Social data is transforming the way temporary staffing agencies recruit and vet potential candidates. A key lesson in the expansion of this information source is that online profiles often reveal more when recruiters look below the surface. Although the legal field is still catching up to the latent employment landmines connected to social data, staffing agencies should not fear incorporating this into their recruiting efforts.
Instead, staffing agencies should embrace the technology and exploit it to improve their hiring selections for clients. More often than not, recruiters fail to take advantage of the huge quantities of data that exist on potential candidates. Staffing industry experts offer suggestions on how agencies can develop strategies that will transform hiring practices. Including the discovery, analysis and interpretation of social data in the recruitment process can help agencies find strong candidates.
In a recent survey, it was revealed that over 90 percent of employers used social data for recruiting employees in 2012. More than half of companies in the United States recruit candidates through Twitter; close to two-thirds use Facebook and nearly all access profiles on LinkedIn. Use of these social media channels are likely to increase since 43 percent of respondents in the survey believe their access to quality candidates has improved.
A primary driver in an employer’s decision to hire a temporary staffing agency is to save time on recruiting costs. Many employers who use social data for recruiting says it takes less time than other methods of recruiting. Temporary agencies need to take a proactive position in harnessing the power of social media for their clients.
More than ever before, temporary staffing agencies have access to the social data of potential candidates. This dynamic changes the hiring process in more ways than one. While empirical data is still unfolding, there appears to be universal use of some aspects of this technology. Lack of a cohesive strategy has not changed the impact that social media is having in the hiring process. In some cases, temporary staffing agencies might not take the first step towards vetting a candidate.
Candidates may access recruiter accounts on one or more of the social media sites. This could be a career page or news feed. From that point, candidates and recruiters begin to interact. Recruiters now have access to candidate profiles. Currently, this tends to be the most popular way of connecting.
One of the lingering questions surrounding the use of social data is whether such information can predict the future success of a candidate. Technology does exist for temporary staffing agencies to use that may assess certain trends. National agencies are experimenting with big data, which is a new term used to describe massive amounts of data. Different fields, from marketing to human resources are beginning to explore the potential is using this process. With the help of software solutions, some aspects of predictive analysis may apply to the hiring process.
For example, information about candidates who graduated from certain schools, worked at specific companies or live in some regions can be compiled with existing technology. Mega data sets are used for major corporations; smaller efforts are also achievable for agencies that have smaller businesses as clients. Observation of previous hires for permanent and/or temporary positions can be used as a model for making smart hiring decisions in the future.
There are many different websites that temporary staffing agencies can use to research potential candidates. LinkedIn is one of the more popular sites in the United States. One drawback is that every agency that uses social data to hire employees are also fishing from the same pool of choices. This is not unusual since a majority of hiring managers tend to take the path of least resistance when time is a factor in finding the right candidates for clients.
Few have begun to realize that there is an even larger pool beyond the usual places. However, the difference lies in search methods rather than the websites most agencies use. This is where social data can be customized based on the position and company culture, among other variables.
Every position will have different requirements. Even for those that are the same, character traits may differ among clients based on their corporate culture. Finding the not-so-obvious traits is harder when viewing someone’s social profile. However, it is not impossible to look for – and find – traits that set some candidates apart from others.
One way to do this is to look at who candidates are connected to on a social media site. Fellow colleagues and companies that they follow can provide some insight into their career goals. Plugging names of current temporary employees into profile searches allows agency representatives to see with whom they might have worked in the past. That data can be used to compare similar patterns of potential candidates.
Generally, people with similar skill sets are the types of candidates temporary agencies want to hire. This method of using social data makes guilt by association a good thing. This is just one example of how spending time researching various social media groups can uncover many hidden gems that other hiring managers might overlook.
One thing is for certain: social networks have a lot of data for temporary staffing agencies to collect. Developing a logical process based on positions and client needs can guide agencies through information that is significant. They will also be able to discard excess data that does not help in making good hiring choices.
It is easy to become inundated with a massive collection of data without a basis for quality control. Similar to receiving thousands of resumes for one position, temporary staffing agencies can soon find that having large amounts of data is not the same as having good data.
Defining a complete record of information is segregated by the people considered candidates and those who are talent leads. For talent leads, most agency representatives may only have minimal information such as a name and an email address. If that lead is to become a potential candidate, more information is necessary.
Social data can be a positive resource for temporary staffing agencies when the level of information helps them meet recruiting goals. Overcoming the issue of the relevance that people who apply for certain positions have and the quantity of selection.
Many issues remain with the use of resume parsing technology. Some software systems make candidate selections based on key phrases or job titles. More often than not, that process grabs the wrong candidates. Administrative work is required to reconcile errors made with relevant terms.
New technologies that harness the use of social data can also correct errors made by resume parsing systems. The biggest hurdle is getting to a point where the data collection is beneficial to the agency’s hiring goals. Spending excessive amounts of time correcting errors some systems make does not help to simplify the hiring process. Bad data is just as ineffectual as having no data.
While social data provides an innovative way for temporary staffing agencies to find good candidates, there are a few pitfalls to avoid. A deluge of data can easily become lost when vetting candidates. Weeding out good information from the bad is largely dependent on the type of system the agency uses.
Another concern is varying laws about privacy issues and how that may impact hiring decisions. Engaging with some candidates may not be as easy as sending an email or making a phone call if information was gleaned from a private profile.
Additionally, the debate continues on whether potential employers can ask for passwords to social media sites or monitor exchanges on private profiles. Nevertheless, temporary staffing agencies can join other employers already harnessing the power of social data. They can unlock the potential of finding solid candidates in more resourceful ways.