Confidence in recruitment has increased due to the more positive economic outlook in the UK. This is great news for recruiters; however, it can be a double edged sword. As opportunities increase for candidate placement – according to research more than a third of workers plan to change roles this year – recruitment companies need to ensure their business is running efficiently and have the resources and skills in place to manage more candidates and more roles.
Social Media – Extending the Reach
Social media has clearly become incredibly important in recent years, with growing numbers of consultants routinely sourcing candidates via networking sites. There is so much ‘social’ out there; so just how much effort should any agency – or individual consultant – allocate to social?
The answer depends on the marketplace – for any recruitment agency focused on media or IT, social is an absolute necessity. No LinkedIn profile, Twitter account or Facebook page – no credibility. There is, however, probably no need to dabble with other sites such as Pinterest or Instagram.
In other markets where social has yet to become such a driving force, the pressure is less intense. However, it would still be advisable to see if your business name is available as a Twitter handle, and be sure your company LinkedIn profile is created and accurate. Many of these sites allow a company profile to be created without proof of ownership, so check to see what might be already out there under your name.
It is also important to remember that consultants will probably need their own social media presence – especially on LinkedIn – because candidates will be checking out the individual consultant as much as the agency. In addition to creating and building social profiles, switched on consultants will also encourage successfully placed candidates to share reviews on LinkedIn and/or Tweet their success, further reinforcing the online reputation.
A social media policy should also encompass how the business will respond to any potentially negative comments. Ensuring that every consultant is aware of the right tone of voice and has clear guidance on the appropriate way to respond to any problems is essential to avoid costly, reputation damaging events.
Speed – First to the Finish
With an increase in available candidates and latest research showing that the recruitment process from start to finish is now on average 89 days, reacting to clients and candidates in real-time can make the difference between getting a placement or not. Clearly one of the key aspects of the recruitment process is search and we have seen sites introduce new search tools and techniques that provide real opportunities to improve search not only on internal systems but also on social media.
The key here is that agencies cannot rely on consultants to discover all these tips and tricks themselves – with that approach the only result will be some highly expert consultants and the rest left frustrated and bemused. Providing a regular overview of search tools and techniques to consultants will ensure that consultants do not fall back into old – and slow – habits. The consultant that still only searches on job boards for new candidates is going to be beaten to the best by the competition again and again. The candidate has so much choice today – in order to attract these individuals every consultant will need to be far more flexible and adventurous in searching to identify the best.
Of course speed is not just about search – it is the entire process; and that means ensuring clients are engaged and recognise the need to respond within hours, not days, to avoid the best candidates being snapped up elsewhere. Consultants need to be able to build upon client relationships in order to get a fast response and turnaround – and agencies need to ensure that everyone in the business has fast access to all candidate information at any time. Combining a strong CRM with slick admin processes leaves consultants more time to focus on relationships, improves the sharing of information and leads across the business and minimises the risk of delays or lost opportunities.
Team – Building the Skills
There is no point in having these great tools if no one in the company is able to use them effectively. And while a new generation of consultants may be arriving in the workforce having used Twitter and Facebook for years, many will have no idea of the difference between a personal and professional approach to social media. For the older generation highly aware of the importance of professional attitudes, the need might be to encourage the use of social media – at least posting jobs online – and the value of building up both company and personal reputations online.
To maximise the value of social, agencies need to create robust social media policies that address content and tone; the need for professional profiles to be kept completely separate from personal; and strategies for reinforcing reputation through encouraging recommendations, for example.
In addition, it is important to ensure that staff understand how to use tools such as Skype or Google Hangouts. This is not just about training in using the technology, but also the way in which interviews are conducted via video. A consultant is unlikely to carry out a face to face interview in a room full of noisy individuals – so why attempt to do the same via Skype? Ensuring there are dedicated quiet rooms for video interviews; that the connection is good enough; and that staff know how to use the technology – such as recording the interview – is essential to avoid disengaging a potentially valuable candidate through a poor interview experience.
The reality is that in this world, even the best, most experienced, consultant needs training on new technologies to support the evolving candidate demands. And that means agencies need to put in place good training processes and policies and ensure that every member of the team is comfortable and confident with the latest technologies, from social to search and beyond.
Sitting back and letting change carry on around the business is not going to go well. From an energetic and dynamic social media presence to efficient search and interview processes that can streamline the identification of the right candidates, the way in which recruitment is now being undertaken is changing fast.
Of course, the core skills still apply. Consultants need to have great interview skills, the ability to read between the lines on CVs and the drive to build strong client relationships. But it is underpinning these skills with new technologies that will become increasingly key in the drive to both attract and place the right individuals in the Year of the Candidate.