recruiting through social media

Social media is having a major impact on how and where candidates are recruited. Many candidates will apply online or register their details on social media and recruiters may initially use social media in their search for new talent. Social media is also replacing traditional recruitment advertising in print media and is considered to be a cost-effective way of reaching potential candidates.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the top two sites used by organisations, some high profile organisations – Accenture, Healthcare Australia and L’Oréal to name three – have made great use of Facebook in their recruiting campaigns.

Personal or professional?

Jobseekers are increasingly seeing less of a distinction between personal and professional social media networks – for example, Facebook, where three-quarters of professionals maintain a profile, is now more frequently being used for both personal and professional activities. Twitter is also hugely popular, with newer networks such as YouTube, Google+ and Instagram taking a smaller share of the market but, once again, are on the increase.

LinkedIn has become important for professional networking, with 85% of those taking part in a recent survey maintaining a profile and almost 80% of job seekers using LinkedIn to research prospective employers. Around 69% of employers also have a corporate professional profile on one or more social media sites. And although 43% of employers use Twitter and 42% have a Facebook presence, these are used mainly for marketing and promotions.

Job boards are waning in popularity. Instead, organisations post vacancies on their own corporate/career websites, also known as ‘direct sourcing’. Another trend is the emergence of job board aggregators: websites that search and summarise relevant information from a wide range of sources, including job boards, social media and corporate or employer websites. Popular examples include Gumtree, Adzuna and Indeed.

Nine in 10 candidates are happy to be solicited for jobs via LinkedIn – and 80% would apply for a relevant job that appears in their profile feed. So it’s important employers advertise vacancies using channels and platforms that will reach and appeal to the right candidates.

Social media is hugely important to candidates as a method for researching the market and an organisation’s social media presence has a significant impact on applicants in shaping impressions of a potential employer. Again, of all social media sources used for research, professional networks beat other sites by a margin of four to one.

Content, content, content

But using professional networks to post vacancies is not enough. Employers must maintain high-quality content on company culture, employee opportunities and plans. Participation in online groups specific to a particular sector or industry is also important.

It would appear that most employers are taking a sensible approach to the use of social media in recruitment – despite many applicants believing that potential employers view personal profiles at an early stage.

Having clearly established the value of social media, employers should not replace interviews and other established practices to assess candidates. Over-reliance on social media could exclude or even deter good candidates.

So employers must:

• understand what different social networks can do for the organisation and use social media for those purposes

• target their approach to the social media used by their ideal candidates

• remember that a well-managed professional social media profile is just one route for attracting candidates

• use social media to reinforce corporate values as it is normal for job seekers to investigate a potential employer through professional networks

• ensure that information on corporate social media profiles is informative, concise and easy to follow

• make sensible use of social media when considering prospective candidates. Personal profiles do not often reveal a candidate’s professional abilities.


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