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What One Million kiwis on LinkedIn means for Recruitment

By November 28, 2013One Comment

Two press releases this week seem to suggest that we in New Zealand have hit some kind of purple patch in the social networking and social recruiting stakes.  In the well-versed role of plucky underdog we so enjoy playing, it’s like all our noise and bluster in this area has finally been noticed and we’re pulling ourselves well clear of the relegation zone of social recruiting also-rans.

First up we had LinkedIn announcing that they had reached 1 million members in New Zealand.  That’s quite incredible when you think it accounts for about half of our working population.  The press release also saw fit to highlight some of our better-known corporates as leading the way using LinkedIn for recruitment, so I’m assuming that ASB Bank, Fisher and Paykel, NZ Post, Vodafone, and Xero are all heavily invested in their premium Recruiter products.

I then spied a press release yesterday that crept out with rather less fanfare (until the Herald pick it up obviously, seeing as “clickable” press releases take precedence over decent journalism these days).  A Kelly Services survey, conducted globally but including input from 3,500 New Zealanders, has revealed that us kiwis have just about edged out our Aussie compatriots in utilising social media as a recruitment tool:

“New Zealand has been pretty receptive to online technologies, because the underlying sense of geographic isolation is almost entirely negated by the internet and social media… More and more New Zealanders are turning to social media to discuss their work, and canvas job openings and career choices.”

I’ve been a fan of using social media for recruitment ever since Julia Stones was at Sheffield and asked me in 2007 why I wasn’t on LinkedIn as one of my competitors was… So in many ways these types of press releases please me, vindicate all of my rants and rambles around this area to some degree, and I’m happy to hand out some virtual back-patting to our community for getting on board and making an impression <pat, pat>

But I take it all with a pinch of salt, these days.  Let’s not forget the real reason for missives such as these: LinkedIn want to let their client base know how wide their network has now spread and highlight some brands who are using their premium products – look out for the “keeping up with the Joneses” technique accompanying future sales pitches of their Recruiter suite of products.  Kelly’s probably want to remind us that they’re still out there, and can use survey results from such a popular topic to get more eyeballs back on their brand again.

As we in New Zealand start to really get what social media can mean for recruiting and job seeking, those in more digitally-developed parts of the world are approaching fatigue levels.  US recruitment commentator Matt Charney unleashed a finely-worded rant last week debunking the “recruitment trends” of Boolean Strings, Mobile and Employer Branding that he’s bored of hearing about.  He hit such a nerve that he felt compelled to vent his spleen further and this week took on the myth of Social Recruiting:

“…social networks aren’t actually a recruiting strategy – they’re a platform which should augment, not replace, old school, albeit decidedly unsexy, efforts like posting jobs, cold calling and networking with your actual network, online or otherwise”

Both posts are well worth a read and put in perspective the news we’ve been fed here in NZ this week.  Whilst it’s certainly clear that if you’re in Recruitment, or even HR for that matter, and NOT on LinkedIn, then you might as well just quit now (there’s 41 sheep farmers on there for Christ’s sake).  However, it’s also become clear that social media has just created more choice in what channels we post jobs and search for talent.  The fact we can engage and converse through it can work wonders, but only if you’re naturally that way inclined in the first place, and actually care about what you’re doing as a recruiter.  A job ad chucked up on Twitter with no other engagement around it or either side of it is no more than a SEEK ad, although will doubtless be seen by far less people…

And speaking of SEEK, thank you for putting on such a fine client event yesterday, which I was fortunate to attend.  Ultimately, it is the real-life, face-to-face networking at events like these that really gets results in the longer term.  Whilst it’s great we in NZ have embraced social to such an extent, don’t lose sight of the fact that it is often just an enabler to reach and engage with more people, that does no more than open the door to a conversation about a job opportunity, albeit with the ice slightly broken.

While we’re on the subject, I’ll finish with a link to our own Christmas #RicePowWow event which is now less than 2 weeks away.  These are always awesome networking opportunities with some of our industry’s top operators and this Quarter we’re having a quick fire presentation from the livewire Carol Howard of Black Birds Three.

I hope to see some of you Whiteboard readers there to toast 2013!

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.

One Comment

  • Amanda says:

    Fab post as usual Jonathan. It’s one of my pet peeves when recruiters, who think they are doing ‘that social thing that everyone else is doing’, put ads up on LinkedIn and twitter and then clap their hands together in glee that they’ve actually achieved something different from normal recruitment. Social Media is, funningly enough, all about being social – it enhances the face to face interaction and, as you point out, is a good icebreaker. It is not a replacement for actually engaging in a conversation. I’m over people either using it as a replacement or an excuse to not get involved!

    That’s my rant over, now off to do some work to try and change it 🙂