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How to Use Social Media to Attract and Recruit Talent

Written by: on  August 20, 2012


JorgenSundbergIntroducing Jorgen Sundberg, our new Enviable Workplace labmate. Jorgen is a Social Media Consultant for HR and Recruiters with a specific expertise in LinkedIn.

We asked Jorgen how much of an impact social media has had in the recruitment process for companies in the UK in 2012.

Enter Jorgen Sundberg:

 

Here are some very fresh stats about large UK companies from The Group (http://www.the-group.net/) showing that:

  • 1.9m people connect with companies on LinkedIn
  • Over 1.7m people follow FTSE100 corporate Twitter accounts
  • There are 19m fans of FTSE100 corporate Facebook Pages
  • January-June 2012 there were 62.1m views of corporate YouTube videos

This confirms that there is a sizeable following of large companies on social media, and it is growing by the day according to The Group. As a rule of thumb, people don’t go on social media to look for jobs but they are happy to consider them when prompted. LinkedIn say that 20% of their users are actively looking for jobs at any given time, meaning 80% are passive candidates.

How can a company actually use these outposts for recruitment purposes? To answer that question you have to break down social media by channels.

 

LinkedIn for sourcing

The world’s largest professional network is typically what springs to mind when speaking social media and careers. There are almost 10 million users on LinkedIn in the UK, 2 out of 3 professionals now have a profile.

A business can use LinkedIn in several ways, there is the Company Page where you can share updates and LinkedIn users can follow the company to stay informed. This is completely free but at the moment very businesses have actually claimed their pages.

Global consumer goods giant Unilever (http://www.linkedin.com/company/unilever) have 239,000 followers at the moment; these followers are likely to be good future recruits or know people to recommend for jobs at the company.

Another useful tool on LinkedIn is running a group around a topic. Groups on LinkedIn serve as discussion forums and a place a for peers to exchange useful information. Philips have very successfully created a group called Innovations in Health (http://linkhumans.com/blog/how-philips-built-a-community-on-linkedin), attracting more than 58,000 healthcare professionals. From running the group, Philips can both promote their healthcare products and advertise vacancies in a subtle way.

Then there are of course personal profiles on LinkedIn. The companies we work with make sure that every employee profile tells the visitor what is going on at the company. This can be done by weaving in a boilerplate and/or profile applications that can brand the business. If there are jobs going, everyone looking at an employee’s profile should be made aware.

From a more proactive recruitment perspective, LinkedIn is exteremely useful for sourcing and approaching new talent. There’s no secret recruiters trawl through the LinkedIn database using either upgraded accounts, 3rd party tools or good old networking skills. You won’t find user profiles with more professional information than on LinkedIn, making this a primary tool for any recruiter.

 

Twitter for conversation

Twitter is primarily a news and conversation tool, one that has an unrivalled reach but less functionality compared to LinkedIn.

From a recruitment perspective there are two routes to go down, you can either have the main corporate Twitter feed posting vacancies every now and then. This will work as long as it’s done in moderation, mixed up with useful and interesting content, and the jobs are relevant.

The other way is to have a dedicated career feed which only posts jobs as they are announced. This account won’t get many followers but it will be visible in searches which are run on Twitter, sometimes resulting in applications from candidates who previously had little knowledge of the company.

Twitter can also be used to source, there are tools which will pull up users based on what they tweet about and what bio information they have. The trouble here is that unlike LinkedIn, the user generated information can be sparse and unrelated to what the user does professionally.

The best use of Twitter for recruitment in my opinion is to use it as a conversation tool. If you answer questions and wish candidates good luck for interviews, you’ll get a great response from followers. And by having individual Twitter accounts for recruiters (such as Deloitte do http://linkhumans.com/blog/how-to-use-social-media-to-recruit-deloitte-case-study), you will humanise the whole process and give applicants a single point of contact.

 

Facebook for branding

The world’s largest social network has almost a billion users, more than half the UK population has an account by now. Does this mean these users would use Facebook for career purposes? Not necessarily.

Most people that signed up for Facebook a few years back like to use it for friends and family only; new sign-ups don’t actually make that distinction, rather they manage a big part of their life via Facebook.

Most companies will set up a Facebook Page where they can share information about the company, very much like a LinkedIn company page or a Twitter feed. It’s difficult to attract big numbers of fans to a Page without running adverts and promotions, but just having a presence is where you want to start. On a the Page you can integrate recruitment applications, allowing visitors to browse job opportunities or look at employer branding videos.

Ernst & Young Careers

Some companies with big hiring needs will have a separate recruitment Page, this will be all about careers. Ernst & Young (https://facebook.com/ernstandyoungcareers) were early adopters of recruiting via Facebook, actively encouraging graduates and young professionals here to apply here.

From a sourcing perspective, Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t have made it any harder to use Facebook. It’s virtually impossible to search for new people and skills unless you already have an affinity to that user. There are instead a few add-on applications that lets users do their professional networking on Facebook. This hasn’t taken off yet but it’s closely monitored by the recruitment industry.

 

YouTube for more branding

The world’s largest video sharing community and second largest search engine is all about branding. Everyone consumes content from YouTube but we still see very few companies producing videos for recruiting purposes.

Some applicants want to read articles, others want to speak to current employees, some love watching videos about ‘A day in the life of [insert job title here]’. Companies like UPS (http://www.youtube.com/user/UPSjobs2010) have successfully used YouTube for large recruitment campaigns where they show what it’s like to work for that company.

UPS also proved that every employee within a company has a story to be told, by leveraging these stories on video you make prospective applicants feel like they know your employees already.

There’s your snapshot of social recruiting at the moment, please get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

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  • niico100

    So by 20% actively looking – that doesn’t necessarily mean actively looking on LinkedIn right?

  • niico100

    BTW – the font on these comments is hella small (Chrome Mac)

  • Thanks for the heads up.. will fix.

  • Correct, 20% (actually 21%) of professionals are actively looking at any given time – they will use whatever channel works for them of course.

    More here: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/infographic-how-to-recruit-passive-candidates-online/

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