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At first glance you probably wouldn’t think that there is money to be made off the unemployed. After all, no jobs means no money, right? For the most part perhaps, but the US$400 billion recruitment industry might beg to differ.
Technology has the ability to eat into industry revenues and professional social network LinkedIn stands the best chance to take a bite out of the recruitment market. But for the most part, the industry is alive and well.
With that amount of money, tapping into the recruitment market seems a good idea, but how exactly can a company do that? How do you give recruiters value?
Well how about providing a service, one that streamlines recruitment (specifically e-recruitment), and perhaps gives job portals another ‘product’ — as part of their service — that they could charge agencies and employers for?
Such a service comes in the form of the platform Social8er from Saidwot – a company focused on Online Reputation Management (ORM) for brands. Born and bred in Johannesburg, South Africa, Social8er — the brainchild of Philip Mostert (Twitter, LinkedIn) and Monty Furmie – applies ORM to individuals, specifically those in the job-market, promising value to not only recruiters but job-seekers too.
Effectively a social media CV, or “Social CV” — the Social8er app takes data from your social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter supported with more to follow) and compiles it into a singular, visual report.
Unique algorithms determine your ‘credibility’, ‘influence’, ‘vulgarity index’ (risk factor), and ‘social media usage’ (light, medium, heavy). The report ranks you in those fields, and also shows recent posts and pictures from all the social sites.
The report will ideally be used by job-seekers to educate themselves on what their Social CV tells prospective employers and clean up their profiles as needed, and also by recruiters to match candidates quicker and more efficiently to job postings.
Mostert stated that the report is dynamic and updates hourly, but he would like to get the refresh rate up to around every seven minutes, effectively making it a real-time tool.
A question of value
The theory behind Social8er is that this information is already public and being used for job recruitment, all that is missing is a tool to manage it.
For example, this infographic from The Undercover Recruiter states that 92% of employers used social media for recruiting in 2012, especially professional network LinkedIn. Job seekers too, are using social media to create attractive profiles that aid in their search for employment.
For recruiters, Social8er’s value is apparent. The report provides a singular viewpoint of a candidate’s social media footprint with useful rankings and post information. Add to that the potential of the report itself as a selling point to agencies and prospective employers, giving a job portal a competitive edge and extra avenue for revenue.
PNET, one of South Africa’s leading job portals, has recognised this value, forming an exclusive partnership with Social8er, and Mostert has stated that early negotiations have started with Bayt – the Middle East’s leading job portal too.
For job-seekers though, there is less apparent value, especially until individuals can manage their profiles directly through the app. Something Mostert said they would like to roll out in the coming months.
For job candidates, the app is designed to give them the ability to clean up any black marks on their Social CV so that they can get a job.
But in reality, if a candidate has a squeaky clean report they probably didn’t need a service like Social8er in the first place. Those who do need it, those “vulgar” candidates, are taught how and where to mask their vulgarity. Is this actually helping the screening process?
The very tool that weeds out the bad apples is enabling them to give the illusion that they are fit for the job. It feels like a contradiction.
With this in mind I feel that Social8er’s true value lies with what recruiters get out of the report. Useful information that helps get more candidates for a job faster, and a ‘product’ that can be effectively monetised. The proof is in the job portal(s) partnership pudding.
Social8er can help educate an individual about their digital footprint, yet it also stands to make money off of that very footprint and the access you grant it to see that information. For that reason alone I would suggest that Social8er’s revenue model gives it a conflict of interest.
I could well eat my words, but I think Social8er would do well to situate itself as a recruitment service application rather than represent that it serves both parties.
With a more aligned approach, I think Social8er could prove a fruitful endeavour in the recruitment market. Perhaps LinkedIn won’t be alone with a chance to bite into the US$400 billion industry.