Increase your virtual presence, recruiters tell job seekers

The coronavirus crisis could lead to 25 million job losses globally, according to the United Nations. Despite the gloomy outlook, there are a few sectors such as tech, e-commerce and daily essentials that have not been impacted negatively by the outbreak and are still hiring.

Amazon, for example, recently announced it is getting 100,000 employees in the US on board after seeing overwhelming demand in online shopping.

With everything moving online and the implementation of movement restrictions due to the virus outbreak, candidates in the slow job market are encouraged to enhance their virtual presence.

Employers hiring online

According to RGF Executive Search Malaysia managing director Lee Ai Ling, employers hire via social media and are still continuing to do so even during the Covid-19 outbreak, especially on platforms such as LinkedIn.

“However, this differs based on the seniority, job functions and the industries. For instance, senior-level candidates across most industries are less likely to be hired through social media, but candidates in the tech and digital sector have proven to be the exception,” she explains.

Meanwhile, Randstad Malaysia associate director for technology Fahad Naeem believes that companies are trying to avoid the double whammy of rising operating expenses and lower revenues as a result of the lockdown. Therefore, employers are also reducing recruitment costs, opting for lower-cost channels such as social media.

“We’ve observed that larger organisations tend to be more active on social media, especially on Facebook, to recruit fresh graduates or entry-level staff due to higher levels of community engagement.

“In contrast, candidates for senior-level positions are more likely to use professional networks such as LinkedIn to connect with new employers. The number of LinkedIn users in Malaysia has also increased 5.2% from August 2019 to April 2020, indicating a larger online pool of active job seekers that employers can tap into,” says Naeem.

It is not uncommon for employees to rethink their career options after a life-changing experience, such as the pandemic.

Furthermore, people are adhering to strict community measures and staying home, which means that they can exercise more freedom in searching for a new career opportunity.

“Being away from their bosses and colleagues, we’ve also observed that candidates are also more active in applying for jobs or responding to employer requests on LinkedIn during the pandemic,” says Naeem.
Social media have always been a crucial part of the recruitment process but its usage is more prominent overseas in the US and UK.

“The Covid-19 situation has boosted recruitment in social media among our clients, made up mostly of public-listed and multinational companies,” said Asia Recruit managing director Damien Lim.
Multinational companies have long used social media to advertise jobs but not a lot of would research social media profiles of candidates unless it is for critical roles.

Talentbank founder Ben Ho opined that most employers post job advertisements on social media but might not find themselves reaching the targeted pool of talents unless they apply further strategies like boosting.

“Both companies and candidates utilise social media to brand themselves and reach out to one another. Social media is the most effective way to reach candidates of ages between 18 to 34 years old. During the Covid-19 outbreak, employers need to maintain their branding initiatives to remain attractive to candidates,” says Ho.

How to boost virtual presence

Some basic foundations need to be in place when using social media platforms to stand out as a candidate, such as ensuring that one has a high-resolution professional profile photo, with accurate and up-to-date personal details.

Beyond that, candidates should also actively engage in the topics that are relevant to their field of expertise in order to have higher visibility among recruiters, hiring managers and so forth. “Some ways of engagement include the sharing of relevant articles or topics, and even possibly writing your own posts to establish yourself as a thought leader,” shares Lee.

Naeem encourages candidates to be active users of social media platforms. Besides providing profile information and applying for jobs, connect with other industry experts and join social communities within the social media platforms.

Candidates can also connect with specialised recruiters who have an in-depth understanding of the local talent demands to have a more customised and targeted job search experience.

“Job seekers can step up on their self-branding efforts by writing blogs and taking part in discussions on industry-related topics with their peers. It is also a good practice to regularly share your own opinions on these social media platforms and spark a conversation or a friendly debate with others,” adds Naeem.

Meanwhile, Lim advises candidates to be mindful over what they post even if it’s on their personal accounts on platforms like Facebook. “Candidates need to create an attractive personal brand and stay away from offensive content that could harm their chances in landing a job.

“They need to learn to craft their CV in a professional way and highlight their success stories in a succinct and clear manner. Also, do not undermine small details like including a profile photo on your social media to help you stand out more,” he advises. – May 20, 2020

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