Ten years ago, all an employer had to do to hire an extra hand was list an ad in the classifieds and wait for the lines of job applicants to pour in. Although this process is still used by a majority of businesses, there are some slight changes that have allowed employers to streamline the hiring process.
Web 2.0 has changed the workplace considerably, so it’s no surprise that even the hiring process is evolving. There are now new tools and techniques when it comes to hiring, making the process easier and more convenient for both applicants and employers.
Background research. Many employers are using social networks for background research. It wouldn’t be a surprise if an applicant’s Facebook profile would have more weight than what his or her references have to say. This is probably because researching an applicant through social networks is incredibly easy. Also, these profiles tend to give you a more honest look of what your applicant is really like.
Networking. Social networks such as LinkedIn and GuanXi focus on business relationships rather than personal ones. This makes referrals much easier, if you’re looking to hire someone who is just a step away from your trusted business circle. Testimonials and recommendations are also an important feature of these social networks, allowing employers to read the opinions of an applicant’s former colleagues and supervisors.
Unlike personal social networks like MySpace, the profiles on LinkedIn look more like a curriculum vitae. For job applicants, this means that you can instantly update your online resume and send it to others without consuming paper. For employers, the online resume gives them a quick look at the applicant’s history, allowing them to decide beforehand whether this person is worth an interview.
Interviews. One of the local job offers I looked into requested an online interview before a face-to-face one. They had two reasons to do this. First is that they want to be sure that I’m familiar with communication tools they use within the company. Second, it was much easier to arrange due to our conflicting schedules. Online interviews may not be the norm, but they’re certainly more popular, especially for internet-based work.
LinkedIn is such a versatile tool that you can also use it to research the associates and colleagues of your job applicants. What type of people or businesses has he worked with? You can even set an informational interview with them to learn more about an applicant, if you’re interested enough. It’s like these people serve as his unlisted references.
Another noteworthy web 2.0 tool for job interviews is NotchUp, which is still in its beginning stages. Basically, the premise of NotchUp is that sought-after professionals will be paid by companies for an interview. It sounds a little unusual at first, but I can see how it would work. From the business’ perspective, it’s a more affordable alternative to recruiters and online job boards which, frequently, attract less than stellar applicants.
If the success of NotchUp and LinkedIn are indications of what the web can add to the interview process, then other more versatile, more innovative interview tools are out there, simply waiting to be developed or discovered.
Hiring globally. Unlike more traditional hiring processes, you don’t have to limit your search for a new employee locally. This is where the concept of geoarbitrage comes in: you can lessen business costs by hiring from countries that provide the same quality at a lesser price. However, this only works if you have an efficient telecommuting system in place. Off-shoring has been a profitable experience for some, but a disaster for others. Consider your businesses needs before you take this route.
Incorporating Web 2.0 tools into the hiring process eliminates nuisance applicants, time wasters, and expensive advertising methods. Although we’re far from a fully-fledged Web 2.0 hiring system, we’re off to a great start.