Social Media as an alternative solution in Online Recruitment

In July 2010, the “population” of Facebook reached 500 million making it the third largest “nation”, following China and India. While this incredible statistic is an indication of the huge potential that social media holds for business, in the recruitment industry there is residual hesitance concerning how exactly this potential may be harnessed for online recruitment service.

In a recent survey in the UK recruiters ranked social media as the fourth most effective source of successful hires, 6% more popular than traditional press advertising. Yet 43% of respondents also reported that they lacked the understanding to use social media effectively as a recruitment solution.

Social media carries with it a number of pitfalls for all parties in the recruitmentprocess. While LinkedIn is an obvious networking tool for candidates and companies, the use of sites such as Facebook in recruitment is not yet an exact science. Companies are reluctant to expose themselves to the possibility of bad-mouthing from unsuccessful candidates, and candidates may be equally reluctant to engage with potential employers through a social website.

The unfocused use of Twitter and blogs as marketing tools also have their problems, most notably the everyone-is-talking-but-is-anybody-actually-listening syndrome.

Add to this the fact that those employed in recruitment are usually unfamiliar with using social media professionally, and you have a veritable recipe for disaster on your hands.

Yet there are some companies out there who are making social media work for them, and are being rewarded with reduced recruitment costs.

In order to do this effectively, it is important to continually bear in mind the reasons why most people use the target sites – for fun and for networking – and use these to your advantage. The hard-sell is a blunt tool in this context; people do not take kindly to being bombarded with commercial marketing on a social site. Neither is “corporate stalking” likely to go down well with the average unsuspecting Facebook user. Rather, the emphasis should be on giving rather than taking from these settings: engaging with those who are already interested in what you are trying to achieve, establishing “communities” for interaction between interested parties, and stimulating curiosity in your brand by providing entertaining content.

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