The Social Media Job Search: Is It All Over but the Shouting?

Posted on May 12, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Lately I’ve noticed an interesting trend when it comes to social media and the employment process. Everyone in the hiring world seems to have something they need, be it a job seeker looking for a job or a hiring pro looking to fill a position, and from both sides, I keep hearing that there is no one out there to fulfill these needs. Somehow there aren’t enough jobs, and yet when there are jobs, there aren’t people to fill them.

How can that be?

I spend a lot of time on the main social media sites. I joined as a career professional, and quickly found that many wonderful recruiters and job seekers are out there. As someone who spends his day trying to help job seekers through the job search process, I saw this as an opportunity to build connections for my clientele as well as for the candidates I meet on these sites. After all, isn’t that what these sites are for? To build connections?

But here is a typical day:

Job seeker: “Looking for PHP Developer position; willing to relo; 10 years exp.”

Recruiter: “Filling PHP Developer posting; must have 5+ years exp.”

Seems like a no-brainer, right? At the very least, these two people need to speak! But I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to be the conduit to make that happen, and I hear excuses from both sides as to why they don’t want to pursue it BEFORE they have even met!

On the one hand, the job seeker is skeptical of the recruiter and, I don’t know, maybe a little gun shy or something. So the job seeker is content to spend all day scanning job boards for positions that are likely no longer even open. Give the job seeker a name of yet another job board, and off they go happy as a clam!

On the other hand, the recruiter really doesn’t want to speak with job seekers after all. The recruiter would prefer someone currently employed or … something. Sometimes they actually seem to want me to screen these candidates for them instead of actually making a phone call and finding out.

I have to admit this is a head-scratcher for me.

To the recruiter: If you’re not there to recruit, what are you there to do? Talk with other recruiters?

To the job seeker: If you’re not there to actually speak with someone, what are you there to do? Shout out how no one is helping you?

Some wise soul out there might argue that this an old conundrum playing out in a new scene, and that is probably true. But it makes me question the ability of social media to really sustain itself as an effective job search tool. And let’s face it, in many regards, job seekers (those active and those “passive”) as well as career professionals are really driving the movement right now.

Of course, I am speaking in generalities here, and people love to tell the news media all the success stories they’ve heard of regarding job seekers finding leads for positions through social media connections, but as someone who is out there each day trying to help foster these success stories, I’m seeing mostly just disconnections. A lot of chirping with very little action behind it.

Believe me. I like a good idea, just like the next guy. I have certainly met some wonderful people through social media, but as a job search tool, sadly, I am not that impressed. And it’s not because the possibility isn’t there for it to be a good avenue. The problem isn’t the technology; its just good, old-fashioned human nature.

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