As the Internet makes a bigger impact on the recruitment industry we are starting to see recruitment agencies enter into a second state of disruption in South Africa.

The first state of disruption that the recruitment industry experienced due to the internet lead to the creation of Job’s Boards and career websites like Career Junction. Some campaniles struggled, and still struggle, to make this transition in business as their industry started to take on a very digital approach.

The second state of disruption facing the recruitment industry comes in the form of social technology. Recruitment agencies now find themselves in a stage of their digital evolution that forces them to harness social media websites and online head-hunting strategies to find new candidates.

I believe that the biggest shift between these two states is the role that digital technology plays in each stage.

Social Business in Recruitment

Finding and Processing Applicants

In the first state digital technology allowed recruitment agencies to manage their influx of applications for jobs they had on the market. A strong digital presence would also have increased the number of applications for each job. This data was then processed and matched to the job specification criteria. Once the match was made consultants often took the candidate into the interview stages of the recruitment process.

The biggest challenge in this state was the management of MORE. Job boards and the likes, created huge volumes of online applications and instead of more quality, the truth was was that the value often stopped at quantity of candidates. The second state of disruption offers agencies the opportunity to take the recruitment process further.

Head-hunting and Career Management

Social media channels have opened up the landscape for websites like Linkedin to operate. In South Africa, Linkedin users has almost doubled between 2010 and 2011. Currently sitting of just over 1 million South African users Linkedin seems poised to make a huge impact on the South African Recruitment Industry.

Social media website allow companies, agencies and entrepreneurs to head-hunt people online to find the right candidate. Today’s candidate are using websites link Linkedin to manage their business networking, personal branding and career planning. They understand by putting their best step forward (creating great online CV’s, collecting recommendations and networking with new potential business connections) they can set the stage for companies to approach them instead of the other way around. In other words social media, if used correctly by the candidate, could create a more powerful negotiation tool.

The Up’s and Down’s

The plus side for companies and recruitment agencies is that they can research potential candidates from a pool of high quality candidates.

The downside for recruitment agencies, and one of the most important disruptions to address, is that these resources are available directly to your clients. In South Africa I have already started to hear of big business investing into social media websites to improves recruitment practices. In other words, if not dealt with carefully, this new disruption in the recruitment industry could start taking money out of the recruitment industry.

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