Why Social Media Does Not Work as Well as Job Boards

When LinkedIn made a push a few months ago to take over the job boards and the recruitment industry, as the CEO of an executive search firm, I confess I was intimidated. However, while at first it seemed to many people that social media was the new online job board; the shine wore off quicker than some of us had feared.

Not everybody on social media is looking for a job, but everybody is “looking for a job.” While nearly every LinkedIn profile suggests that the individual is open to career change, very few of the people behind those profiles are serious about it. Therefore, for any hiring manager or recruiter, it takes a significant amount of time to simply find someone who is serious about moving jobs rather than just willing to speak about the position to gain further information.

Many of these individuals don’t seem to have resumes put together either, therefore to present them to clients means either giving a “snapshot” of the individual or waiting weeks for the potential candidate to finish the resume (if they do). The job boards have resumes there and available, which (most of the time) translates to the job seeker being interested in making a move.

LinkedIn opened the flood gates when it comes to inviting connections. Now the recruiter and the prospective employer alike don’t personally know their contacts, diluting the social aspect and the leverage it brings for recruiting purposes. The main purpose of a social network is to know the people whom you are engaged with, and many social media platforms pitch the fact that either the recruiter or hiring company has access not only to their own contacts, but to the next degree of connection, too.

At first, this looked like a great plan, until people who didn’t know each other began connecting, thus taking away any personal feel of the site and watering down any advantage. Out of 1,500 connections I have, I know 150. Finding the right person would take me hours, especially with a search function that is still far inferior to that of most job boards.

Successfully finding the right company and position still means, often, a job seeker using his or her professional connections. While at first this might seem pertinent to LinkedIn, searching for a job is personal. Job seekers don’t like to ask contacts whom they don’t know well to introduce them to companies. For example, Bob Smith wants to apply to a marketing job, but since he is not connected with the hiring organization, he must ask one of his contacts for an introduction.

While this is playing into the “social” aspect, it is not taking into account that the job search process is private to many job seekers. They like to keep which positions they apply to confidential. Therefore, asking for an introduction to a company where they are unknown, via a contact they don’t know well (or in some cases know at all), seems daunting and intimidating to many applicants, thus weakening posting effectiveness for the recruiter or employer.

Conversely, when applying on the job boards, the applicant deals directly with the employer or recruiter, taking embarrassment or confidentiality out of the equation.

Job Seekers: How to Differentiate Yourself on Social Media

As a job seeker, to get great connections in any social media realm, you must know what skills you bring to the table, how to highlight them in your bio and how to deal with employers or recruiters in a manner that represents you well once you find what you’re looking for.