So I’ll admit it…I’m completely burned out on the social networking thing. The sheer and overwhelming nature of the entire medium has sucked all of the ‘social’ right out of social networking. But then again, I’m a Recruiter, so that means I use all of my tools to find talent, build networks and keep my name out there. I have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and IM apps all over my Blackberry. My candidates and clients ‘friend’ me on Facebook. They text me from numbers I don’t remember with messages I can’t discern. And now the behemoth Google has thrown their hat into the ring…and let me tell you, you’re going to be glad they did.
So not shockingly, my Google+ invite came from a work contact. And while I was reluctant to get sucked in to yet another one of these sites, I gave in. It actually took me a few minutes to get the hang of setting up my profile. It’s supposed to be pretty intuitive so apparently, I’m not that quick. But that notwithstanding, here are some cool upgrades Google has thrown in that might make it more useful for recruiting than Facebook.
Circles: Wow, this is cool. I think it should be named ‘Hotbooks’ instead of Circles. Essentially with Google Plus (people are already calling it G+ or Google+ – it’s confusing) you have the capability of actually organizing your contacts. Think LinkedIn meets Facebook meets Twitter. You get to take all of the contacts you want and actually organize them by folder, er, Circle. The idea behind this is that you share and communicate with different people in different ways. It’s a two fold homerun for Recruiters: On the one hand, it allows Recruiters to maintain Hotbooks of talent that they can blast a real-time message to AND it allows Recruiters to maintain some level of privacy. Google just saved Recruiters a lot of time and embarrassment from difficult social networking disasters.
Hangouts: The Google+ hangout feature is neat and a lot of fun to play with. Basically Hangout is going to let you have real-time group conversations on the go. Imagine having to set up a group interview where 3 or 4 Hiring Managers need to coordinate schedules to meet your candidate before you can close the deal. Actually scratch that: Remember those times you needed to coordinate 3 or 4 peoples schedules to get an offer extended? Hangout is almost as good as standing in a conference room in front of all 4 Managers with their calendars in hand. For the busy Recruiter, it can’t get better. The issue here is one of time…Hangout won’t take off until other people are on board and everyone is carrying a smart phone. But still…it’s like Google was thinking of us.
The Downside: So Google+ is cool. It’s got a good couple of recruiting tools hidden in it that allows Recruiters to do their job just a little better. Circles let’s you organize your contacts (however you choose) and share certain information with only certain Circles. It’s like keeping hot books in Facebook. It creates a much needed buffer between your personal life and your professional one and even let’s you coordinate with your clients in a group setting. Very cool. The downside that I can see right at the get go is the lack of professional spin. Frankly, it would be awesome if people started putting blurbs or resumes in their profile. A little more LinkedIn, a little less MySpace. But until the next best site comes along, I can live with it.
Recruiting with Google Plus: The Google plus interface of course emphasizes search, because it’s from Google. The “Find People” may evolve, but at this point, it seems to be just a simple text search without specific indexing of occupation and location. Google profiles are public, so you can also just use regular ol’ Google search with Boolean strings, etc… It seems like not too many people have yet written in their full profile, so you’ll see a lot of empty fields. This will surely change as the service grows in use.
Outside Apps for Recruiting with Google Plus: There are already tools springing up that allow you to find people with Google Plus. Lots of different apps will probably spring up that each try to make finding people (sourcing) on Google plus a little more efficient than the native interface. One that we came across is FindPeopleonPlus.com. This service is not affiliated with Google. But it’s a cool little service that allows you to enter profession, name, or location into a search box.
FindPeopleonPlus also generated some really cool statistics that are relevant to recruiting. One of them is the top ten professions on Google Plus. Interestingly, they are almost all technical professions. So for right now, the budding social network is skewed heavily toward technology professionals. Especially if you recruit for technology professionals, you’re going to want to jump on the social network soon.
Recruiters that started early with Linkedin were rewarded with large networks. The social network’s invite and connection system have become a bit more restrictive than back in the early days, so those that got in first received the most benefit. Will Google Plus be the next big thing for recruitment? All the benefits of Linkedin with the scale of Facebook? Who knows? But for now, if you’re a recruiter, it’s probably worth spending a little bit of time with. If it does turn into a solid recruiting channel, you are going to want your connections and contacts built up and ready to go.