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Social media not perfect recruitment tool

Updated: 2013-10-03 01:12
By He Dan ( China Daily)

Business leaders in Asia are using social media more often as a tool for recruitment, but some remain skeptical about the reliability of scattered information posted online to assess whether a candidate is suitable.

Andrew Grant, who leads the global public sector practice of McKinsey & Co in Singapore, believes social media enables companies to engage with potential candidates much earlier than before and find more talented people from the grassroots.

"In the past, we engaged with people from top universities in (China's) first-tier cities and social media actually enables us to find what we called ‘diamonds in the rough'," said Grant, who was the managing director of McKinsey & Co's practice in China from 2005 to 2009.

"Social media enables us to run something like the Supergirl contest (a TV singing contest), to help us to engage with folks we wouldn't have engaged with," he said during the Human Capital Summit 2013 in Singapore.

As social media leads to information transparency, it also enables strong companies to boost their search for expertise, he added.

The two-day conference was jointly organized by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and the Human Capital Leadership Institute on Sept 11 and 12 at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore.

The annual conference attracted more than 600 business and human resource leaders this year from countries, including China, India, Japan and the United States.

"We should embrace social media but use it with caution," said Wu Wenhui, executive vice-president of Siemens China and a panelist at the summit, adding that his company has a Sina Weibo account.

He noted that once a company opened an account on a social media platform for branding and recruitment, things can run out of control as netizens can write whatever they want about the company.

Some 60 percent of companies were using or planned to use social media searches as a recruitment tool in 2013, according to a survey that polled 592 human resource professionals worldwide.

However, the 2013 Global Assessment Trends Report released by SHL, a London-based talent-measurement company, in early September, showed that less than 30 percent of respondents believe that the data on social media is useful in determining whether a candidate is suitable.

Only 11 percent of those polled said social media is critical in hiring decisions, it said, adding that data acquired from social media is often subjective and chaotic.

The majority of HR professionals polled revealed that they seek information related to candidates' previous work history, education and recommendations from others when they review them on social media sites.

Jennifer Feng, chief human resources expert at online human resources service provider, believes that in the short term social media can only be a supplement rather than a substitute for conventional hiring tools.

"In China, people use social media as a tool to express their opinions and show their personal interests. Such information may not be appreciated by companies," she stressed.

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