What Candidates Think

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thinkingAhem. Over here! Yes, me, I’m the candidate. I may be passive, or active or “lurking” but I’m the still the person you all claim to be trying to find. Don’t you want to hear from me?

We’ve discussed before the discrepancies between where candidates are looking for work (Facebook) and where Recruiters say they get the most value (LinkedIn), we’ve identified the fact that candidates don’t necessarily “see” all the work vendors and corporations are putting into a better candidate experience, we’ve even been over the fact that all the rules that HR Pros understand about job search, ATS, resume writing and jobseeking etiquette are mostly lost in translation when it comes to the actual experience of online recruiting from an applicant’s perspective. Some stats for your viewing pleasure:

89% of American companies use social media for recruiting:

  • 82% use LinkedIn.
  • 50% use Facebook.
  • 45% use Twitter.
  • 64% use more than one social media network.

64% of those companies report that they’ve hired through social media in the past year.

55% of those companies plan to invest even more time and money into social media recruiting.

82% of American job seekers use social networks in their job search.

  • 35% use LinkedIn.
  • 75% use Facebook.
  • 40% use Twitter.

What rarely seems to come up is what the applicants or candidates actually think of our new ideas. Recently, I came across a blog post regarding a candidate who had just been invited to a Talent Community. Check it out:

This is an interesting take on social monitoring. It appears that CA wants to track and monitor my “career.” Isn’t the real value in recruiting in finding the best person for the job, not the best person who applied for the job.

As it turns out, this is not a CA initiative. It’s actually the work of find.ly, whose motto is “An always-up-to-date social talent community of people interested in your jobs.”

This brings to mind so many questions. Read the rest of the post here.

If you click through to the posting, you’ll find that the blogger in question is very intelligent and seems to have a firm grasp of business technology, yet as of this moment, he’s never encountered the term talent community before. In fact, there are few observations that provide useful information even before that:

1) He applied for the job a very long time ago but only recently got the invitation to join the talent community. This jibes (no pun intended Jibe) with what vendors are telling corporations, namely that they should invite their entire database as a first step to growing their talent community. Many companies object to this on the basis that candidates will be put off by such a long period of no contact, but it seems not to have phased the candidate.

2) He did not join. He is curious about the talent community and even writes an entire post about it but yet he doesn’t join. Instead he asks for multiple points of view at the end of the post, to comment there about their knowledge of talent communities. I find this approach fascinating. He HAS applied at the company, he’s INTERESTED in the concept, he doesn’t seem BOTHERED by the approach, so what is the reticence in joining? Vendors would do well to be able to answer this question.

3) Social networks matter. He scoffs at the connection with MySpace, albeit briefly. The social networks with which the enterprise chooses to connect matters. It reflects on the technical sophistication of the company (it seems). The fact that the network offers to connect or pull info from his MySpace profile surprises the jobseeker enough for him to make a comment.

4) He wonders why a company would choose to follow his career. This is one of the final questions he asks of his readers, and potentially fellow career navigators. Is this valuable? Does it make sense for the jobseeker?

Just because we have the ability to suck in information about candidates to increase the candidate pool doesn’t seem to mean they will understand our motives and/or allow us to do it. Have you tested your solutions with your potential candidates?


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Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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