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The new social media trends affecting recruitment decisions

Posted by: Ian Piper

It’s no secret that recruiters employ social media websites to assist them in finding the right candidate. However, there is a new social media trend hitting the recruitment industry in the form of apps using big data to collect information about potential employees and then creating a picture of who they are and whether they are a suitable job applicant. 

One of these new apps is “Charlie; a software application that pulls basic facts about people and companies at the touch of a button. Charlie was originally designed for use alongside your calendar, almost like your own PA. You input information about who you are meeting with and Charlie will filter through various online sources including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google News, to collate all relevant information on that person. Charlie then condenses it into an easy to digest, one page brief which automatically sends an hour before your meeting. The brief may include any common interests you may share with the person, their current projects, the company that they work for and any relevant breaking news, so you can arrive at your meeting confident and informed. Aaron Frazin, founder of the Charlie app has said, “Personality and social-based recruitment is popular right now because companies know how important cultural fit is, and what happens when you don’t hire the right fit.”

Other apps such as Crystal Knows, offers a unique profile for anyone with a LinkedIn account. Once again, through online information, Crystal Knows builds a summary of a person using Facebook, blogs, tweets and other online bits and pieces left over from daily online activity. Crystal Knows uses this data to create recommendations for co-workers or business contacts about communicating with the profiled person. This could be helpful for employers or recruiters approaching a potential candidate regarding a job. For a fee, Crystal Knows will communicate on your behalf by composing emails to them for you. However, both of these applications depend on how much information there is online about the person in question.

Score Assured is another company planning on releasing its latest software, Recruit Assured, into the recruitment industry. Already successful with Tennant Assured, Score Assureds’ aim is to use big data for “insightful referencing” across as many industries as possible. This software uses algorithms to search for the number of times a person has used keywords such as ‘loan’ or trends for example, whether they go out a lot, on their social media profiles.

But are these apps beginning to cross a line into intrusive behaviour? Use of social media sites amongst recruiters has increased dramatically year on year since 2010, from checking up on candidates, to sourcing, to using social media for brand interaction; these social channels have become a goldmine for recruiters. But are they providing the right information? Facebook has always been the most popular social media platform for recruiters to use for candidate selection, but recruiters need to remember that this site is generally for personal usage and that posts on it are not intended as part of a candidate’s job application. David D’Souza Head of Engagement at the CIPD has said “we are beginning to see the next step with these types of new tools.” The profile that social media platforms and these new apps (who take their information from these platforms) create may not be a good reflection of the candidate in question because they are used outside of a working environment. Many people have a “work-self” with an entirely different attitude and personality when in a working environment, therefore it is not necessarily fair to consider them in light of their “social-self” for a working role. Further, lives conducted through social media are often not a true reflection on reality because social media is all about personal PR and it is an often exaggerated and overplayed version of the truth.  Therefore, D’Souza continues “For employers to take this information out of context is a worrying trend.” 

However, other applications such as tech start-up Saberr champion using profiling to establish a cultural fit of potential employees into a company, but not through data from social profiles. Instead, Saberr have developed an algorithm that can be mapped across a whole team of people to see whether a group of people will work effectively together; this can then also be used to predict who would be a good addition to your existing team when hiring. Saberr’s survey concentrates on deep set values rather than shared interests, “The thing we found interesting was that it’s not just your values that matter, but your tolerance of other people’s values. If you meet someone that is intolerant of other people’s ways of thinking or working, then they are hard to get on with”, says Alistair Shepherd, co-founder.  Shepherd also believes that data from social profiles can be useful in the future but there is a limit to implementing that information because you run the risk of losing trust and validity.  However, he does think that social network data represents a significant opportunity to make better hiring decisions. 

At Certus Recruitment Group, instead of using these apps, we use a platform called eSuite to determine candidate behaviours and dramatically improve the success rate in search and selection projects. Our eSuite platform removes the guesswork from the recruitment process, ensuring the success of the project and significantly increasing candidate retention after placement without invading the candidate’s personal life. 

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