Around 15 years back, I recall how large software organizations in Bangalore had trained their security guards to collect resumes and give standard responses to job seekers who dropped in physical copies of their ‘bio-data’. At the end of each day, these security guards handed over the collection to the recruitment team. The recruitment team, in turn, would hand over these copies to an outsourced firm, who would then scan and upload these resumes onto the recruitment tool. A key id would be generated for each resume, which enabled tracking. Since the process involved so many people, some job seekers maintained a process to cyclically hand-over resumes, in case the previous one was lost or misplaced.
This is when you realize, how much things have changed for the current job-seeker. Hiring portals are a passé, and are not the main option for employers and employees as it was in the mid-2000’s. Today’s generation of candidates are building their brands online across various social platforms, to attract employers.
A recent twitter post by a CXO from Salesforce highlighted that, maintaining blogs and being active community members will get you jobs more easily than sending across resumes. Why is this important for employers? These online communities’ blogs/social media gives a sneak peek into the knowledge/skill of potential employees. And not just that, it also gives an insight into employee behaviour. These are very useful insights, since one could only at best gauge these traits through a traditional interview process. Look at how LinkedIn has developed the professional social media platform – It started out as a platform to create connections amongst professionals, but now employees have skills added to their profiles by peers and colleagues. One can blog/write white papers and create forums to discuss professional interests. Such activities build brand equity for individuals that potential employers look for. One report indicates that nearly 20% hiring options in technology firms for senior positions take place via LinkedIn connections.
Candidates have become extremely creative and innovative in order to get noticed amongst peers and organisations they wish to be a part of. For instance, individuals who have an interest in the UI/UX area, create portfolios of their best work and pin it on Pinterest, so that it goes viral. Others use humour or whacky concepts to get noticed. A job-hack podcast, discussed how job-seekers in the marketing space are creating videos or using targeted ad campaigns on Hire Me HubSpot to attract attention. Speaking of hacks, companies like Facebook and Microsoft regular host hackathons, not just to fix bugs but to also allure potential employees from the student community. Those stepping out of college with no corporate experience, use online communities like http://www.coroflot.com/ or https://www.freelancer.com which specifically targets those interested in doing gigs in the digital space. Potential employees can build their portfolios exclusively on these sites and bid for projects. These communities not only help in adding hands on experience in coding or design, but also give students real-time experience in interaction and working with customers.
As much as the Internet and social media has helped reach out to diverse groups for employment, they come with a cautionary tale. Personal lives are now available for scrutiny by employers. Facebook, Twitter, Quora are actively scanned by employers and recruiters alike. It has become a norm to scan internet footprints of potential hires. Unsavoury behaviour, sexual innuendos and rude behaviour are seen as red herrings. Most of us have read about a Quora user who had made a pros & cons list of all the job offers he had and asked for online opinion on which of them he should take up, got a response from one of the CEO’s, recalling the job offer. One silly mistake on social media is sometimes etched forever.
I am of the opinion, that social media as a hiring platform is here to stay and is only going to improve the hiring experience for employers. Especially, since it aids in an easier selection process rather than the tedious rejection process via resume scans. Job seekers need to learn to use these various platforms to their advantage.