What 2012 has in store for recruitment

Recruitment is experiencing a revolution.

2011 bore witness to the transformation of the traditional recruitment field to a sector where social is king. I’ve written a bit about social recruiting in previous posts and 2011 really saw this going mainstream. It saw recruiters moving away from their traditional methods, such as job boards, and exploring the extreme potential of the social route. When looking to hire a recruiter, social competence has climbed towards the top of the list of desireable qualities. Many job seekers have adapted to the change, as LinkedIn’s 145+ million members suggests, but the social trend is speeding up and promises to explode in the New Year.

So, what does 2012 have in store for recruitment? And more importantly what does that mean for the job seeker?

Let’s get the ball rolling with LinkedIn. I’ve mentioned its 145+ million user base and the fact that it has been one of the key players in the social recruiting world, but what’s more important to focus on is its growth rate and therefore its future potential. On March 22nd 2011 LinkedIn announced a major milestone in its history, it hit 100 million users. We’re now in January 2012, which puts its growth rate at around 50%. Working purely from that logic it is perfectly possible (and some would consider very likely) that LinkedIn will hit 300 million users by the end of 2012. It’s adding about 2 new members every second, a rate which continues to increase. So if you’re not on LinkedIn now and you’re looking for a job, the chances are you will be by the end of the year!

But it’s not just the large user base of potential connections that should attract you to LinkedIn. Recruiters actively use LinkedIn more and more to source candidates. In other words they are looking for you; all you need to do is help them find you! At present, and throughout 2011, a lot of LinkedIn’s financial gains were made because of recruiters. This is no surprise given that most of LinkedIn’s offers and packages are aimed at hiring managers. This will continue to be the case as the year runs its course but what is being predicted now is the likelihood of HR specific software being introduced (and making a big impact). There are several new products in the making which are to be released this year so watch out for them!

Now to the current king of the social web, Facebook. Facebook is the largest social network in existence. It has over 850 million users and undoubtedly owns the social media crown. Since its launch, its growth rate has been astonishing. That is until now. Facebook has become accustomed to a 10% growth rate in internet user reach per quarter over the last few years, but in the last few months of 2011 it was barely growing at a rate of 1%. Google+ was launched and, after its sudden rise and equally sudden fall in growth rate, is now being predicted to grow to around 400 million users by the end of the year. People are spending less time on Facebook and ultimately its popularity seems to be decreasing. Some have even suggested that 2012 could be the year where Facebook falls. Now I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon. Yes Google+ is likely to be successful but it turns out that the internet probably is big enough for the both of them. Their aims and purposes are different and I’m pretty sure the Facebook team isn’t thinking about the good run they’ve had and that it’s time to lie down and let Google take over. 2012 will still involve businesses flocking to Facebook to reach their customers just as recruiters will flock to it to find the best candidates and run several other of their operations. The rumour of Facebook jobs is not an unrealistic one and it’s not unlikely that 2012 could be the year that Facebook changes things up and diversifies its services in a way that will impact recruitment in a massive way. What’s important to remember right now though is that it’s all speculation. Neither of the internet giants have laid out their specific intentions for the year in relation to recruitment so I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ are growing in importance for the recruitment industry but what about Twitter? Twitter has grown impressively since its launch, now boasting over 300 million users. It’s the quickest way that information can find us but is it important in a recruitment context? Well, 2011 finally bore witness to recruiters “getting it”. However, most recruiters I’m aware of are still only using it as a one-way communication channel, a way to broadcast information. What’s likely to change in 2012 is the way recruiters use Twitter. Recruitment, just like social media, is about relationships. So 2012 should be the year when recruiters stop broadcasting and start conversing. If you’re not on Twitter I would advise you to start using it. Start following relevant people and start networking because ultimately you can improve your chances of getting a job!

The final major transformation which I can almost guarantee 2012 has in store for us is the mobile revolution. With the technology available today, social and mobile are extremely closely linked. It’s fair to say that the world’s gone mobile. For me, it’s only a matter of time before recruiters react. If you’re an analytics user (which you most likely are if you run a website) then you will probably have noticed a distinct increase in the amount of mobile traffic your website is receiving. I can almost guarantee that 2012 is the year of the mobile explosion in the recruitment field. It seems every other person owns an iPhone, tablet or one of the many other mobile devices and many use that device as their main internet access point. Everyone wants to reach everyone, anywhere and anytime, a prospect which is now a reality. Recruiters are starting to make their sites mobile optimized and the select few have started to create and run their own apps so watch out for that. 2012 could just be the year when you find yourself a job on your phone.

So there are a few things that are (likely) going to happen this year. 2012 is the year where technical competence and an understanding of the digital world are essential capabilities to the job seeker. So keep up to date with what’s going on, get social and go mobile!

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