up early and stay in late and make more effort.
These findings show now, more than ever, the importance of demonstrating your worth and putting in the extra effort to help safeguard a company’s future. Particularly as businesses are forced to downsize, those that don’t feel they need to make any extra effort to hang on to their jobs, could be exposing themselves to redundancy.
This leads me on to an email I received this week from Nat. She tells me the jobs she has held during the last year were all short term, typically as a result of redundancy.
Despite involving herself in volunteering and keeping her skills up-to-date with online courses, she finds herself back in the job market searching for her next opportunity.
So how can she demonstrate her value within the work environment and avoid facing redundancy again?
Nat, redundancy, or the prospect of it, is something that many people have thought about over the last year or so, and unfortunately, your situation reflects many others across the country. I’m pleased to hear that you are being proactive in developing your skills and participating in voluntary work – there is no time to waste and competition is tough.
You have already amassed some terrific experience exposing you to a variety of industries, in addition to your voluntary work and qualifications. The fact that you have been landing opportunities – even if short term – illustrates that your CV is working. But how can you ensure that once you’ve landed the job, you will remain recession-proof?
First and foremost, make sure you stand out from your colleagues by taking an active interest in issues and making constructive suggestions during meetings. Prove you are a valuable team member, make sure your boss is aware of your achievements and take a positive approach in getting to know people. Even if it’s voluntary work or a short-term contract – these people are valuable connections and could help you with finding full time employment.
By building up a network of valuable connections, if you do unfortunately find yourself facing redundancy, you can get in touch with former bosses or colleagues and find out whether there are any job opportunities out there. That way, you are more likely to have something to fall back on should you lose your job.
It’s fantastic to see you are keeping your skills up-to-date. Not only will this increase your employability, but in the work environment, you’re much better placed against your colleagues. If you see an area within the business where your skills could be of benefit – offer to help and take on some more responsibility.
As an employer, I look for those who go above and beyond the call of duty and can demonstrate their business value. I don’t mean turning up early and leaving late – whilst it’s great to see you working so hard, this could just mean you’re not managing the work you already have. Instead impress me by knuckling down and getting a good job done to the required deadline.
In reality, hiring managers and recruiters are all too aware of the cut-backs many businesses are facing. Short-term jobs don’t have to be a red-flag to employers and, with your experience, you are clearly an attractive candidate. It’s ensuring you differentiate yourself, showcase your talents and prove your commercial value in the workplace.