When something seems to be too good, too dominant and way too obvious based on history it can only mean one thing – you should expect some big changes to appear soon and for some of us to predict these changes might be extremely interesting. You might remember some services that were very big in early 2000 but are not anymore, same will be repeated time after time and that is the only thing that is certain so let’s play a bit with future scenarios.
Currently it seems that social media space is divided between Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter – at least in the Western world. But I think this is not going to be the situation for long and in this post I will share my views on why and what could be the direction particularly from the recruitment standpoint and where we should keep our eyes on.
Direct recruitment and proactive recruitment are already mainstream ways of recruiting
Lately there has been a lot of fuss about possible job board that Facebook is building (or Facebook apps like Branchout or hundreds of others similar apps). And one other too loud discussion in my opinion which seems to gain even more and more momentum is already great and growing amount of Linkedin users – having new shiny profiles and endowing each other with endorsements like crazy. But I think we need to first elaborate a bit where the recruitment is going as such to understand what is going to benefit us most when we search and select the candidates in the future. I really cannot see a huge need for a new job board integrated to our personal social network and at least for me it is easy to claim that the amount of users on Linkedin is not that great and the value of it is not that high for recruiters.
What Linkedin has anyhow done is accelerated the proactive recruitment over passive post-and-pray recruitment – that is the merit that I think no one can claim against. As well what it has done is that it has really opened easy way for companies to start going from the agency driven recruitment to direct recruitment, but that merit also should go to CV databases provided mainly by job boards. Only thing what LinkedIn did better than job boards is that they sold the idea that the “Online CV” a.k.a. LinkedIn profile is somehow more valuable than CV in the CV database and that these passive candidates that can be found from Linkedin are almost like super humans that everyone should target to hire – that actually has created the false assumption that there is some kind of Talent War going on. And to mention actually when you browse CV databases you also find a lot of passive candidates with much richer information package and even with full contact information (including phone number) that you cannot get from Linkedin, but that is maybe a topic for a different discussion.
But when you now look at it from a candidate sourcing perspective that should be the first step in the hiring process after you have some kind of understanding what you are looking for – Linkedin is a teeny tiny fraction from around 3 billion online footprints that are actually accessible online (mostly for free or with low cost) and this amount is growing even faster than the member amount of any particular social network. Also, the real value to have almost the same looking online CV that you had on the paper years ago is from the recruitment perspective not really the most valuable thing (even after endorsed skills) – or my argument is that at least it shouldn’t be. Of course there is a great position for LinkedIn (and Facebook and Twitter) to develop their service further and based on the recent changes that for example Linkedin has done – they will continue to improve, but still I cannot yet see it as so dominant player in the future that many predict.
Recruitment agencies have historically made money from the CVs and connections (people data) that they owned. So did job boards with their CV databases. Now Linkedin is trying to do the same from the business model perspective but there is no way it can change the fact that information as such is getting to be less and less valuable for business owner as it is more accessible for all. And it doesn’t really help if you build different package around it and call people in LinkedIn Talents and others that you can find from other sources something else. What will be valuable is to understand the huge amount of data that is available and that Google is years ahead from any other company in the world to leverage it.
Recruitment process and hiring decisions are more and more powered by big data
Data driven recruitment a.k.a. Moneyball recruitment will evolve and there is a greater need for big data analysing tools to foster the right hiring decisions – typical CV data is not so relevant and not alone big data if we don’t understand how to analyse it and what to look for in it. Decisions done by humans are partly powered by big data provided by our unconscious mind, but if we cannot understand our decision making process , the power and at the same time flaws in it we end up in the same situation where we currently are. Take a look at the presentation below to get better picture about this topic:
Why this already massive but still underdog named Google+ will be soon recruiters best friend?
Like it or not, Google is still the destination to go when you are searching for something online or even offline – whether you do the search on mobile or in front of a computer – you start browsing from Google results. Actually globally we are doing staggering 100 billion searches per month. I tried to find the number of searches as well from Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook, but couldn’t find them, so if you have better knowledge please share. Even though the direction of social web is to go towards personalized experience it doesn’t mean that the role of questions will decline, the need is just for better questions and more complete answers and that is what Google is aiming for with their vision to be the computer of Star Wars where you can ask basically anything and get the answer in an understandable way.
Google has indexed so far 30 trillion URL’s that you can compare to the latest member numbers provided by Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. And it does index only public content so the amount of possible sources of information is even more staggering and most of it has been created during the last 2 years and this trend continues. What we have to understand as well is that there is no social media anymore – there is only social web. What I mean by that is that it is getting harder and harder to find websites that don’t have some social features enabled on the site. More and more sites are as well built to serve as communities in order to build closer connections not only with the content but also with the like-minded people who are interested in that content and ready to contribute and improve the content by for example commenting or co-creating. What that means from the recruitment perspective is that there is an overwhelming amount of user data (and not only of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin users) out there that you can access by “simple” search if you know what you are looking for and how to look it for it.
What is interesting from the recruitment perspective is that Google has as well noticed this untapped potential and started to build ways to leverage that information better already years ago. And as Google has such a big playground to test and play with I think they are nearer than ever to finally start taking those visible steps that will allow us to understand what they are actually building when they have introduced us the “social network” called Google+.
When discussion around Google+ is still mostly about how low the engagement level is- the question should actually be “does it really matter?” – at least from the recruitment point of view. It has already 400 Million users and growing, and the service is already integrated to search engine and will continue to be more and more integrated part of it. If you live in the US you might have already noticed the differently presented search results when searching for people- this is a clear indicator that Google is working to improve people search capability and experience, and of course use heavily Google+ in it. For example you can already start authorizing the content that is yours and by doing so you can have control over your complete online and social profile that is very valuable reason for more and more people to start using Google+ to manage their online presence in search results. In the near future I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Apply with Google+” as to be the next step after the people search has been completely rolled out. As Linkedin has already done a great job by educating organisations to simplify their application process with Apply with Linkedin, it will not take that long for companies and ATS providers to adapt to this.
What it means for a recruiter is that there is more relevant and richer information much easier to be available about potential candidates. For candidates it means that instead of filling complicated forms one by one you can showcase your skills wherever it is most efficient, just authorize that content to be yours and use your Google+ profile (now as well with vanity URL’s) when starting the discussion about new opportunities.
What is as well notable is that more and more companies are using Google enterprise services and it is no longer an option only for startups. Engagement level amongst those companies as well is rising towards Google+ as they are moving to use Hangouts to replace their current video conferencing tools like Skype, Go To Meeting, WebEx etc. The use for internal collaboration is rising and tools for marketing, like company pages, evolve. Also, the amount of Gmail private users is growing steadily and is now around 425 Million. As we know if you want your content to rank better in Google results you need to share it to Google+ so the engagement level is definitely rising and continues to rise as Google+ has very unique position as a social network that many of us still don’t see.
As I already mentioned, when Google wants, Google+ profiles will come to the top of the search results leading less search traffic to other social networks and boosting again user acquisition and value to join Google+. All this is related to the next generation of search where we are moving from user generated social graph to big data powered knowledge graph that will open an interesting opportunity for Google to power better hires.
What are your views related to the topic? What do you think will happen in this battle or is this going to be replaced by something totally new?