Here is a question for all recruiters and HR professionals: If your organization relies heavily on the use of social media, LinkedIn or search tools to fill your candidate pool – Is there not a risk that you are restricting the supply of talent your business needs by overlooking the potential of the broader market? Are you also risking a breach of Equal Opportunities legislation?
I am more interested in the spirit of Equal Opportunties legislation here than the exact wording or the nuances of the law in different countries. I believe the root of all this legislation is very simple and most people would agree that everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, physical ability, religious belief etc. deserves an equal chance of being employed by you determined by selection criteria based on the job to be done… simple!
Most organizations of any stature have equal opportunity policies (they may even have been legal counsel approved)…job done…? or is there something that has been overlooked? If your process only really kicks in once you have a candidate selection pool… how are you forming that pool in the first instance?
Let’s go fishing for talent
The sea is rich in life. There are species of sealife that can feed you, kill you or cure you. If I am a bit lazy and short of time it’s easy to stand on the banks of a local lake that has been stocked with trout for sportsmen just like me… Caught 7 today … All Trout! Even if I venture away from the local trout stocked lake and onto the high seas in a boat with only shrimp bait on board it’s a fair bet that we know what we will catch.
The pitfalls of candidate pre-selection
My argument is this. Everybody (even although we try to be aware of the danger) is prone to personal prejudice. If your organzation is overly reliant on Social media and LinkedIn style talent attraction then you run a risk of having a starting pool of talent (i.e. the talent pool that becomes subject to your Equal Opportunity selection policy and from which you select your shortlist for interview) that does not represent the wider market.
After all, not everyone is to be found on social or business network sites – indeed I wonder if there will be a growing split in the use of these sites with millions creating profiles but also those (especially senior candidates) pulling back from them on concerns over privacy etc. Add to this the potential personal bias of recruiters when they are searching for talented people and the concern is clear.
Social and Network recruiting – finding the right mix
There are plenty of arguments for using tailored search within Social and Specialist Network sites – the ability to identify candidates in these ways is exciting and been proven time and time again.
I run the risk here of taking the fishing analogy a little too far but remember that if you only ever fish with a few different types of bait you are potentially missing the very special, the unusual and the unknown.
Find ways to engage with those who don’t yet know you and those who simply have never signed up to the networks you are using … sometimes you need to trawl with a much bigger and different shaped net.