Jack Hobson: How important is social media in the recruitment industry?

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Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are expanding at unparalleled rates, therefore it becomes ever more imperative for employers to keep up. Those that have been slow to adapt their recruitment system to encompass the social media surge are in danger of losing the best candidates to their more forward thinking rivals.

Mobile

With one in four accessing the web from a mobile, and this trend increasing as you move down the age range, it has severe implications for all organisations on the recruitment trail.

People access everything on the go–including jobs and with more devices connected to the internet than there are people on Earth it is clear just how important mobile has become. Anywhere from 50 – 70% of all job seekers are searching for new jobs on a mobile device. Having the internet at your fingertips 24:7 has become a social norm to the next generation of talent, injecting speed, convenience and immediacy into the recruitment process. This not only means that the recruitment system adopted by a company needs to work on mobile devices but, also that the process needs to feel ‘nimble’.

Some companies believe that refusing to adapt to social media techniques creates a type of filter. This is particularly attractive to some organisations which are inundated by applications. However in doing this they are biasing their recruitment system towards older, less tech-savvy people, and creating a shortage of younger people in their organisation.

Potential Damage

Companies who make the social media transition need to ensure they are prepared. The main challenge is protecting the employer brand on social media. It can take years to build a good reputation, but seconds to damage it beyond repair.

Understanding the respective channels is vital, for instance many recruitment agencies post jobs on twitter, not realising the shelf-life of twitter is incredibly short, and in essence it is a form of spamming. Poor use of social media not only gives an unprofessional feel to the organisation but could also have detrimental effects on the talent pool being attracted.

The Channels

Facebook is undoubtedly the most widely distributed and connected social network with over 1 billion registered users. With over 50% of all smart phones connecting to Facebook every hour every day it is an important resource. The personal data on offer allows job adverts to be tailored specifically for the most applicable audience. Facebook also provides organisations with the platform to reach a high volume of people very quickly, creating diversity and also contacting the passive candidates – those who are not actively looking but are open to discussing potential opportunities. The Facebook ‘Like’ function helps spread information across interest-related parties creating maximum visibility among top potential candidates.

In response WCN has formed a strategic partnership with Work4Labs to incorporate the innovative Facebook recruiting application ‘Work 4 Us’ into its e-Recruitment solutions. This allows companies to launch targeted Facebook ad campaigns, generate referrals and encourage leverage among employees’ friends, thereby harnessing the powerful social network seamlessly into the recruitment process.

LinkedIn is also playing a more powerful role, with one new user joining every second, in the recruitment industry becoming a reliable source for objective references. LinkedIn is also hugely effective for active talent search and provides specific industry social networks. It is also the perfect place to create a bank of talent, as all the candidates interviewed can be invited to join a company’s LinkedIn group or follow its corporate page.

Twitter is all about engaging in conversation and using the correct hash-tags, tones and techniques for the brand and target audience. It is very important that jobs are not merely repetitively tweeted out; companies need to make sure they engage in twitter chats, building a community of talent, and communicate the personality of the employer brand. This in the long run will help the organisation identify those who would be a good fit for the company and its roles.

The Benefits

Social media is free and offers a return on investment that is greater than any conventional recruitment method.

Social media can make recruitment easier; 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands and companies through Facebook. What better place to start when looking for candidates than with ‘Facebook fans’ who are already potential advocates for your brand? Indeed many companies encourage employees to serve as unofficial talent scouts by sharing the latest job offers through their own social networks. This yields good results; one in seven referrals via social media can generate a potential candidate, compared to one in 100 general applicants.

Conclusion

Social media has and will continue to revolutionise the way companies recruit. It is essential that organisations adapt to suit the times and shift their focus from the straightforward collection of CVs to a more interactive and social form of recruitment. Failure to embrace social media will mean top candidates will be attracted elsewhere.

Article by Jack Hobson, Head of Technology at WCN

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