Social networking and recruitment in the Czech Republic
We speak with Erik Heidefors from Reed Specialist Recruitment
Social networking is becoming an increasingly important part of business, including the recruitment process. For this article, we asked Erik Heidefors, business manager - sales & marketing at Reed Specialist Recruitment in the Czech Republic, about the role of social networking in helping companies fill posts.
Can you briefly describe how social networking sites are used in the recruitment process?
Social networking sites are becoming increasingly linked to professional recruitment activities. However, a distinction needs to be made between "company" recruitment versus "agency" recruitment and between various types of agencies. Companies mostly use social networking sites "passively," rarely as an active tool in recruitment. On the other hand, agencies (particularly those dealing with mid to senior level positions) do use it as an essential tool in identifying and then contacting key talent as part of their efforts to bring over experienced professionals for their clients.
What are the main the advantages of this recruitment method?
Although you do not get to see a candidate´s full CV, certain sites like LinkedIn offer a glimpse of his/her career, making it much easier and faster to identify whether that person has the required experience for the job. It´s also often easier to contact the candidate and then to be able to obtain references since the individual's network is more visible.
How are social networking sites changing the recruitment process?
Frankly, it makes the "headhunting" process easier and more effective, as we are quickly able to identify whether a person could be a good match for a position and whether or not s/he is actually interested in changing jobs. Furthermore, it enables recruitment companies in particular to be more effective in their search methods. Overall, we are able to identify a greater number of suitable and interested candidates for a particular job.
How are niche recruitment sites used in recruitment?
They are used increasingly frequently as the recruitment industry continues to move away from using traditional "job sites." In fact, when companies are searching for more specific (typically more senior) positions, they essentially have to use these sources to identify the correct candidates. As more and more job traffic is driven away from job boards and into social networking, referring candidates by using various other sites becomes essential. In fact, those niche sites are becoming "mass" sites.
Overall, how effective is the use of social networking in recruitment, e.g. in terms of targeting positions to specific candidates?
It´s relatively effective: it gets us closer to finding the right candidate. Nevertheless, a comprehensive interview concerning that person´s experience and future interests is still the necessary tool to obtain the full picture. And despite the head start that it gives us, it´s still essential to go through the entire recruitment process (interviewing, reference checking, testing, etc.) before the candidate can actually be matched to a specific position.
When did social networking start to be used as a recruitment tool in the Czech Republic?
The first few sites started to be used actively around 2000. However, I´d say that it was not until somewhere between 2005 and 2010 that it really became an essential part of professional agency search tools. The market for social networking is still growing, with the more junior and senior level candidates joining professional websites, and the general working population is beginning to understand the importance of keeping an up-to-date "public profile".
How does this compare with other countries?
This is a global rather than local trend and hence the differences are minimal. There are some small divergences in terms of which sites that are used in particular countries; however, as we have seen time and time again, the most efficient and user-friendly site is the one that becomes the winner, and in terms of professional social networks, the current front runner is definitely LinkedIn.com.
Are Czech recruiters/job seekers more or less willing to use social networking sites than those of other countries?
The answer to this is probably very similar to the one above. In addition, perhaps, I would like to add that the younger generation is probably more similar all across the world (again, due to the increase in electronic communication) than perhaps was the case of the older generation.
Are there any particular characteristics of the Czech recruitment sector in terms of social networking site use?
No, not really. Czechs and expats in the Czech Republic use LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook, and Twitter just like everyone else.
Which social networking sites are most commonly used in the Czech Republic?
LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook and Twitter
Which is the most popular site in the Czech Republic and why?
LinkedIn.com: it´s the only predominantly professionally oriented site in the Czech Republic. There are some competitors around, but by and large, LinkedIn is by far the most popular. Google + may perhaps pose a challenge to LinkedIn in the long term, but the simplicity of LinkedIn and its straightforward connection to business gives it both an advantage and a head start.
What types of companies use social networking as a recruitment tool?
The innovative ones do. On the client side, it´s primarily the medium-sized to large enterprises, and on the agency side, it tends to be the more global and the more dynamic companies that implement social networking as a part of their recruitment tools. Just like we´re seeing a growth in the demand for online marketing/eCommerce professionals as opposed to "traditional" marketing staff, we´ll see growth in the demand for innovative, socially network driven recruitment consultants.
What types of positions are advertised using social networking, e.g. junior, management, etc.?
Any and all. However, again, the most effective social advertising is for those roles that range from middle to senior management level - the section of the workforce currently most active in professional social networking. However, companies and agencies alike are already advertising a complete range of jobs, and I have a strong feeling that these new types of job boards will continue to grow.
What types of job candidates use social networking sites?
Primarily, it´s the mid to senior level management positions that use social networking, essentially, for the very junior level positions, traditional job agencies still tend to be the preferred choice. For the very top segment of candidates/company CEOs, etc. (usually the slightly older segment as well), social networking isn´t quite as frequent yet.
How can social networking be used in niche marketing?
It can be used very effectively. Once you have a specialization within your social networking network, then you are able to very effectively target your audience. Sales managers for example can communicate their new products, services, or discounts very efficiently once they have a larger, more targeted group of contacts. In addition, many of these networks behave like "living organisms," or databases that update automatically, which tremendously improves efficiency in reaching a desired relevant target audience (whether it´s done via website advertisements or via message posting)
Can you describe the relationship between social networking sites and long-established recruitment methods, e.g. job adverts?
The difference between the two is that if you are looking for more junior level positions, e.g. a marketing specialist or office manager, then a simple advertisement will be sufficient to attract a sufficient candidate pool (at least for larger companies with strong brands). However, if you are looking for more senior expert positions, then an advertisement alone has a very small chance of targeting the right person and an even smaller chance of attracting that candidate to apply. On the other hand, social networking allows us to eventually find exactly the right candidate with the relevant experience - it simply becomes a question of how long it will take to find that star individual.
Overall, how important are networking sites in recruitment in the Czech Republic?
They´re very important. And their importance will surely continue to grow. I´d even venture to say that networking sites are now accounting for more than 50% of recruitment activities (at least in terms of information gathering, referring to other interested candidates, initiating contacts, and eventually even obtaining references for selected candidates).
How has the recent economic downturn affected (if at all) the use of social networking sites?
It´s difficult to say. However, I´d note that social networks are a natural improvement on the speed and efficiency of communication and hence I believe that social networking will grow naturally, regardless of the global economic situation. On the other hand, I believe that the economic downturn only had a positive impact on the popularity of social networking, since it has in some ways forced companies to find alternative cost savings as a means of recruiting.
How do you see the future of social networking in recruitment in the Czech Republic?
I see it as an integral part of professional recruitment services. As previously mentioned, there are certain segments of the job market (junior roles and the very very top roles) that still haven´t been fully absorbed by social networking. However, all indicators point to them being included in the future. Therefore, every statistic and "gut feeling" tells me that it´s here to stay and that it will fundamentally transform the way recruitment is done. We already speak to candidates that refer us to their online networking profiles when we ask them for CVs, and although we don´t accept this approach yet, in the future we may have to do so.
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