Social Media and the Employment Disconnect

Lately I’ve noticed an interesting trend when it comes to social media and the employment process. Everyone in the hiring world seems to have something they need, be it a job seeker looking for a job or a hiring pro looking to fill a position, and from both sides, I keep hearing that there is no one out there to fulfill these needs. Somehow there aren’t enough jobs, and yet when there are jobs, there aren’t people to fill them.

How can that be?

I spend a lot of time on the main social media sites. I joined as a career professional, and quickly found that many wonderful recruiters and job seekers are out there. As someone who spends his day trying to help job seekers through the job search process, I saw this as an opportunity to build connections for my clientele as well as for the candidates I meet on these sites. After all, isn’t that what these sites are for? To build connections?

But here is a typical day:

Job seeker: “Looking for PHP Developer position; willing to relo; 10 years exp.”

Recruiter: “Filling PHP Developer posting; must have 5+ years exp.”

Seems like a no-brainer, right? At the very least, these two people need to speak! But I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to be the conduit to make that happen, and I hear excuses from both sides as to why they don’t want to pursue it BEFORE they have even met!

On the one hand, the job seeker is skeptical of the recruiter and, I don’t know, maybe a little gun shy or something. So the job seeker is content to spend all day scanning job boards for positions that are likely no longer even open. Give the job seeker a name of yet another job board, and off they go happy as a clam!

On the other hand, the recruiter really doesn’t want to speak with job seekers after all. The recruiter would prefer someone currently employed or … something. Sometimes they actually seem to want me to screen these candidates for them instead of actually making a phone call and finding out.

I have to admit this is a head-scratcher for me.

To the recruiter: If you’re not there to recruit, what are you there to do? Talk with other recruiters?

To the job seeker: If you’re not there to actually speak with someone, what are you there to do? Shout out how no one is helping you?

Some wise soul out there might argue that this an old conundrum playing out in a new scene, and that is probably true. But it makes me question the ability of social media to really sustain itself as an effective job search tool. And let’s face it, in many regards, job seekers (those active and those “passive”) as well as career professionals are really driving the movement right now.

Of course, I am speaking in generalities here, and people love to tell the news media all the success stories they’ve heard of regarding job seekers finding leads for positions through social media connections, but as someone who is out there each day trying to help foster these success stories, I’m seeing mostly just disconnections. A lot of chirping with very little action behind it.

Believe me. I like a good idea, just like the next guy. I have certainly met some wonderful people through social media, but as a job search tool, sadly, I am not that impressed. And it’s not because the possibility isn’t there for it to be a good avenue. The problem isn’t the technology; its just good, old-fashioned human nature.

So who am I anyway? Why do I think my advice is so valuable?

My name is Stephen Van Vreede. My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I have spent 15 years on both sides of the corporate hiring experience.

The short story is that I have an MBA in Marketing from Villanova University and a dual B.S. degree in Finance & Logistics from the University of Maryland. I am a certified professional résumé writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). As I mentioned, I paid my dues in the corporate world eventually running a large-scale call center for a major truck rental company, and I have spent the past 7 years with No Stone Unturned, assisting job seekers in achieving their goals.

In February 2009, I launched a new group job hunting networking site: NoddlePlace.com. It is absolutely FREE to join, and you have access to everything on the site. Come check it out at NoddlePlace. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. AvatarAngela Rao-Brown SPHR says

    Hi Jim. Did you realize that your twitter address doesn’t match the website address? Website is NoDDleplace.com but twitter is @NoODleplace. FYI.

    I went ahead a followed noodleplace and hope it’s you!

    Great blogs, BTW. Thanks.

  2. Avatar@macdonmt says

    Interesting post Jim. I agree with it for the most part. I have lots of recent college graduate friends who are really content to spin their wheels to get a job. They’ll join job boards, and blast resumes, and spam twitter contacts for jobs, but they’re really reluctant to get on with the conversation. They don’t want to commit, because as soon as you like a job description, you’re hopeful that you’ll get it, so you won’t do anything to jinx it… like get on the phone and say something stupid.

    Honestly, I’ve done that before too. Or, better yet, I’ve not sent a resume into a job I thought I’d love because I worried I might not get it. Ultimately, i got exactly what I wanted I guess…

    I think there’s something missing here too. There’s a disconnect between the uses and power of social media. I don’t think it’s really best used as a soft introduction. Maybe that works for recruiters searching for candidates, one recruiter recommending a candidate to another, but I don’t think it works directly for candidate to recruiter communication. Used that way, it’s the same as an email. Yes, I’m looking for a developer with 5 years exp, and yes, you are one with 10, but how’s that any different than an email or resume search on any job board?

    I think the real opportunity of social media is to show your work and capabilities by engaging in the community. Give opinions and suggestions, ask questions, share cool things, “meet” new people. Show what people who don’t work with you can’t see. Show that you know what you’re doing. That’s what recruiters and hiring managers are really looking for.

    Being in social media just so you can get a job is no more helpful than being on a job board (I think it might be less helpful, and more work).

    Coincidentally, for anyone on the “personal branding” kick, this is exactly the same advice that good social media marketers are giving companies and brand managers. You have to be engaged and active to drive customer usage… or get a job.

    Cheers,
    Mark
    @macdonmt

  3. AvatarJon Hull says

    I must say i have to disagree with a lot of the sentiment. Social Media has made connecting easier and therefore, connections of connections.

    Wasn’t it always the case that client (internal or external) want the candidate to match the job spec 100% including now hair color and favorite football team? However, our job as recruiters to advise on the art of the possible and encourage those connections. If candidates are reluctant, they are craving information.

    I have found that collaborative sites such as Linked In help us find tthe right people becuase the site is set up for collaboration…. and networking.

    I am afraid recruiters just to need to focus on that skill of networking and influencing and not look for panaceas!

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