How Social Media Affects the Staffing Industry – Part 2

153911435In this two-part series on the effect of social media on the staffing industry, I’ve discussed its role in job seekers and companies finding each other as well as the rise of project-based staffing. Here, I want to discuss LinkedIn and how social media requires a change in the staffing industry’s mindset.

LinkedIn. LinkedIn deserves special attention in this discussion as it is truly taking the spotlight within the staffing industry as a primary source of both job search and job posting.

LinkedIn is a community of professionals with more than 225 million members, made up of both individuals and companies, scattered around more than 200 countries, and this member base is growing at an impressive pace, on a daily basis.  This means the site provides access to a huge pool of both professionals and companies, at just a click away.

Moreover, LinkedIn offers a range of options in job searching and job finding.

It allows professionals to show their professional history, list their key skills, and look for and save jobs they are interested in. Professionals can furthermore recommend or be recommended for jobs, connections and business opportunities by members of their networks. Users can also become members of LinkedIn Groups of interest, allowing them to connect to companies or people they would like to potentially work with, and to build a bigger professional network. Users can also search companies of interest and find different information about them, including company statistics or a list of present and former employees.


Companies can, in turn, post job openings on the site, which become instantly viewable by the entire LinkedIn member base. LinkedIn also recommends relevant jobs to specific people through its ‘Jobs You May Be Interested In’ feature, based on the user’s profile. Moreover, companies can forward their job openings to their first degree connections in order to get referrals from them for potential candidates. Companies can also use the ‘Profile Match’ option to filter the most relevant candidates for the position. Employers furthermore have the option to run reference searches on applicants through the ‘Search for references’ link.

Thus, LinkedIn is acting as a job listing platform, résumé-building capability, connection-forging space, network-expansion site, people-search engine and referral system all at the same time, among other roles. Moreover, this is all happening online, across geographical limits or time zones, in a time-efficient, cost-effective and user-friendly manner.


Mindset change. One of the most profound ways in which social media has affected the staffing industry is really a change in the mindset of how people can find and be found.

Just as LinkedIn illustrates above, social media is penetrating the industry as a fresh, more personal way of conducting a job or candidate search. People can check out other people’s profiles, establish connections, make referrals or get in touch with former employees, among many other options to get personal.

This, however, goes much beyond LinkedIn. People and brands have the opportunity to connect to each other through a number of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and blogs.

There is thus a much more direct, personal approach between employers and jobseekers, through the many communication channels afforded by social media.

Moreover, people coming to the workforce today are much more tech-savvy and at ease with a range of social media tools, which they probably use already on a daily basis. Thus, turning to social media to find others and be found is becoming more of a given for the new workforce, rather than a novelty. This personal, closer interaction is becoming part of the new worker’s mindset, and hence affecting the staffing industry as a whole.

The changing role of traditional recruiting companies.. All of this, in turn, means that the role of traditional recruiting agencies is changing, and this trend is yet another very big impact of social media on the staffing industry.

Not only are the venues for communication between jobseeker and employer more direct, but using social media is much more cost-friendly as well. Many sites are free to join and only require a small fee to perform certain actions; whether it is a commission taken by a freelance platform or a payment made to a site for posting a job, these new ways of looking for and finding skills is costing much less than using traditional recruiting agencies. Managers have the possibility to access thousands of skills without going through agencies.

As social media moves increasingly forward and new online opportunities are created for both jobseekers and employers, traditional recruiting agencies need to re-strategize in order to survive in face of the mounting online competition.

Perhaps re-directing efforts toward highly specialized, top management, executive searches answers a gap still left by social media today. Focusing on a specific, high-level niche of jobseekers may be the way forward, but traditional recruiting agencies need to watch out for what is happening online as the social media landscape keeps changing and growing.

MORE: Apathy: The performance culture’s greatest threat

Steve Nicholls

Steve Nicholls
Steve Nicholls is the author of Social Media in Business. A former business executive, bridges the language gap between those developing new technology and the senior executives who need to implement it to keep their company¹s competitive edge.

Steve Nicholls

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