Part 2: A Paradigm Shift As Companies Respond to Social
As our story of Living in Confluence continues, we will look at how companies and organizations responded to the rise of social in talent acquisition. The first article, the disruption of the status quo by the social phenomenon created significant complications when it comes to attracting and engaging talent. What really happened with the rise of social is the balance of power had shifted from organizations to the individuals who were participating in online social activities.
The migration from Web 1.0 (static web content) to Web 2.0 (conversation enabled platforms) was immediately felt by marketing. Corporate marketing woke up one morning to find out they were no longer in control of their brand. The respective brands were controlled by their customers as they voiced opinions about the brand online. It seemed that customers when they asked a question actually expected a response. Many top brands were met with widespread negative publicity when they failed to address the concerns of their customers. Opinions, both good and bad, spread virally and virtually as customers self-segmented and self-identified themselves with affinity groups around products or brands or professions.
This introduction of Web 2.0 with its expectation of conversation really complicated things in three areas of talent acquisition.
The growth and proliferation of social changed the paradigm for organizations
The visibility and identification of target talent was greatly increased in the social sphere
The failure to adapt to the new paradigm resulted in “social disasters.”
The growth of online affinity and self-segmentation has continued on the leading social networking sites. FaceBook and LinkedIn are imagining membership in the billions. Twitter has enjoyed amazing growth as everyone has turned into a blogger; as long as the message is short. YouTube has quietly become the third largest search engine and has become one of the more captivating social recruiting channels. Google+ arrived on the scene with its focus on circles, hangouts and cool methods of communication. Newcomer Pinterest has taken the social world by storm and offers another way to communicate with each other by sharing images that are important to our lives.
For sourcing and recruiting, the challenge of talent identification has been simplified; given that most professionals can now be found on the web. Simultaneously, the task of talent engagement has become more challenging as each of the social platforms has a unique social protocol that is expected to be honored. And like our colleagues in marketing, we are no longer in control of our brand. Further, effective recruiting in the “Web 2.0 world,” will require companies to have a conversation with the job prospects. The potential is there for job prospects to create the same viral and virtual feedback as they think of themselves as customers of our employment brands.
Most of the social media books describe real and potential “social disasters” that can occur when your customers, fans or the general public is ignored. Perhaps the most interesting was the story of “Dell Hell” pinned by writer Jeff Jarvis. The short version is that Dell customer service, marketing, or any other group was not available to when Jarvis from complained about his experience with their product. He wrote a blog titled, “Dell Lies. Dell Sucks.” Jarvis’s post resonated with the general public and created a firestorm of criticism. Since the blog was written in 2005, Dell has become one of leaders in using Web 2.0 for customer and public interaction. In fact, Dell is now using its fans to make suggestions for product innovation. This innovation has carried over into talent acquisition with Dell keeping social front and center in their strategy.
Last summer, after a presentation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I asked thought leader Charlene Li what her greatest surprise was since writing Groundswell. As you may recall, Groundswell, was a breakthrough analysis of social media adoption and predictions on its adoption by business and industry. In that context, Charlene answered that she was surprised by the lack of acceptance of Web 2.0 by many enterprises as well as their failure to embrace a real social strategy.
The disruptive nature of social has required organizations to accept the fact that how we are perceived rests in the minds of our customers, fans and the general public. In the old days (Web 1.0), we could control and greatly influence our brand; today we can only provide our perspective and participate in the conversation. To the extent that organizations have accepted this new paradigm and adapted to it is part of the reason that we are living in confluence.
So, why do organizations need to adapt to this new paradigm? One area of danger for talent acquisition, is what I believe to be a ticking social time bomb that exists when these customers of our employment brand experience the applicant tracking technology that are used by most larger organizations. While, these applicant tracking systems provide gains in efficiency and metric ability, the major complaint by applicants that their resumes seem to be going into a “black hole,” is becoming more common. The human touch seems to be lacking in “human resources.” Web 2.0 recruiting requires more of a human engagement to meet the expectations of job prospects.
Next time, in Part 3 of Its Complicated, we will explore how talent acquisition is attempting to put the human touch back into our process while taking advantage of visibility to our target audiences on the social web.
Each time I see “it’s complicated,” I know that there is a story to be heard. But before the story, let me put this blog post in context. Previously, I proclaimed in Happy 2013—Here We Go Again that the confluence of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 was one of the three overarching challenges facing talent acquisition in 2013. This is the backstory of my observation and its a little complicated.
The story of talent acquisition in the 21st Century is complex, complicated and compelling. We are in a period of confluence where Web 1.0 (old school) and Web 2.0 (new school) tactics are simultaneously used successfully. Instead of Web 1.0 giving way to Web 2.0 and converging, certain aspects of Web 1.0 continues to work successfully. Frankly, until recently, I believed that our socially oriented society would make the more static old school approaches obsolete. That just has not been the case. What seems more likely is that both approaches will coexist until they merge into Web 3.0. So, what is taking so long? Before we explore this confluence more extensively, let’s review talent acquisition how we arrived at where we are in 2013.
The recruiting world began to change in 2005; at least it changed in terms of job seeker behavior online behavior. A quiet migration occurred from job seekers using job boards to find a job; to using key word searches to find a job. The first people to notice the shift were the job boards themselves; and to combat the decline in applicant traffic, they began to advertise their client’s jobs on search engines.
The job boards used the relatively new approaches of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure that their jobs were listed or ranked higher in search engine results. The job boards learned how to make their keywords and links match the method by which Google, Yahoo, & Bing determined how to list the content for key word searches. Not only did the job boards make up for the declining traffic of job seekers going to their sites, they now were actually increasing visitors to the job boards with using SEO. The job board clients unknowingly established job boards as the middle man in their SEO efforts.
Around this time, metasearch engines began to appear on the scene and aggregated web content. Some aggregators (Indeed, Simply Hired, JuJu, et al) focused vertically on the “jobs category” to distribute job postings throughout an increasingly larger network. As these vertical aggregators became better known, the role of job boards as the middleman was more transparent. Some early adopters began to work directly with the aggregators and take the job boards out of the middle position. Today, it is well understood that job related key word searches on Google create as much activity on in one month, as the traffic is directed to Monster.com in one year.
Recruitment marketing platforms, such as Jobs2Web and TalentBrew came on the scene and allow organizations to manage their Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. These platforms provide companies with the ability to self-manage and metric all the moving parts of a company’s online strategy
At the same time the job search behavior changed, so did the number of people that people that active on the web. A very interesting social change had occurred; the web that began as individual activity as people surfing the web was changing to a very social place. People were flocking to the web and engaging in very social type of activities. This desire for conversations caused enormous growth in FaceBook, YouTube, and Twitter. Even established platforms liked LinkedIn took steps to become more social by adding more robust groups features to meet this demand caused by this Web 2.0 (a desire for online conversations) phenomenon.
The world of talent acquisition was becoming increasingly complicated. The changing landscape of technologies coupled with the changing consumer behaviors required a corresponding paradigm shift by organizations in order to function in this new social world. We will explore this next time in Part 2 of It’s Complicated.