Raise your hand if you’ve ever used a social media site to find a new job.  If 2010 statistics hold true, there would be 14.4 million hands raised right now (assuming our audience was the entire world, that is).  Point being, an increasingly large number of employees are using these outlets to find jobs.  As recruiters, we understand this and are taking advantage of it.  In fact, a projected 89% of employers will use social media to recruit this year.

Why use social media?  Aren’t job boards enough?  Well, maybe, but here are a few reasons it’s worth utilizing.

1.  To Quickly (and Inexpensively) Advertise Openings to Your Network and Beyond

Social Media, for the most part is still network-based.  Meaning, if the posting about your job made its way to Sally, there’s a good chance Sally is somehow connected to you via a current employee, a friend, or simply because she has chosen to follow your company’s updates.  This network-based listing essentially brings those to you who are either already connected or already interested in your company.

Depending on the type of company you are, the proper use of social media will be attractive to younger employees.  This may not matter in all fields, but if recruiting recent grads is of interest to you, it is imperative that you to put some real effort into this type of campaign.

Advertising openings in this way is virtually FREE!  Who doesn’t like free?  With the exception of small fee on LinkedIn, the other most common posting sites—Facebook and Twitter—are free.

2.  To Research Applicants

Everyone knows (or should, unless they’ve been dwelling under a rock for the last 10 years) that it is nearly impossible to hide from your online self.  Who you are online translates directly to who an employer perceives you to be in reality.  According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s outreach manager, Joe Bontke, “75% of recruiters in the United States report that they have rejected candidates because of information online.”  Recruiters are using social media sites to help cull through applicants much like applicants use these networks to scope out potential employers (and co-workers).  By viewing sites like LinkedIn (and now Facebook’s Timeline) it is easy see a candidate’s work history and experience at a glance.  With a few additional clicks can come photos, previous status updates or postings, likes/dislikes, affinity groups, and political or religious views (some things that employers are not supposed to consider before hiring).  This does bring up questions about what should or should not be permissible, so it’s important that recruiters are aware of the laws regarding this type of research.

3.  To Scout for Talent

And, finally, if you are simply not satisfied with the applicants who find you, turning to sites like LinkedIn to scout out talent is always an option.   As a recruiter, trying to fill jobs outside of your own geographic area can add one more layer of difficulty.  Also, if the job is highly specialized, it might mean that turnover is low and that qualified candidates aren’t really on the market.  In this case, scouring public resumes and profiles might lead to some viable options.  Perhaps someone isn’t necessarily “looking,” but maybe the right offer could change that.  At HireEQ, we often use a cross-platform approach.  For instance, based on our search using one social media site we might find someone with the right skills in the right location.  But, in order to find their resume or employment history, we have to turn to another source to dig for more information.  There’s no one way to do it, but that’s what keeps it interesting.

If you are still skeptical about the use of social media for recruiting, here are some quick stats from UPS (United Parcel Service) about their success with it.

  • UPS switched from 90% of their budget in print media in 2005 to 97% of their budget in social media in 2010.
  • In 2010, UPS received 3,926 applications based on Facebook postings.  Of those, 226 were hired.
  • The interview to hire ratio from applicants on Facebook and Twitter is 2:1.
  • The cost of hire went from $600/$700 per hire to $60/$70 per hire.

So, while traditional recruiting outlets still prove themselves to be valuable and useful, adding social media components to the mix will certainly enhance your ability to reach and find quality candidates.


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