I look at social media as reducing the communications gap when people first meet online, then meet in real-life and make a connection where they left off from their online conversation. You can control the conversations, say mostly what you want, and act like you have many friends and followers. In reality, this is hard to convert.
Let’s look at this through the job seeker point of view: A person has all these profiles and they’re making connections, but not enough conversations. The easy answer is to go out and network. The problem is costs: transportation, drinks, registration/cover charge, possibly food to go to these events and others. What if you’re in a tight budget? You have to pick and choose which events to attend. Another problem: expectations of meeting the same person online is pretty high and there will be some disappointment. That is why job seekers go online to apply to hope they can get hired.
This is why the candidate experience is a two-way street. People assume the candidate experience only deals with your applicant tracking systems and email chats. It goes beyond that. The candidate experience is how organizations deal with job seekers online and offline. Candidates want to know if they’re qualified or not and if they know any opportunities recruiters/hiring managers can forward to. Most of the time, organizations will give a static answer and be done with. This is where the job seeker might feel lonely because they got rejected and need someone to lend a hand.
The job seeker has to start a conversation online to feel they’re needed. They feel empowered by the online conversations they involved with. However, these are online chats, not real-time conversations. Most real-time conversations will get you hired. Our online profile is what we hope you think of us, but in real-time, it is a different story.
I’m going to give two pieces of advice to different groups:
For the job seeker: the job search is subjective. You’re going to get rejected. Don’t worry, there are many opportunities out there. Find the right event to attend. Find something on Eventbrite, Meetup, or with a small gathering of friends. Your inner circle will help you, just ask them what you need. Eventually, you will find something.
For the recruiter/hiring manager: you’re in the position of power. You’re the gatekeepers of your organization. If someone asks why they got rejected, give them an answer and follow-up. Those job seekers you rejected might be competitors the next day. You gave them motivation to squash your organization. If you want to prevent this, give them things they need to improve upon or forward their resume to a non-competing organization that fit their qualifications. Also, spend 15-30 minutes to any happy hour just to talk to someone. Look at your news feed of where the people are going instead of sourcing or post and pray.
Let’s be honest, everyone can make a connection because we have at least one thing in common. What we don’t do is make a meaningful connection like a conversation or a hire. To make it meaningful, help each other out for all parties involved. It is the only way not to be lonely in your job search.