I don't know about you, but I am getting a little fed up with the whole, 'Facebook is the total recruiting solution' hype that is flying around the recruiting space at the moment. The recruiting world DOES NOT revolve totally around Facebook!
This is going to sound strange coming from someone who lives this world, but while I fully understand the benefits that Facebook can bring to a company (especially after the latest Timeline changes), there is still a place that prospective employees and candidates want to go - and that is the 'humble' career site. If you read Bill Boorman's post on the end of career sites, he would have you believe that Facebook is the only way forward for companies for recruiting, and that career sites are dead. Well maybe in 5 years time, but there are many, many companies (and candidates) that have no intention of putting their main recruiting eggs (and job seeking eggs) in Zuckerbergs' basket just right now!
The notion that career sites are dead are certainly what some of the social websites would have you believe, but it isn't what the candidates are saying.Last year a huge survey of 30,000 jobseekers in Europe found that 80% candidates went to career sites for information about companies, and that 70% then wanted to interact with companies via their career site.
There is a problem however with career sites. They are mostly out of date, boring, uninspiring and most importantly have a recruitment process that will have you stabbing yourself in the eye with a pencil before you complete the application! When faced with this, Facebook looks positively amazing!
Career sites do need to change - they need to be much leaner in process, fatter in user experience and mobile friendly. Plugging in many of the social media sites to enhance this, is (for me) the way forward. Use the like of Facebook and Twitter for a customer services type engagement, Pinterest and YouTube for employer branding, a blog for sharing news and content and allow people to use LinkedIn to apply for jobs with their LinkedIn profile. And of course make it all mobile and tablet compatible!
The mistake most companies make is that they just assume that having a career site is enough - the crime is not reviewing it often enough, and realising there is SO MUCH MORE they can do to enhance the candidate experience. They should take a big look at how easy it is to apply for jobs on Facebook via apps like Work4Labs. Some recruitment systems new to the market like Smart Recruiters and Zartis are already plugged into this approach.
Going back to my starting point, there are some big reasons why Facebook has a long way to go to be the default career site for companies:
- Privacy. In Europe and the Middle East, for example, Facebook privacy is fiercly protected by candidates and the thought of using it for anything other than staying in contact with friends is a step too far for many people.
- SEO. Facebook is conspicuous by its absence in Google searches when you are searching for company job pages, career information etc. With candidates being very lazy (they use Google for finding career sites by name), this is a major factor.
- Homeplate syndrome. Facebook and the data is 'owned' by Facebook. A career site is your site, with the data and content being 'owned' by the company involved. Now before you start writing in the comments about big data ownership etc, bringing people back to a career site and having their contact details is still huge for many companies. (Whether they do anything with it is another story!)
- Shock! Not everyone has a Facebook profile. This may surprise you (or not) but there are still many people out there who don't go anywhere near Facebook, by choice and circumstance. Do you really want to preclude them?
- Reality check time. While the current movement towards using social media more in the recruitment process (aka social recruiting) is (IMHO) totally the way forward, there are way too many CEO's, CFO's and HRD's that have absolutely no intention to move totally to the social world - and for a good number, it won't even happen until retirement happens!!
I strongly believe that social recruiting is here to stay, and for some companies it may well suit them to base their recruitment solely in the Facebook camp - especialliy if that is where their target audience is. But for me is is all about a balanced integration.
Understand where in the social world your target recruitment audience is and then make sure you are present and active in that space. Then you make sure you integrate it into your existing recruitment strategy. But above all, if you are going to make the step into social in any way, please, please, please go and have a look at your career site first. Make the process leaner, the user experience fatter and make it mobile friendly.
These are not options, they are essential!