Blogs: future tool for recruitment?

Blogs: future recruitment tool?

A new phenomenon, but more well-known in Europe and the US, work-related blogs are in their first steps here. The Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki, counts a weak 4.4% (22 out of 400) of Fortune 500 companies having a blog available to the public. Nevertheless there is room for expansion there.

The site Blog Canada has 10 833 blogs, more than 7 000 of which are personal. Of the other 3 500, art and culture dominate as well as sites discussing social phenomenon, politics and hobbies. Business comes in 8th place with 154 sites, of which only some are Quebecer. This reflects the reality of the market but the phenomenon looks set to expand.

A blog is an interactive exchange tool run by an individual or by a company. It distinguishes itself from chat rooms as it allows direct exchanges. It differs from a discussion forum since it is not managed by any person or agency in particular; it is of course housed on a site, but any member of the forum can launch a debate. What’s more, you generally have to register before accessing chat rooms or discussion forums.

The most well-known public blogs probably come from the media genius, Patrick Lagacé for example, journalist for Journal de Montréal, who has his blog on Canoë, also owner of Quebecor. Other well-known commentators or journalists also have their blog. Richard Martineau or Michel Vastel notably come to mind.

Blogs remain relatively insignificant for companies. “In Quebec, it is a phenomenon which is just taking its first steps in the advertising and marketing fields, notes Sylvie Doré, Vice-President of PR at TMP Worldwide. With recruitment being a very specific field, it is not surprising that there are still very few.”

“The online recruitment market has reached a certain maturity, regards Sylvie Leclerc, employer branding advisor at Publicité Illico Hodes, a communication and recruitment firm in human resources. We now see new and better ways of searching the internet emerging. Blogs are a call for progression. An opinion which Sylvie Doré shares: “It is a promising tool if we can manage to target and control it.”

"Someone will have to do something about it if companies here don't want appear suspect in the eyes of internet users for lacking visibility or fear of speech," notes Michel Carpentier, web analyst information architect at zengo.ca, an affiliate of iXmédia.

He has practical knowledge of the phenomenon: "I myself was hired as an associate by iXmedia thanks to my blog, and largely chose to join the team after reading the blogs of potenial colleagues."

Advantages and disadvantages

This innovation can permit the company to attract a competent person that they would not reach by a simple job posting: the passive job seeker. “Someone who already has a job but who keeps an eye out for other opportunities to see whether they could better realize their career plan, mentions Sylvie Leclerc. A blog allows someone to get to know the company and its culture better.”

“We always know what we are leaving, but never what we will find”, she observes. A blog can correct that since it allows the company to convey a character and a feeling which will throw the candidate into the atmosphere of the company. “The candidate creates an image of the type of company they wish to work for. Ideally they are comparing their perception. The advantage for the company is that they avoid an individual being attracted throughout recruitment but disappointed with the actual job.”

"It is easy to say "looking for young, dynamic and educated candidates" to develop in a "motivating environment, with skilled colleagues and offering good possibilities of promotion," states Michel Carpentier. Every company says that to a point where it is no longer credible. It is more difficult to create a blog which will constantly lie about the manager's attitudes toward employees, company and market strategies."

A blog permits better synergy among employees. “It gives employees a voice, a freedom of speech that they don’t usually have, mentions Sylvie Leclerc. When a company expresses itself, it is generally through the voice of a director. Blogs have a communal effect. It allows people to speak firmly about their job, what they have learnt in the course of the day, their challenges etc.”

This new gadget, so the skeptics will say, encourages the exchange between employees and external people. “Just as each website demands respect, a blog will be managed by a moderator, specifies Sylvie Leclerc. It can be a case of an administration or production worker having received training on how to do it.”

"It is important that the company definesand editorial line and rules to respect, highlights Michel Carpentier. The best people to help in this sense are probably the bloggers themselves, that the employers more wish to supervise than control.

Does the moderator bias the company’s image by refusing critical proposals? “That depends on the degree of clarity and the openness of the company, replies Sylvie Leclerc. Some companies only accept one criticism on their blog and for the rest there is always a risk when one person criticizes their employer, especially if they don’t advise them of it beforehand. The surprise effect can destabilize everyone and necessitate a meeting.”

It will benefit an employee to read a company's blog which they are applying to. "To explain a point by underlining an example taken from one or several announces on the blog in an interview shows that they are sincerely interested, " illustrates Michel Carpentier.

It is also an advantage for the job seeker to create their own blog. This tool allows them to present themselves to talent hunters in a more dynamic way. It will allow them to see their skills and personality more. This method of communication is demanding however: it must be fed daily. The spirit of blogs gives short, precise and user-friendly written content.

The internet user can protect their personal details very well by leaving only an email address as a contact. Job blogs offer the company free access to a CV bank. Engineering, technology, communication and management sectors are the most susceptible to blogs. “It goes well with their profession” underlines Syvlie Leclerc.

The future

Are we overstating the potential of blogs? Sylvie Doré responds with a comparison. “Buying online took some time to develop in Quebec, she points out. People were more wary of it than American internet users. Nevertheless, this tool developed here too.”

And the subject of recruitment? We confront reluctances also. “Previously, underlines Sylvie Doré, companies were concerned about receiving applications from all over the planet if they placed an offer on the internet. However, software can now filter applications, they will probably do the same for blogs.

“In our service to employers, we use the internet a lot for recruitment, mentions the Vice-President at TMP Worldwide. It constitutes an important part of our client’s strategy. In innovation, we offer our clients the possibility of a blog. The proposition generates interest but there is not yet a firm result.”

For Sylvie Leclerc and Michel Carpentier, it is certain that we are heading more and more toward interactivity where recruitment is concerned. “We are abandoning printed media more and more”, notes Sylvie Doré. She suggests that blogs with the most success potential are those found on niche sites: employer associations, professional corporations, specialized job boards, etc.

“On the subject of recruitment, few people currently think about blogs, agrees Sylvie Leclerc. In my opinion, this tool will develop. It is part of internet development. Its form will be able to evolve, but its existence is there to stay. At one time, we didn’t believe people would post on line, yet they do.”

Some links

Professional online recruitment blogs : http://www.taleo.com/blog/

"CEO Bloggers club", a site which consists of company management blogs, almost 100 members : http://prplanet.typepad.com/ceobloggers/

Blog Canada : http://www.blogscanada.ca/

Specialized blog job search engineswww.technorati.com

Scobleizer, a Microsoft employee who has a blog on the company with the blessing of their bosses (excellent example of being open to discussion): http://scobleizer.com/

Michael Carpentier : www.michaelcarpentier.com

 

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