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LinkedIn or weeded out? Is social media preventing you finding your ideal candidate?

Technological advances have completely changed the way companies and agencies engage with potential recruits

More and more hiring managers and recruitment agencies are turning to social media and HR technology in a bid to identify the ideal candidate with the desired skills and experience and to speed up the recruitment process; however, experts are beginning to question the efficacy of this approach, pointing out that in many cases these platforms actually weed out perfectly suitable talent because the algorithms they use for selection just don’t cut the mustard.

There is no doubt that technological advances have completely changed the way in which companies and agencies engage with potential recruits. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, which started out as a way to research and gain more insight into the background of an applicant once they had indicated an interest in a position, have now become recruitment platforms in their own right.

Companies such as Indeed, which claims to help you reach more candidates faster and let you search its database of over 60 million CVs, sound extremely appealing; however, according to Nick Corcodilos, author and owner of Ask the Headhunter, there is a need for more analysis around the way in which these recruitment platforms work to see whether they are enabling or obstructing the recruitment process.

In February 2015 it was reported that many companies, including all Fortune 500 companies, had moved their recruitment function in house. Instead of using recruitment agencies or head hunters to seek out, engage with and introduce the best talent for any given vacancy, these companies were increasingly looking to social media and HR technology, partly in the belief that this approach would be more efficient and cost effective.

The crucial issue was, and still remains, that access to millions of CVs and profiles is next to useless if those selected are either not responsive, not qualified or simply not interested in pursuing the opportunity.

The problem is not a skills shortage, according to Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania. Candidates are no less skilled than they were 15 years ago; however, technology is aimed primarily at reducing large pools of potential recruits down to more manageable numbers simply by using keywords and algorithms. This method often results in good candidates being automatically rejected because their profiles or CVs do not contain the chosen keywords.

Is it therefore time to reconsider the way in which we leverage social media platforms such as LinkedIn? Should we consider the possibility that the reason it appears to be getting harder to find the right person to fill open positions, despite the fact that there are over 1.6 million people out of work in the UK, may be due to the reduction in human interaction in the recruitment process and the over-reliance on keyword searches?

A new, more beneficial approach may be a combination of technology and good old-fashioned person-to-person communication, whereby recruiters engage with individuals and build relationships with the right talent using social media but avoid the total reliance on machine selection that is fast becoming the norm.

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