August 16, 2011

Google+ has come on the social media scene with avengeance. While it took Facebook three years to hit 25 million users, Google+ completed the same task in just over a month. While it can be argued that other social media sites forged the way, truth is that the public has responded very favourably to the new offering.

So why all the hype?

Google+ is the best of all social media worlds. It combines the most useful parts of various sites, plus ups the ante with a few more tricks. It allows you to keep your social and professional life separate and it combines email, online search and social media in one. But how can hiring managers use it for recruiting?

Circles: When you add people to your contacts on Google+, you will be forced to put them into a circle — a group defined by yourself. These can include colleagues, friends, family, University alumni, yoga friends — anything. Unlike Facebook, however, both parties don’t have to agree to have each other in a circle. As such, you are able to share content with specific circles. For a hiring manager, this means you can send customized messages to potential candidates, separate from what you would send to your family or friends. Furthermore, circles are all about privacy. You can control who sees what.

Huddle: This function is like instant messaging for people within your circle. With communication moving so quickly, being able to connect with your candidate quickly can help you set up interviews with little effort. For recruiting consultants, you have instant communication with your client company allowing you to better manage the recruitment process.

Sparks: This feature is a news feed on selected subject matters you can share within your circles. Hiring managers can get a better understanding of potential candidates’ interests and source individuals for specific roles.

Hangouts: Skype meets social media. Hangouts is the video chat function of Google+, allowing up to 10 people to connect. This is a great way for hiring managers to screen applicants before a formal interview or connect with long distance candidates.

Search: Of course Google wouldn’t miss the opportunity to combine both search and social media. For recruiters this allows you to source candidates, like LinkedIn as well as seek out recommendations and referrals.

Takeout: Want to download your data from Google+? No problem. Takeout allows you to take your information out of Google+ or any Google product.

+1: You might have seen this appearing on various websites. +1 is the ‘like’ feature of Google+. It allows you to pull content from the web and share with your circles. Again you are able to find out what people in your circles are sharing, including their interests. While not yet implemented, it is possible that when Google+ evolves, you will be able to search for people based on their +1 content. This will be a very powerful tool for recruiters.

Company pages: Not so fortunate here. Google+ is still developing its company-specific pages, so in the meantime, it is best to search for a company on LinkedIn or through their website. I’m sure there is more to come here!

So, the question stands: is Google+ and other social media initiatives like the LinkedIn apply now function changing the face of recruitment? Definitely. Will it replace job boards and recruiters, doubtful. For in-house hiring managers and recruitment consultants, it offers a powerful tool to search for candidates, source leads and generate applications. Presented with so many options, recruiters will have to decide which is the most efficient and effective way to manage what may become an endless supply of candidates. As the economy improves, however, and the war for talent once again returns, those armed with the necessary ammunition will emerge victorious.