Here are my top level findings on using social media and technology in HR and Recruiting:

  • We are in the earliest stages of a transformation in the way that we look for, acquire, and execute work. The tools and techniques we use to find and hire workers, understand and manage their development, and define our labor market needs are entering an era of flux. The important takeaway: We are not there yet.
  • Technology is entering companies through new paths. Where the flow of technology used to be from big organizations to small, and from the government to business, it now moves from consumer markets into the organization.
  • There are at least 15 technologies migrating from the consumer marketplace to the business world. These are the social technologies. Right now, the technologies that we use in our personal lives are higher quality and more up to date than the technologies we use at work. This changes the way that companies manage a range of things
  • The market is clouded by the claims of vendors and enthusiasts who describe a clear reality that isn’t all that clear. What we don’t know is significantly greater than what we do know about how we will use emerging technologies.
  • The use of social media is helping to refine definitions of referral programs. While there is no evidence that social media referrals are effective yet, there is reason to continue to experiment. The idea that my network is the best way for me to find a job is as flawed as the idea that my boss can acquire his workforce by scavenging that network.
  • The most effective use of social media for Recruiting and HR functions involves a healthy does of experimentation. Competitive advantage goes to the organizations that find formulas that work for them. Today’s winning toolset is always hand developed and carefully customized to the organization and its unique staffing issues. The vendors who stay the course will be the ones who help with the experiments.
  • Social media highlights the fact that HR and Recruiting practice are extremely regional. The tools and techniques that work are highly dependent on industry, organization size, local demographics, and the availability of the right skills in the local labor market.
  • Much of what is called social media or social technology is really an emerging approach to being able to collect and use new forms of data. Legacy platforms are usually ill suited to developing the sort of peer to peer intimacy that social media promises. That leaves older systems in the position of broadcasting to social media outlets and trying to harness the discoverable data on those sites. While the results are somewhat anti-social, organizations are developing an appetite for the information in social media sites. That data helps clarify the characteristics of the human capital that an organization deploys.
  • Somewhat surprisingly, we were unable to discover significant evidence of the use of community in enterprise settings. The evangelists for Social Technology are way out in front of the actual usage. While community is bandied about as the ultimate end of the new technologies, the evidence points elsewhere. Currently, Social Technology is focused on the creation of data, not relationships. This first generation of social technology is decidedly not very social.
  • The report describes a reality that is particularly interesting to the owners and operators of job boards (both commercial and corporate employment sites). Whether or not social technology provides sourcing value, it will be the competition from now on. Energy and resources that could be flowing into job boards will be sidetracked as customers chase the shiny new objects. Job seekers will move away from corporate sites.

If you’d like to better understand social media and technology in HR and recruiting I’d recommend you read my full analysis.

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