It seems that every week a new report comes out regarding the success of using social media for recruitment. And whilst the statistics may differ from study to study one thing is certain – social media recruitment is on the up. We may still lag someway behind the US, where it is reckoned a massive 93% of companies use LinkedIn alone, but our home grown stats show a healthy year on year increase in the prominence of this recruitment method.
For those who may doubt, or who may be wary of, the reported use of social media recruitment it is important to understand exactly why companies are choosing to use these ‘new’ methods to select their staff. These include savings in time and money (cutting out the cost of recruitment agent fees, for example, on just one hire can save tens of thousands of pounds alone) but, also, companies who have embraced social media recruitment have also commonly reported an increase in quality of recruits, as their very methods are attracting a modern and fresh business mind set. Many organisations have additionally reported significant growth in personal referrals as their social medial involvement intensifies.
This type of recruitment is not without its challenges to our clients, regardless of their age or level of seniority. For younger clients, we must not assume that because they use social media in their private lives that they are comfortable and confident in understanding the ‘rules’ and etiquette required in using it for business purposes. For career changers the issue can be that recruitment practices have changed so dramatically since they were last seeking work that they are totally unfamiliar with practices that are now in vogue and perhaps lack the confidence and knowledge needed to use them. So let’s quickly run through some of the main platforms used for social media recruitment in the UK and explain some of the ways they are used by recruiters and job seekers alike.
LinkedIn reached 15 million UK members earlier this year and is very much the premier channel for social media recruitment, being particularly popular in industries such as IT and financial services. It’s commercial edge is quite possibly the reason why more inexperienced workers feel more at home using facebook or twitter for professional networking, but whatever stage you are at in your career, it is definitely worth having a LinkedIn presence – many recruiters will sift you out of their hiring process on the basis alone of not having a profile. These days, LinkedIn is awash with headhunters and recruiters, so as well as using it to grow your own networks, employers will be searching key words to identify potential talent.
As well as using the ever-growing ‘jobs’ section to browse advertised opportunities, LinkedIn can be really useful if you have particular organisations you wish to target. By searching their current or past employees, you may find you have connections in common who will be able to help you to make introductions. LinkedIn also has a really useful ‘Groups’ section where you can network with current professionals in industries or companies of your choice.
Whilst most people are more familiar with Facebooks as a personal networking site, many organisations are now utilising what its business pages can do for them and their recruitment agendas. ‘Like’ the page of companies you are interested in and you will be kept up to date with their latest recruitment campaigns and company news. You can use the wall to ask any questions you may have and many companies will feature live Q&A sessions, giving you direct contact with employees and the opportunity to find out more about recruitment processes and selection methods.
Whilst Facebook can be a particularly useful recruitment strategy for young people who are familiar with the full remit of what the site has to offer, don’t forget that it can be a double-edged sword. There is a high likelihood that each company who is using it to recruit is also browsing personal pages to find out more about you. Make sure your social media footprint is squeaky clean. If recruiters don’t like what they see, there will be plenty other candidates waiting in the side-lines. Raise your privacy settings if you want to keep professional and personal use separate.
The so called ‘micro-blogging’ site has a much more informal feel but is starting to be used more and more by organisations as a way of advertising jobs. ‘Follow’ your favourite employers or search out twitter users who advertise jobs in your industry. Don’t forget this is also a way for you to make contact with them and to ask any questions you have.
For industries like journalism, blogging is becoming an essential way of establishing yourself within the industry. And for other industries, blogging can be a great way of showcasing your expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm. Twitter can be a great way of disseminating the articles that you are writing. Build up a base of followers and don’t forget also to tweet out your blogs directly to influential people and employers in your industry. With the job market being so competitive this can be a great way of standing out from the crowd and showing your potential as an employee.
The internet is flooded with articles that will help give you a more detailed understanding of how social media can be used to find jobs. Here are a few to get you started: