The relationship between companies and job candidates is evolving. Social media channels like LinkedIn and Glassdoor are creating new types of opportunities and changing the way employers and potential employees engage with each other. A new transparency and accountability on both sides is allowing candidates and companies to take greater control of their search.

What it means for candidates

Time was when people would find a job by putting on their best suit, leaving the house, knocking on doors and handing out CVs until someone took them on. Over time and with expansion of job markets and the capacity to commute this changed to writing letters and staging interviews to decide between the qualified candidates. With the digital revolution there’s been another step change.

The birth of social media means nearly all of us now have a public presence. The successful job-seeker needs to act as their own PR manager when negotiating their job search and make sure they are presenting their best side to the wider world.

In the past, the application process would be restricted to a written submission and an interview or two where the candidate would present the best version of themselves. Then when they were ready to move to another job in a few years’ time they would go through the same managed process. However, nowadays, the ubiquity of social media means that a regular and consistent presence on a business-networking platform like LinkedIn is expected too. In a way, candidates can be assessed constantly, not just on the day of their interview.

While referencing business networking sites is usually unproblematic, it’s worth noting that employers who use information about a candidate taken from the more personal social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram could be breaking the law. This is particularly the case if the candidate did not agree to the information being used in this way or the employer looks at some social media profiles and not others.

This brings with it the risk of discrimination based on factors other than the candidate’s professional suitability for the role. Recruiters need to remain respectful of personal boundaries.

Positives for people

Building a considered profile, making regular contributions to the debate in their field and embracing the positives of social platforms can give candidates an advantage and set them apart from the recruitment competition. Many candidates understand and embrace this, with some undertaking training sessions on the importance of using social media channels to find a new role.

It is a hugely powerful medium for employees and can remove the traditional barriers to the job application process. They have the platform to show off to potential employers why they need to be hired and direct access to take matters into their own hands and approach companies they want to work for. 

What it means for companies

This new transparency applies to the employers too. Websites like Glassdoor, where current and former employees can anonymously review companies, have revolutionised the employer/employee power balance.

Potential employees can investigate, research and gather unfiltered information about businesses to assess the suitability of the employer to their own demands, much as an employer would use an employee reference. It’s not uncommon to hear of candidates turning down interviews due to poor company reviews or reports of a toxic workplace culture.

This changes the game for employers and subjects them to the same level of scrutiny that they have traditionally applied to potential employees. Knowing that they are being constantly assessed and reviewed should raise awareness that their responsibilities towards their staff are an ongoing and everyday commitment, not one that’s forgotten about once the candidate has signed the contract.

At Progeny, we have an account on Glassdoor where we encourage our team to leave reviews. We also welcome feedback from interviewees on their experience of our business. It is all valuable information that we can use in building the best possible business for our team of today and tomorrow, and that potential employees can use to seek us out.

Benefits for businesses

As with candidates, there are also benefits for businesses that come with increased use of social media. Now that many candidates are on LinkedIn employers can be more proactive in their recruitment and candidates are far more responsive to being head-hunted by a potential employer.

Business networking sites can also provide a more rounded and comprehensive picture of a candidate, and provide information on their suitability to the role that the traditional interview and application process won’t uncover.

In summary, when it comes to the modern-day employment market, the traditional distance between employees and employers is shortening and transparency on both sides is increasing. The candidates and companies who adapt to these new rules of engagement are the ones that will benefit most fully from the opportunities it brings.