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Using Social Media in Recruitment

Social media is distinct from traditional mass media such as newspapers and television, with web-based and mobile technologies meaning that communication has now become an interactive dialogue rather than a one-way message.

Social media is increasingly being used in recruitment, and research by Stepstone Solutions has shown that 60% of employers surveyed already use some form of social media as a recruitment tool, plus...

  • 66% of those not doing so plan to explore it in the future
  • 61% of employers using social media use it to search directly for new hires
  • 55% use it to stay in touch with people not actively looking for work but who might apply at a later date, i.e. talent pools

Recruiters are using LinkedIn as the primary social media tool for direct sourcing of management-level candidates, as they perceive it to be a secure, professional networking tool.

Although the corporate career website is still the main recruitment tool for many companies, Facebook and Twitter are also being used as tools for increasing awareness and improving candidate engagement (therefore increasing the likelihood of applicants applying for roles).

Remember social media sites are also used by companies to find out more about their candidates – what they say, who they follow and who is following them. It is very important to ensure that your public profiles are reflecting you in the best possible light.

As demand for talent outstrips supply, and with people working for longer and in more job roles, a one-size-fits-all strategy for finding talent no longer exists. The use of social media for recruitment is set to increase, as recruiters prove more successful at finding the right candidates and recognise the tremendous scope for searching proactively for candidates with specific skill sets.

Case Study: The British Army and Social Media

The British Army recruits up to 20,000 people each year. Their target audience is 14-24 year olds who are statistically the most comfortable with social media, often using it as their main communication tool.

Facebook is the main channel for recruitment as research has shown that 89% of the Army’s target audience are users. Their Facebook site Army Jobs has over 55,000 followers. The site:

  • Links to online and telephone recruitment offices.
  • Allows potential recruits to ask general and specific questions about life and training in the British Army.
  • Shows videos of serving soldiers and officers who talk about aspects of army life and training.
  • Increasingly uses online gaming to attract candidates, as it allows people to demonstrate skills they may not have realised they have which are relevant to the Army.
  • Links gaming experience to the British Army website to show type of jobs available that match demonstrated skills.

The British Army also uses Twitter to engage with its target audience, through its ‘Digital Pioneers’ programme, which enables potential recruits to communicate with serving personnel.

These ‘Army Evangelists’ are specially trained so as not to compromise security, and tweet about what they are doing in their daily lives or how they are feeling.