Job Hunting in a Social World

As working life returns to normality after the long break, and a new calendar year is greeted with equal measures of hope, optimism and apprehension, I’m left to contemplate the realities of job hunting in 2011.

The social media community have been great. My post announcing that I was now actively seeking a new role was read and re-tweeted to such an extent that it registered my highest number of one day reads yet, and despite only being live for a couple of weeks it’s the third most read post of 2010.

I’ve had messages of support, offers of help and leads are being sent to me through LinkedIn and Twitter, for which I am very grateful.

But I’m also thinking…how has social media really changed the job hunt process??

Over the 2 years or so that I have been actively connecting with the wider HR/Recruitment community through social media channels I have read, debated, listened and thought long and hard about attracting talent, building talent pools, communicating the brand and creating a compelling employee proposition…and how social media enables this to be done. This is really about attraction and retention.

There are also new and emerging functionalities for job seekers enabling them to find out more about roles that they are applying for, and giving them different ways to approach the recruiter. But is this is a two way process?? My question is…

Who is actually acquiring talent socially?

Is anyone using social media for talent acquisition as a two way process?

You can tweet out a job, but can I tweet you an application?

I can ‘like’ your company profile, but would you ‘like’ my personal one?

How will the ATS process a different type of CV?

Ah yes…a CV. Every role that has so far been sent in my direction wants me to apply by sending through a CV. A few months ago I started a discussion on Twitter about whether recruiters would interview someone based on their social media footprint, without a physical CV. I then posted it on this blog

So for day one of job hunting in a social world I’m starting with a different kind of CV. This one.

You may have noticed a few additions to my blog. As well as my stream of thoughts and observations you can now…

Find out some more about me

Read my profile

Watch me being interviewed

Ask me interview questions

Read some other stuff I’ve written

Find out about some of my likes

It will evolve…it’s my Living CV. In particular the ‘Ask me Questions’ section will be updated continually…it’s there for anyone interested in knowing more about me, either potential interviewers or curious readers, to ask questions. Hopefully it will build into an ongoing interview page. What more does a potential employer want to see?

I don’t know how an ATS will process this.

I don’t know if someone would actually hire me with just this and face to face interviews to go on.

I don’t know if companies are really willing to hire for attitude and look at how you work not where you work.

But I’m going to start finding out.

I’ll be posting about my job search. I want to do it socially and I want to know who out there will hire socially.

For two years I’ve heard many talking the talk…I want to find out who’s actually walking it!

As always…let me know what you think….

17 thoughts on “Job Hunting in a Social World

  1. Nice one Merv, asking the right questions as always. I started to notice this theme more last summer, wrote this piece ( to kick off some debate. Be very interested the progression – and of course, I’d be delighted to help wherever I can.

    Final thought – where’d the dinosaur go? I miss him!

  2. That’s my man. I am glad you have decided to go this way Mervyn. I would like you to know that I will be gladly your partner in crime if it comes to redefining the way applicants are being recruited and selected. I have few changes coming to my blog where I talk more about my HR knowledge. Trying to sell myself on the blog is a good start I guess. In my opinion CV has been here for too long and although it has its advantages, it doesn’t quite fits today’s highly interactive and competitive world. Nevertheless true is that different personalities need different way of presenting themselves and CV seems to be universal tool to do that. Mervyn lets walk the talk together.

  3. Happy New Year Mervyn!

    Absolutely fascinating post – love the idea of a Living CV and shall be really interested in seeing what it throws up.

    Good luck Mervyn & I hope 2011 brings you all the success you deserve!

  4. One of my clients last year took me after looking at my CV, meeting me and then reading my blog. They were open with me about this, and in particular the fact that they liked my attitude.
    And as we all know, attitude is important in recruitment.
    I think what you’re doing is trailblazing and I like it.

  5. Hi there Mervyn and Happy New (Job) Year.

    I really like your idea for a “living CV”!!!

    I tried something different with my CV recently and it wasn’t received too well by my outplacement company. Their advice was that a traditional CV is vital and that it is still required by (most) employers/recruiters so I will be very interested to hear how things go…. I am subscribing to your blog so I can keep up to date!

    Good Luck!!

    1. Happy New Year Sarah. My experience is that most recruiters want a CV that makes their job easier, so they ideally want a CV that shows the key points that their client is looking for. It’s a case of data over insight…which is completely the wrong way round in my opinion. Good Luck to you too!

  6. I’ve given my thoughts on the subject of traditional CV versus novel new ways of tackling the problem here …As you’ll see Mervyn, I am an advocate of someone like yourself with years of industry experience and a good profile on Twitter taking the route you are, but I think it would be mistaken for anyone to think that it is a potential one size fits all solution. Far from it in my opinion. Whilst Living CVs and ‘Employ Kyle’ approaches are relatively few and far between there will always be a certain novelty value attached. However, imagine a world where everyone is asking employers/recruiters to read the blog, view the Linkedin page, monitor the Twitter activity and watch the Youtube video profile. With all the will in the world, no employer would ever have enough hours in the day to draw up a list of prime contenders! I heard somewhere this morning that “there are millions of candidates, but the number of good ones that employers want to talk to is relatively small” – is this true? If so, then that could be why relatively few employers are seriously engaging with social media. They’re already getting swamped via job boards and traditional routes like press advertising. In short, there’s much to debate.

    1. You make some interesting points there Alasdair. The millions of candidates comments is a nonsense I would suggest, though it is true to say that clients are very specific in what they will look at. But then we, as recruiters, need to believe in our own knowledge of the market and use this to genuinely consult and advise. as you say, much to debate! Will try to cover some of this in future blogs.

  7. As a strategy for a seasoned social savvy recruiter to connect with a socially savvy business leader who could use their skills I think this is dynamite.

    But I really don’t buy this as a test of how ready employers are to deal with applicants on a purely web social level. Are you really saying that if the right opportunity presented itself through this marketing then you wouldn’t offer a resume – even a linkedin generated one? If I did that my family would not be twidows and tworphans but turderers 😉

    1. Thanks Gavin. It remains to be seen what I would do I guess…maybe if it was the right opportunity then that means that I wouldn’t be asked for a traditional CV. I have no problem with offering a LI profile…mine is embedded on the blog. From the few approaches I have had so far emanating from the blog, it has been the video interview which has been mentioned most. Will continue to monitor.

  8. Well done Merv. you know it worked for me last year and it not only got me a job, but it got me THE job and changed my life and the way I look at things, especially recruiting in the process.

    The one big difference is you are already doing it better my friend.

  9. Right on, Mervyn! That’s the gist of my response because I very much look forward to seeing how this progresses and what you discover. I’ve been in VERY traditional places for the last several years, with uber-basic recruiting needs and techniques. I try to bring my own sense of different and effective work to the process, but as a soloist doing all aspects of HR, benefits, payroll, and a bunch of other pieces, the battle to change up how we find quality candidates…when we are actually looking…hasn’t made it to the forefront. Sadly. So living through you vicariously, I shall.

    If my perspective on something is helpful, I hope you won’t hesitate to ask – and I applaud and adore your approach. Excelsior!

    All the best,


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