Is social media a SCAM for recruiting


Credit:Flickr cambodia4kidsorg

Last week a US recruitment expert Peter Weddle called social media a SCAM for recruiting. He stated that it was a waste of time with no ROI, although he did not use the term ROI. Finally his prediction was that social media will not be the future of recruiting until 2014 while job boards will remain the predominant method of finding a job.  His source two survey’s one his own and the other by AfterCollege:

Social media came in at number 15 on the list of choices and was selected by just 10.9% of respondents which, of course, included those most celebrated for their use of social media—Millennials.

Well Peter’s comments got a few people all flustered, including Paul Debettingnies and Jim Durbin also known as The Social Media Headhunter.

I am not going to comment on the posts more a comment on the ROI of using social media for recruiting in Australia (some have links to stories others are examples I have picked up in the marketplace):

  • First up Darryl King from Ireckon hired his new Project Manager via Twitter.
  • The boys from Happener use social media as the backbone of their business.
  • Amneisa Rasor Fish hired their Director of Social media through Twitter.
  • Amy Cato from Cato & Hall hires a vast majority of her placements via Facebook.
  • Thomas Shaw has many customers placing candidates through his Facebook apps.
  • V set up a dedicated careers site on MySpace to allow young Australian’s access to 60 ‘never-to-be-advertised’ positions. 4,000+ applications and all positions were filled and V achieved over $750K in marketing exposure.
  • Deloitte Australia actively uses social media sites as a talent pool source.

I could continue but I think you get the point this also ignores all of the recruiters using LinkedIn and LinkMe to source candidates.

I have said it before and will continue to say it social media does have a place within your recruiting strategy but it is NOT a recruitment strategy on its own! The key is to understand where the talent hangs out online and then develop a strategy to engage with them on their terms.

Case Study

The Forrester Social Technographics 2008 report shows that Gen Y (18-28) are significantly higher Creators, Critics, Collectors and Joiners then other generations up to 49 index points. While Gen X overall are more likely to be Spectators (63%), Joiners (41%), Critics (32%) and finally Creators (24%). Young Boomers do not participate with social media anywhere as often as Gen Y or Gen X, Young Boomers are Spectators (48%), Critics (29%), Joiners (27%) and Creators (17%) which is not a lot different to Older Boomers or Seniors.

So if your target market is Young Boomers (43-52 year olds) leading with a social media is not the right move. If you market is Gen X you need to develop a method for them to be consumers of social media or even critics.

Social networking sites increase employee productivity

An interesting piece by David Quach on the ABC News site (Hat Tip @aussienick) about how more people should use Facebook to improve worker productivity. Here is the summary:

Well, while any adverse effect of Facebook on productivity is detrimental to the economy, economic theory also suggests that the economy could be improved if there were more users. In other words, as long as Facebook isn’t used at work too much, everyone would be better off if more people used it.

The basic idea is that each user of Facebook not only gains individual benefits from using the social networking site, but also provides (network) benefits to other people. And since people generally do not take into account the benefits to other people when deciding whether or not to join Facebook, there are fewer users than is ideal for society.

Allow me to explain.

In the language of economics, Facebook is said to exhibit network effects; it is a technology that becomes more valuable as more people use it (and the network gets larger), like mobile telephones or fax machines, for example.

The network effect is real and does increase productivity. But what really got me interested was the comments being left by readers which ranged from full support to a complete lack of support. The comments could be classified into four major themes:

  • What about your privacy
  • Facebook is the best thing
  • Facebook is a complete waste of time
  • People with real social lives don’t use Facebook

Here are a few.

Cricket:

27 Nov 2008 2:22:02pm

Concur. I take singular delight in not being registered on any of these social networking sites. People with REAL social lives don’t have the time to waste on them.

Jeremy:

28 Nov 2008 12:13:05am

Nobody forces you to post every detail of your life on facebook. If you consider it a public place and only post things you’d be happy posting in public then you have nothing to worry about.

Merlin 23:

27 Nov 2008 2:11:48pm

The statement “Concerns about Facebook’s negative effect on the economy – especially an economy on the verge of recession – were raised just recently when 13 Virgin Atlantic staff were sacked for criticising the airline online” is proposterous.

‘Facebook’ is an application and didn’t do anything – the people using it did. The same result would have occurred if they done the same thing using the any other form of media and their boss heard about it.

Di:

27 Nov 2008 3:25:12pm

We are all selfish for not joining face book! I can’t believe this guy wrote such an article! It is amazing the space that he took up saying so little.
I agree with the statements in the comments regarding fraud, identity theft, and invasion of privacy! It does happen and as much as it may be stated that its safe and ok, personally I won’t take the risk. I have plenty of ways to communicate with friends without reducing myself to that level. So go ahead – call me selfish!

From a business point of view Merlin 23 is correct Facebook/MySpace/etc is not the problem, management is. What would you do if someone was always late to work, spent too long at lunch or on a smoking break (do they still have them)? Same thing should be done if people are wasting time on Facebook.

Privacy is an issue but it needs to be managed. Jeremy is right, no one is forcing you to put all your details on the site, remember The Mother Test?

Cricket seems confused. While claiming to be a real person with a social life they seem to have the time to hang out commenting online ;-). Which brings me to my final point, usage of social media is growing in Australia and growing quickly.

In the 2007 Q1 Forrester Technographics Survey of Australian Adults online found 11% were Creators of content, 23% Critics on content, 5% Collectors of content, 14% Joiners to social networks, 38% Spectators reading what other said and 56% Inactives ignoring social media. 12 months on these figures had changed dramatically 2008 Q1 Forrester Technographics Survey showed:

  • 26% Creators
  • 35% Critics
  • 16% Collectors
  • 45% Joiners
  • 63% Spectators
  • 24% Inactives 

With this sort of growth David Quach will get his wish, but businesses out there who do not know how to manage employees within this new world will have a lot of trouble.

UPDATE: Minutes after hitting post I found a story from Financial Times blogs on time clock watching bosses discussing the “Japanese concept of ba: a hard-to-translate notion that, in this context, appears to describe an elevated state of knowledge-sharing between colleagues.”