Interview with Awara
There is a lot of talk about using social media in professional recruitment, but some claim it’s all hype. Has anything really changed? If so, what and why?
Database CV collection is dying. Recruiters may boast of voluminous CV databases, but this method is becoming redundant. CVs in such databases get outdated fast and even the biggest recruitment firms can only cover a fraction of the market.
Worldwide, one in five people were regular social network users in 2012. By 2014, this figure will increase to one in four (eMarketer). Social networks are today’s CV databases. They have the edge on traditional databases and job portals because the pool of candidates is much larger and of higher quality. The secret is they’re not looking for a job per se.
What do we mean by social media in a Russian context? What does it include and how does it differ from social media in the West?
Russians spend nearly twice as much time on social networking sites as Americans. Russia is the third most engaged social networking market in the world. The average user spent nearly 9.6 hours on social networking sites in November 2012 (2012, comscore). The fact is 41.9% of the population use social networks.
From a headhunting standpoint, this obviously means that usage of social media networks in Russia is far more important than in most other countries. You can determine, target and find candidates by monitoring the sites they visit. Russians tend to prefer local social networks, like Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte, MoiMir @ Mail.ru, and also of course Facebook. Additionally, they use professional networks, like Professionali.ru, Linkedin, E-xecutive and Moij Krug.
So if social media is such a perfect platform for recruiting, then why would anybody need a recruitment company anymore?
What’s the value of a recruitment company if it’s so easy to do it now through social media networks?
Social media networks haven’t really affected the way headhunters operate. As in the past, they still rely on their personal network and contacts to find the best people. The added value of social media networks is in providing a way to search, identify and contact potential candidates from a wider pool. Everything starts with in depth analysis of online habits, and only a specialized social media recruiter, such as Awara, knows how to do this and define search criteria, how to attract candidates’ attention, and how to target paid ads to get the right people. In short, things must be done correctly. You really need to be a top class specialist to leverage all the possibilities. And at the end of the day you still have to do all the traditional recruiter tasks: assess candidates, persuade them to change, and guide them through the process.
It’s a fallacy to assume that posting a vacancy on social media networks will bag your ideal candidate. Sure, it’s an important part of the process, but not the primary method. To find the best people, you still need to combine social media recruitment with traditional headhunting.
Can you tell us about any success stories you have had with this new social media recruitment approach?
We find great talent for our clients through our dedicated and specialized social media recruitment. The bottom line is that we can access the largest pool of candidates in Russia. For example, for a client in Sochi we were able to source several world-class candidates from social media networks in just two weeks. Pretty good going!
Our formula for success is simple. First, we analyze where potential candidates spend time online. Then we identify the best people and contact them directly. Finally, we assess them and try to find the best match for our clients’ requirements.
What’s your view on the future of using social media networks for recruitment?
We believe that job portals will eventually disappear and recruitment companies will stop using internal CV databases. The future for candidate search is in social networks. Why limit yourself to lower quality in job portals and small numbers in databases? Choose the best by combining extensive knowledge of candidate research in social media networks and professional headhunting. The fact is job searching has changed and now many people use social networks to find and apply for jobs.
How does Awara Direct Search use social media for recruitment?
We use a variety of popular social media networks in Russia, including Vkontakte and Facebook and some niche ones. We especially use professional social networking sites such as Professionali.ru, and of course Linkedin itself. These sites provide a wide candidate base and the best filtering options for candidate searching.
For each assignment we conduct extensive research, analysis and direct search activities. We also target advertising in social media networks to reach only the most suitable candidates in highly segmented groups.
We are members of various industry focus groups in different social media networks. Here we network with lead-generating experts who may also be potential candidates for us. We actively take part in conversations, share free and useful information to attract talent and build long-lasting and effective relationships. We believe that 80% of our website and social media network content is useful for our followers. Push marketing is dead, long live pull marketing! Today it’s about creating personal, timely and relevant communication.
This article was originally published in The Moscow Times (Job & Careers, Spring 2013)