A conversation between The Recruiting Animal and Tony Restell
If you have a job the candidate wants she still has to please you. What's changed?
In the old days, most candidates had no scope to interact with a recruiter or the employer prior to applying for a job.
Today, interactions via social networking have opened the door for candidates to have insights into companies - and to have formed opinions based on discussions with employees and recruiters - before a job has even been advertised or a call put into a candidate by a recruiter.
The candidate has always had to please the recruiter, as you state. But today the recruiter / employer must also make far more effort to please the candidate.
You said: The candidate has to please the recruiter. But you're also saying that the employer now has to please the candidate -- whereas they didn't before. And I don't understand that.
Well in the old world a candidate would see a job advertised on a company website (or a job board). They would probably not have interaction with that company before submitting an application - and those candidates who did call up wanting to talk to someone at the company would usually be greeted with a flat "everything has to go through our careers site, please apply online".
If they didn't like the way they were treated or the lack of personal engagement there wasn't much they could do about it other than choose not to apply.
Recruiters held all the cards - they had the jobs the candidates wanted, so the candidates had to dance to the recruiters' tune.
Fast forward to today. A candidate seeing a job listing can ask questions of employees who aren't even involved in the hiring process.
They can publicly send messages off to the recruiters - and the responses they receive back influence not just the perceptions of that one candidate, but of every candidate who sees them (or subsequently comes across them when doing an online search).
They can ask questions in discussion groups and there will now be an expectation that recruiters will make an effort to respond to these.
So yes, the employer has to go to greater lengths now to win candidates over - but the flip side of this is that there's now a window of opportunity for companies to be the best at doing this and so win over candidates who in the old days might not have been persuaded to apply by the job advert alone.
Well, was that title just for effect? "Social media has flipped recruiting on its head and handed the power to candidates."
It doesn't sound like it. Yes, they can get more information about the company and this might allow them to put one firm at the top of their preferred lists and others at the bottom.
But unless they are extraordinary or hard to find, they still have to please the recruiter and hiring manager. The same as before. You're over-stating your case by a mile.
Let me add something as well. Vault.com has always been known for offering the inside dope on what it is like to work for a particular company.
Glassdoor has tried to do the same thing. In theory it sounds good but I don't know how useful they are at this point because I rarely, if ever, see stories from people who have used it.
The same is true about approaching strangers for insider information via Linkedin. You'll hear the odd anecdote but I haven't seen a vast array of blog postings or articles giving us the blow by blow as to how this is being done by thousands and millions of people.
Do people inside a company want to offer information to a stranger? I would be wary.
Well my comments should probably be caveated by saying that I work in markets where candidates are typically in short supply and where the right candidates tend to attract multiple offers.
So any companies falling short in terms of candidate experience and engagement could face big hiring challenges.
It's also my experience that candidates tend to have a strong desire to join only a handful of companies in any one industry - ie that's the extent of their knowledge about who they aspire to joining.
When they decide to change jobs, they'll often cast the net wider. All the other companies not on the "most desirable employers" list have everything to play for - and so differences in how candidates are treated can have a potentially significant impact.
The reality is that we will probably only know whether the above is overstating things or not when the hiring market has picked up further. All the while the economy is stuttering, candidates in the majority of industries can't be too picky.
But as talent shortages become more and more of a widespread issue, differences in how candidates are treated - and in perceptions of how candidates are being treated and engaged with - could have a big impact. In this respect there has been a significant power shift in the recruiting industry IMHO
Okay, so in theory: Social media gives the candidates more info about the market. That forces companies to offer at least as much as their competitors to get the people they want. And that changes everything.
That's a nice summary. I'd just add that what candidates are getting is not just more info about the market - but first hand insights from interacting with a company and its staff... and at present there's a gulf forming between companies who are getting these touchpoints right and those who are yet to get fully on board with social engagement.