Social media has seeped into the lives of all those connected to it, with the working world being no exception. LinkedIn in particular has become a sphere unto itself for professionals, recruiters and companies for promotion, hiring and marketing purposes. So how big an impact has LinkedIn made?
Theo Smit, managing director at nexTLeaders Recruitment Partners, says LinkedIn has become an extremely powerful tool in South Africa for both business marketing and recruiting, but more so for recruiters and internal talent acquisition teams in companies.
“The market is moving to a self-service model and as such, most sophisticated organisations attempt to do their own recruitment, using LinkedIn as their main sourcing tool,” Smit says. “Online presence and brand presence is built by using LinkedIn company pages and also the job advertisement section of LinkedIn.”
Smit’s take is South African recruiters and corporates have become too reliant on LinkedIn to source talent, with not every single economically active professional individual active on the platform.
“The concept of linking with someone on LinkedIn has also eroded the in-person or human element of connecting an individual to an organisation,” he says.
The main reason for this occurring, Smit believes, is cost, with organisations thinking that it is easier to reach to prospective talent directly.
Positioning the brand in the right place, in the right way
Daniel Munslow, principal consultant for South Africa at recruitment specialists VMA Group and a member of the steering committee for the 2016 Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa conference, says LinkedIn has become an ever more influential tool for companies to position their businesses in a professional environment to prospective candidates.
“We have noticed in the last two years or so, the strategic shift companies are making in terms of positioning their corporate brand on LinkedIn and their consumer brand on other social platforms like Twitter and Facebook,” Munslow says. “For example, a car manufacturer will talk about their company, culture, history, research and development, career opportunities, etc on their LinkedIn page; and then use Facebook to promote new car models and competitions.”
Munslow says an ever-growing number of companies are also posting vacancies on LinkedIn and encouraging candidates to explore more about the company on their public profiles.
“Having said this, a number of clients that have collected CVs on LinkedIn through posting jobs, still send the resumes over to a recruitment firm to screen them and go through the standard recruitment processes.”
This is largely because of the time-consuming aspect of reviewing all the resumes that are sent through and doing the necessary checks to arrive at a manageable shortlist for busy HR practitioners.
Munslow says in the 2015 VMA Group Africa Communication Survey, the question was posed to nearly 200 communication practitioners who responded to the survey, ‘How did you find your current role?’
“The responses revealed that 20% found their current job through a talent search firm; 20% through a personal contact; 16% were headhunted by a company directly; 7% were promoted through internal vacancies; and despite all the jobs being posted on LinkedIn, not one of the respondents said they were placed as a result of responding to a LinkedIn job ad,” he says.
“It will be interesting to compare the 2015 and 2016 results when the next survey is released in April.”
Points to remember
Jayson Demers, founder and CEO of content marketing agency Audience Bloom, lists seven points every professional on LinkedIn needed to know in an article for Inc.com. These included being judged based on your profile, your personal brand should be treated like a brand, people will notice spam and advertising, and a personal touch goes a long way.
Asked about the pros and cons of using LinkedIn, Smit says a well thought of and professional looking profile were imperative.
“In a sea of online profiles, make sure that they stand out, especially if you want to get noticed. Updating your LinkedIn profile is a good thing … your work colleagues and boss, however, perceive this as that you are looking for a new role,” he says.
Munslow, focusing on the pros, said it primarily created a solid professional network, keeping abreast of developments with companies they follow, while making professionals more visible, searchable and providing search firms with easier access to potential candidates.
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