4 HR Trends Blowing Up Talent Acquisition, Part 1: Social Networks and Search

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The Web, recruitment technology, generational changes, and the skills gap have uprooted traditional recruitment strategies practically overnight. With the proliferation of HR tech, the talent acquisition landscape has become something of a shapeshifter, continuously changing and slowing down for no one.

For great hiring to go off without a hitch, it needs the right talent acquisition tech to support it, especially with today’s invariably changing market conditions. What used to be a market for large corporations is now saturated with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In fact, the segment of employers with between 100 and 2,499 employees is 26 times larger than the segment with 2,500 or more employees. This shift in the economy inspired recruiting tech innovators to develop solutions to accommodate smaller companies with unique hiring needs.

At Talent Tech Labs, we focus on promoting technological developments in the field of talent acquisition. Through ongoing extensive research and analysis of thousands of talent acquisition technology companies, we’re able to give you a taste of four significant leading trends in the recruitment space and the companies that are blazing the trails.

Leveraging social media for hiring and recruitment purposes isn’t a new concept, but how it’s leveraged? That’s a different story. Social network and social search companies have changed how recruiters source candidates, making the recruitment process faster and more efficient.

There is a lot of crossover between the revenue these companies are after and the services offered by job boards, which convolutes the talent acquisition tech market but opens up increasingly unique recruitment opportunities. Understanding the differences between social network and social search companies and the companies driving change in those segments is the first step in optimizing a social recruitment strategy.

Social Networks

The growing prevalence of social networks has catapulted giants such as LinkedIn and Facebook into the recruiting strategies of every organization in the country. However, now that social media recruitment is a well-known recruiting tactic and LinkedIn’s user agreement restricts data scraping on user profiles, niche players catering to industry-specific networks are popping up left and right, providing talent acquisition leaders with more social networks to utilize – some that are even more effectively bringing in top talent than LinkedIn.

TabletSocial Network Features Roundup:

  1. Individuals can create a profile to feature personal data and/or professional accomplishments.
  2. Employers can create branded pages to display their employee value propositions.
  3. Candidates can share (through broadcast and direct message functionality) relevant content with their contacts and followers.
  4. Candidates can access content that prepares them for the job search and interview processes.
  5. Candidates and recruiters can easily make contact with each other based on relevant job postings or skills and quickly evaluate what common ground (e.g., connections) they might share.
  6. Social repository of data where contributors can find new work opportunities and collaborate to develop content.

For example, companies like Github and Dribbble are amassing significant volumes of data and provide more relevant screening content in highly technical job categories than traditional resumes do. What’s more is this new approach to how social networks are modeled makes these companies much more interesting and specific for job seekers and recruiters alike.

Masterbranch, for example, is a Web development community that allows users to create profiles with their projects and accomplishments, ranks their skills locally and globally, and connects them with recruiters for jobs listed on the site. It’s similar to LinkedIn, except more specific and with much more advanced user features.

If these unique companies continue to grow, there is opportunity for these digital profiles to take the place of the resume as we know it, opening up an entirely new segment of the HR tech market.

Social Network Market Contenders:

  1. Facebook
  2. LinkedIn
  3. GitHub
  4. Dribbble
  5. Stack Overflow
  6. Tapfame
  7. Masterbranch
  8. Treatings

Social Search

CeilingSocial search companies aggregate all of an individual’s information that lives in the public domain (through social networks) and provides search access, for a fee, to employers so they can get a more detailed overview of who a candidate is. These technologies leverage innovative algorithms and machine-based learning techniques to produce search results that provide significantly more visibility into the candidate being searched. What makes social search companies so important in social recruitment is LinkedIn’s restrictions on data scraping.

Social Search Features Roundup:

  1. Proprietary database(s) of candidates.
  2. The ability to search candidates across social networks like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Github, Google+, about.me, Xing, etc.
  3. Analysis of aggregate social data to identify high performers and best-fit candidates (e.g., Gild rates developers’ codes on Github and provides a score).
  4. Technologies that leverage the most searched (i.e., effective) keywords to optimize job requisition language.
  5. Organizational tools (e.g., workflow management) to help recruiters stay on top of candidates with notes, stages, tasks, and reminders.
  6. ATS integrations to refresh/clean up aging resume databases with new social data (including de-duplication processes).

As social networks became an integral part of talent acquisition strategies, talent acquisition tech innovators saw the opportunity and need for social search technology. There are significant expansion opportunities for social search companies to scrape and capture data around the individual to better understand their preferences and goals and create hyper-focused or personalized recruitment campaigns, similar to how advertising technologies are able to target prospects based on individuals’ online behaviors, searches, and posts.

Jonathan Kestenbaum is the executive director of Talent Tech Labs.

Read more in Social Recruiting

Jonathan is an entrepreneur and investor in New York City. He is executive director of Talent Tech Labs. Jonathan has embodied the entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, having started and run two successful businesses before he was 21. A lawyer by education and an entrepreneur by trade, Jonathan is passionate about being on the cutting edge of innovation and capitalizing on industry trends. If you're lucky, you might find him playing guitar at a dive bar in New York City.