The Actively Passive Candidate: Why Social is the Only Way to Hire in 2014

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Social media profiles have become a necessity when searching for talent, and on the flip side, when looking for a job, as more and more companies are turning to social recruiting in an effort to outpace competitors.

With that in mind, recruiters and hiring managers must further embrace social media in 2014 in order to find talent for their companies. Likewise, job candidates should make it a resolution to truly understand the realities of their online presences and to leverage them to farm and funnel interesting opportunities.

The world has changed. In the recent past it was common for people used to stay with their employers for the long haul, sometimes for their entire career. Companies used to offer pensions and resumes were often hand delivered in paper form to the front desk of a company.

Job ads are becoming obsolete

Today, the picture is different.

For example, it’s common for the Millennial generation to skip around jobs before settling on one that might define their careers, echoing this recent study that reports a hefty 60 percent of Millennial employees play career hopscotch, leaving their first companies in less than three years.

The technology sector is even more progressive, where being “a lifer” (staying at one company for too long), can be considered a bad thing, and developing a pedigree of moving between solid companies every two years is the norm. In the war for talent, everyone’s a candidate, and all talent is fair game.

The age-old practice of posting a job advertisement and waiting for great candidates to stream in is quickly becoming as obsolete as the paper resume. This passive approach to recruiting is being replaced at major companies in favor of active recruiting teams who behave as hunters rather than gatherers. Fortune 100 companies are building dedicated sourcing teams who search for passive talent on the social web, conduct research and approach candidates with tailored opportunities.

People will respond if  contacted directly

When you post a job to gather resumes, you have no quality control and you have a talent pool which is limited to only those active job-seekers who see and resonate with your job advertisement. Conversely, the hunters carefully select their ideal targets and research them before making contact. The quality and response rates are greatly increased, as is the pool of candidates (potentially everyone in the world that has a social presence on the net).

Or, think of it this way: my house isn’t currently up for sale, but for the right offer I may be willing to sell it. That’s the color of today’s job search — candidates aren’t actively looking for new jobs, but they’re not dormant, either. If a recruiter came knocking with an interesting opportunity, they’d more than likely be open to a conversation.

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It’s true; in a report we recently conducted with YouGov, we found that 75 percent of Americans would respond to a company if they were contacted directly.

So where can recruiters find the candidates they’re looking for? The answer isn’t elusive, but is instead right in front of you (on your computer, phone or tablet).

Through Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn and many other social outlets, job-seekers send up flags of interest in new opportunities, either implicitly or explicitly, and also broadcast their skills. Simply put, resumes are no longer necessary and have become a less accurate, more outdated source of information. As such, recruiters who welcome social media are at an advantage when it comes to finding the talent they’re looking for.

Social recruiting becoming the go-to method

Also of note, social media has infiltrated nearly all industries, making at least rudimentary social media knowledge a must-have on both sides of the table. As such, more and more job-seekers will turn to their social media profiles regarding all aspects of life — including their employment—and companies won’t just tweet about job postings, but will shift from such passive routines to actual engagement.

As hiring managers further realize that social media is the best way to connect with candidates, social recruiting will naturally become the go-to method of recruitment and talent-finding.

So really, while common knowledge provides that employers might be screening their candidates by making sure social media profiles are clean, it cannot be overstated that the job search doesn’t just end on social, but it’s where it all begins.

Shon Burton is the founder of HiringSolved. A recruiting industry veteran, Shon experienced first-hand the frustration of pouring hours into sourcing candidates via Google, LinkedIn and other social sites. HiringSolved was founded to make sourcing faster and more efficient. Previously, Shon was the founder of Wildcog, a boutique San Francisco based recruiting firm and Dataverse Corp. (VeriSign purchased Dataverse technology in 2001).

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