Archive for recruitment industry

Social Recruitment: The New Spy Catcher

When the British Secret Intelligence Service starts using Facebook to find its next James Bond, anyone doubting the power of social recruitment needs to rethink their scepticism.

And that’s exactly what MI6 is doing – hunting for its next generation of spies through a series of Facebook advertisements launched in late September.

One of three pop-up advertisements says: “Time for a career change? MI6 can use your skills. Join us as an operational officer collecting and analysing global intelligence to protect the UK.”

MI6’s strategy is a smart one.  With more than 100 million active users, Facebook has increased by 153 per cent in the last year to become the fourth most trafficked website in the world. 

And with its membership growing at light speed – particularly among those 25 years and older – MI6’s recruiters have recognised that Facebook’s profiling and targeting capabilities can connect them with a vast pool of potential candidates.

MI6 is not alone.  A recent survey from the US revealed that 64 per cent of companies are making contact with potential employees through online social networks, predominantly LinkedIn (80%) and Facebook (36%). 

On the other side of the Atlantic, it’s clear that both employers and job seekers are extracting value from social media.  According to the Aquent Orange Book 2008-2009, a salary survey and industry monitor, candidates in Germany (39 per cent), France (34 per cent), Poland (30 per cent) and the Netherlands (23 per cent) rated social networking sites as their preferred method of job seeking, as did 13 to 18 per cent of employers as a tool for sourcing talent.

Meanwhile, only a handful of employers across Australia and New Zealand are leveraging social networking sites to source new talent.  Why?  Partly because social recruitment is still an untested strategy in Australia, and partly because employers and recruiters don’t know where to begin.

So, how can you integrate social recruitment into your broader recruitment strategy?  Here are six simple ways to get started.

  1. Create a ‘group’ for your company on Facebook.  Call it something like “XYZ Company is Hiring” and post information on how to apply for positions in your company, list your latest jobs and use the growing network as a marketing tool.  And add the ‘My Company’s Hiring’ application to enter currently jobs available in your organisation.  These will be displayed on your company page.
  2. If your company has a Facebook Workplace Network (a closed network for individual companies), use it as a recruitment and retention tool.  To establish one, ask Facebook to add your company to the list.  Only employees with a company sponsored email address can join and participate.
  3. Encourage ex-employees to rejoin your company with a Facebook group for your company’s ‘alumni’.  Promote the group among your current employees, who will soon share the site with their former colleagues.
  4. Use the search function as a sourcing tool.  Try searching for a particular position title in the ‘profile’ section, for example.
  5. Tap into the regional networks, and scour workplace and university groups.  Target these areas by posting jobs and listing job fairs.
  6. Stimulate conversations using ‘Discussion Boards’ and ‘The Wall’ – both features can attract members of your targeted community by showcasing what your company has to offer them.

But will the British Secret Intelligence Service’s recruitment strategy really work?  With a new James Bond movie, Quantum Of Solace, set for release next month, MI6’s attraction problems are undoubtedly over.  But it may well face another recruitment challenge – who will sort all the applications of these would-be spies?

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Australia and the global recruitment industry

I recently returned from overseas, where I met with recruitment industry colleagues from the UK, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong. And like the curate’s egg, the global economy is good in parts. It is apparent that European economies are in worse shape than Australia, and Asian economies remain in a better place.

Ireland, just a short time ago the darling economy that drove growth through outsourcing opportunities, is in recession and even public sector spending has been dramatically cut, affecting recruitment companies there.

The UK is in a similar position, with the financial sector in disarray and the flow-on effect impacting other service companies. But like Australia, there are sales in the retail sector, particularly as London gears up for Christmas. When times get tough, it is said that women buy more lipstick!

I spent some time in France and Germany in 2004 and again in 2006 and the highly regulated nature of the temporary hire industry in those two countries, coupled with the fact that permanent placement by employment providers in still in its infancy, means that labour hire companies will be dramatically affected by economic downturn. We have already seen some announcements from the large global companies about downsizing operations in France, and I would expect Germany to be close behind.

There is no doubt, particularly in European countries, that the recruitment industry is in a state of flux – just as it is in Australia. Some organsiations are failing, many are undertaking redundancies and right-sizing activities and have declared decreased revenues and profits.

However taking their cues from Ronald Reagan’s 1986 statement, “if it moves tax it, if it keeps moving regulate it and if it stops moving then subsidise it”, major developed economies have moved to shore up their economies and protect citizens and some industries.

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Building partnerships

As companies across all sectors of Australia’s economy fight for their fair share of talent, recruitment agencies have risen to prominence in the minds of company leaders and HR professionals.  In a tight labour market, expert assistance is vital.

In the April edition of Human Capital Magazine, Iain Hopkins looks at what agencies do well, what they don’t do well, and what they need to improve.

He tells us that the most commonly heard gripes are unwelcome cold calling, putting forward inappropriate candidates, inexperienced consultants and recruitment cost blowouts.

But what does best practice in the recruitment industry look like?  Julie Mills, CEO of the RCSA, suggests that partnerships are the key.  Savvy HR managers need to look for other service offerings as part of the recruitment consultancy package, such as career counselling or business assistance.

“Recruiters have broadened their business offerings and part of that is because they want to be in partnerships. So ask: do they want to partner with you or are they talking to you because you are a person at the end of the service chain? The best recruitment company for your business is the one that mirrors your business standards,” Mills says.

The recruitment industry is certainly moving down the path of relationship and partnership building.  Good recruitment consultants work with a business to build solid long-term relationships and structures.  As the skills squeeze continues, and quality candidates become harder to find, recruitment companies and their clients need to work together to ensure they can source – and sustain – the very best talent.

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