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MARCH 2015

Recruit Right, Online

The blurred lines between professional and social networking, and how this affects the recruitment industry

By Lanis Yarzab

Managing Director, Spring Professional Japan

The average 21-year-old has exchanged 1.25 million emails and SMS messages, played 25,000 hours of video games, and spent 65,000 hours online during their lifetime. Generation Y (those born since 1979) has paved the way for today’s iGeneration youth, and there has been a noticeable effect on how individuals search for information, advertise, and apply for jobs, as well as utilize recruitment companies.

This, in turn, has affected how organizations market themselves and how candidates shape their online image. Those who have not embraced new technologies and social media are being left behind.

As information becomes more accessible on the Internet, it has become easier to reach people, but finding the right talent for a job opening has become more complex. Candidates openly post their personal information online and advertise their careers on social media websites.

For many people, this does not indicate that they are job hunting. Rather, it is a part of nurturing their online brand, or showcasing their new company, position, exciting projects, and even career accomplishments.

Such postings are merely a form of self-expression, with the end goal perhaps being simply to share, or to have others click on the “favorite” button or re-tweet someone’s updates. Companies that directly try to recruit these individuals are often surprised at the lack of response, or the accuracy/inaccuracy of the information presented by candidates online.

Corporations and senior management need to consider the importance of their company’s Internet profile. A company’s online presence should clearly define its main products and services as well as the business’s core values.

An executive’s personal profile, meanwhile, offers potential candidates more details about an organization’s leaders. Job hunters can seek out future managers online and may be inspired by their potential boss’s career path.

A poorly written or sparse profile may have the opposite effect, detracting from the company and making a great leader look average. The key is really committing to social media and doing it well. It is also important for individuals to periodically search for their own names online, to ensure that personal information and photos are kept private.

The abundance of information on the Web has also had an effect on the newest generation of jobseekers. Candidates now have more control over their careers, given ready access to information about companies and the various recruitment agencies reaching out to them.

This is not necessarily positive; if anything, candidates seem more stressed about their futures and are unsure how to carve out a career path. It is hard to know which sources of information are reliable and which advertisements are true representations of a company’s service.

Candidates are seeking recruitment consultants that can act as mentors, a true resource to help them navigate numerous job opportunities (especially in Japan, a candidate-short market). An experienced consultant will consider their candidate’s career goals and what intermediate steps they need to take to get there.

They will also consider whether a jobseeker’s personality is the right fit for a company’s culture. The objective is a match at a company where the candidate can grow, and where the corporate client can foster their development at a pace acceptable to both parties.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether social media tools will reduce the need for recruitment agencies. For organizations that employ experienced recruiters who have time to qualify information online and offer flexible job requirements, it may. However, the vast amount of information to sort through has, in many cases, made recruiting more difficult.

The best way to reduce hiring spend is to engage the employees currently in an organization and invest in developing the future leaders you wish to retain.

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A company’s online presence should clearly define its main products and services as well as the business’s core values.