Saturday, 30 November 2013

Do you 'LIKE' your job applicants?

Recruitment is always a tricky business. Inviting someone you've only met a few times to the inner sanctum of your business. Trusting them to deliver for your customers, no matter how thorough your recruitment process, can still be a leap of faith.

As a small business owner, one that maybe only needs a single figure headcount in order to deliver for your customers, the quality of your staff is paramount. In many cases it’s even more important than in a big company, where you have more staff to support the work effort. So the question is – how do you go about recruiting these quality candidates for roles within your business?

With 94% of recruiters in big business already using, or planning to use, social media tools as part of their recruitment process, is it time for small businesses to follow suit and reap the rewards?

Social recruiting has a number of benefits to offer. In summary you can get higher quality candidates in greater numbers. They're quicker to hire and studies suggest that once hired they stay for longer too. It’s a win-win situation. So how do you do it?

Facebook – Don’t expect insights into the professionalism of your candidate from this platform. Remember that it is probably the most ‘social’ of all the platforms. People come here to play so don't judge on fancy dress photos alone. What you can do is screen you candidates for anything ethically untoward.

All a bit Big Brother? Perhaps. But if the role you're recruiting is customer facing, you can bet your bottom dollar that your customers will be doing the same. Does your candidate have their profile locked down and hidden to people outside of their network? That’s good news. It means they're switched on and maybe every concerned about maintaining the professionalism of their online image.

LinkedIn – The most professional of all the social networks. LinkedIn goes further than a digital CV. Sure; you get to see what they've done in the past, including details of any professional subscriptions, qualifications and affiliations. But this is your chance to get some insights into your candidate’s aspirations for their career.

What groups are they a member of? Are they switched on to the industry? Do they follow developments? Do they comment or participate in conversations? Do they contribute content? All of these insights can help you build a picture of what your candidate wants from their career.

And don't shirk off the value of recommendation. Endorsements on this platform only take a click of a mouse, but if someone has taken the time to write a reference do take the time to read it. This is valuable insight into what it’s like to work with this person.

Blogging and Microblogging – A word to the unclear, Twitter falls into this camp. In fact, anywhere that your candidate is sharing opinion, expertise or review is a great place for you to gather insight on their knowledge and dedication to a subject.

If you're looking for a knowledgeable and passionate professional to join your business, they may be providing commentary and insight on the subject in their own time. If you can track down their blog entries you can quickly get to grips with what they know and how they think.

If the role you're recruiting for is one that requires copywriting for editorial, actual examples of their abilities are far better than a list of qualifications and a painstakingly edited CV.

If you're recruiting a creative they're bound to have a portfolio; even a Flickr or Instagram account can give you a steer of their creativity and artistic abilities. So be sure to look around.

The key to all of this is to gather as much information about your candidate as possible. Why not even ask for some of it as part of the application. If it’s in the public domain, your customers may end up seeing it, so why wouldn't you want to take a look?