Social media recruitment: don’t get left behind

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Forward-thinkers have long since spruiked the usefulness of social media for recruitment – but it’s no longer just the hip, small organisations that are actively utilising social media to find great staff.

According to the latest research as well as the word-on-the-street, social media is not only a credible way to attract candidates, but is quickly becoming the way to find talent who will be the best cultural fit.

The Sage business index recently found that that more than 50% of businesses believe that organisations that actively engage customers via social media in the next few years will be more successful than those that don't. Unfortunately a similar number also acknowledged that they don't really understand how to effectively use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their business. Use of Twitter within businesses remains in its infancy, and just one in nine (11%) maintain a Twitter account, while one in 12 (8%) actively use it as a communication medium. However, approximately one in four organisations has a Facebook page or fan page.

According to one business leader, using Facebook and social media for recruitment is quite simply the only way forward. “Facebook is where we can bring who we are to life,” Nima Yassini from marketing firm New Republique said. Yassini said their Facebook page allows ‘continuous engagement’ with their followers, and when a role needs to be filled, it can be posted on the wall. “When we’ve got a role that’s opened up, we ask if anyone is interested in applying, or if anyone knows someone who might be interested,” he said. The company also gives away incentives such as movie tickets and vouchers to Facebook followers who recommend a candidate.

Ultimately, Facebook may narrow the search field to those who are already interested in the organisation. “The reason we use Facebook is we’re trying to get away from ‘you see a job ad; you tick all the boxes and apply’. For me it’s the fact that the candidate has gone out of their way to connect with us, to get to know us. It’s kind of ‘quality control’, and means there’s a better chance of fitting the culture,” Yassini said.

But it’s not just funky ad agencies that are kicking goals in social media recruitment. American Express has also been active in the space, and according to Martin Seward, vice president of membership travel services, social media is useful in attracting the right type of candidate. “Facebook and different types of social media has been really, really successful for us because it’s allowed us to recruit the kind of people who are really suited to the role. Social media allows us to really bring to life our personality for would-be consultants so that when they apply, we pick the right people,” Seward said.

The travel services branch of the company expanded in late 2010, and a Facebook campaign was launched complete with videos showcasing testimonials from employees, and a day-in-the-life-of view of the company culture.

Following the end of the targeted campaign, the videos are housed in the organisation’s own YouTube channel, and expressions of interest continue to be generated. Rather than ditching the more traditional recruitment channels such as job boards, Seward said that advertising on job boards has complemented the social media presence and vice versa.“It’s about striking a balance. We wanted to make sure we had our online and social media avenues available to certain candidates and our traditional avenues available to other candidates as well. And we’ve seen that we continue to get a balance coming through of the right types of consultants from all different age groups and demographics,” Seward commented.

Producing videos for YouTube and maintaining a social media presence is an investment and according to Seward the ROI has been more than worth it. “For me the investment that we put into the [social media campaign] was clearly covered by recruiting some truly excellent consultants. Our metrics for success here really were looking to engagement levels of individuals who came into the business, our retention rates of those new consultants, and on top of that, our customer service results from those consultants who came through the social media channel. In each of those categories we’ve seen strong success from the campaign which has more than paid for the investment,” Seward said.

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