Social Recruitment in Europe

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A word of caution. European employers using online social media when hiring have sounded a note of caution, questioning the trustworthiness and accuracy of a potential candidate’s LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn celebrated its 10th birthday anniversary on Monday. I was based in APAC when LinkedIn was born and the pitch back then felt more like a sales tool, than a talent solutions/recruitment business. In the world of HR, I still see very few HR Leaders online and those I have seen it is as LinkedIn mention 10 years ago – letting you keep in touch with people you know, for many a self updating address book.

LinkedIn: Finding People For Projects or Collaboration

LinkedIn 2003: Finding People For Projects or Collaboration

That said, with so many companies migrating to platforms like LinkedIn for recruitment licences and employer branding campaigns – one can easily imagine the candidates saturating the platform, the idea of reaching critical mass adoption on the other side spells trouble, as everyone will be up for hire, all the time, for many jobs – globally! Other factors come into play like developed economies v developing/emerging economies, which go so far as to explain why some of our members suggest it more difficult to recruit using LinkedIn in Germany/Switzerland (Difficult) versus Mexico/Brazil (Easier).

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Europe and North America combined account for 65% of LinkedIn’s Membership – the larger portion belonging to North America. Xing definitely affects their traction in Central Europe and Viadeo in France.

HRN-Europe-Linkedin

The biggest concern is the opportunity for job hunters to exaggerate experience and skills. I have observed a few people over the years receive glowing character references on their abilities, skills (endorsements), experiences and would beg to differ. Validation is needed which is why I would love to see more companies like Chequed.com (Not a client or member) here in Europe.

I love LinkedIn and Facebook, so don’t want to sound like a social geek frustrated with download speeds not being adequate … what do you mean no wifi on the airplane?! LinkedIn are listening to their customers so using endorsement function better enables employers with skill search (references have been around forever and sit on the fence with references). Do endorsements measure actual online/real-world influence/capability/experience/expertise/interest? That said click endorse button at 4 connections a click, in 10 seconds you can endorse 40 people globally for 40 different competencies - that feels too trigger happy for it to be on target/effective. Can someone/everyone credibly endorse on 40 different competencies?

On References: Recently, a friend reached out to me via Facebook about a LinkedIn reference request he had received – the director of his old employer asked him for a reference on LinkedIn.  My friend declined given the request was untrue – the director had never helped in his learning and development but was asking for a reference specifically on this.

Here is the original email from his ex-Director. 

Dear X,

I recently started moderating sales training’s for our clients. Can I ask you for a short recommendation on LinkedIn?

Just a few words like

…I was involved in a sales training conducted by X. His training truly contributed to my successful career in business development, sales and key account management. I recommend him as a trainer for consultative selling….

Farcical? True story – imagine what is really happening if I am seeing this sort of stuff happening behind closed curtains, consider I am spending 80% less time on LinkedIn than I was 3-4 years ago. I am sure it happens much more than people think and not just with references but right across the board. I have noticed as a recruiter, I see most inaccuracies (intentional or not) in employment time periods. Either-ways, my point?

This is Europe. We have cowboys over here as well.

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About Marc Coleman

Marc is founder and Managing Director of the Pan European HR Network. He is responsible primarily for strategy, member networking, product development and business development.

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