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Recruitment technology

Social Media Is HR’s New Frontier

Clare Hopping

Social Media Is HR’s New Frontier


Mark Kens/flickrWhile personal interaction remains essential to recruiting, social media and online video are on the up and up in the world of HR.

Traditional job applications are giving way to social media recruitment, but a standard practice has yet to emerge. A recent survey by Jobvite revealed that 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn in their recruitment process, while 66% are using Facebook and 52% are using Twitter. In the UK, Facebook (64%) is preferred over LinkedIn (52%), according to an HR Magazine report on research firm Potentialpark’s study.

The same report found that literally 100% of young job seekers in Europe would like to interact with employers online. Moreover, 73% of 18- to 34-year-olds found their last job through a social network, according to survey by the Aberdeen Group.

The immense variety of recruitment strategies made possible by social media helps companies make a more unique impression, as well as target certain networks and demographics.

Finding Candidates Through Social Media

A case study by Link Humans on L’Oréal, which used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to advertise job postings, showed a dramatic increase in the company’s candidate response rate through the use of these networks.

Using LinkedIn, the company reached out to passive candidates (currently employed workers who remain open to a new job) and browsed top talent, saving between £10,000 and £20,000 on each hire.

L’Oréal advertised an internship to targeted populations on its Facebook page and included a mobile link. The turnaround was extremely fast, with responses coming in just minutes after the post first went live – L’Oréal received 17 qualified resumes within the first 12 hours.

The click-through rates were much higher than that of the average Facebook ad, and the campaign boasted a conversion rate of 3.67%.

LinkedIn also features “talent communities” where candidates with similar interests can collaborate and discuss their work. Recruiters can engage with group members as well to find both active job seekers and passive candidates.

Interviewing Through Online Media

In the midst of a boom in business technology, recruiter-candidate relationships are still as important as ever. Both employers and job seekers can use social media to strengthen their brands, making it easier for each party to recognise compatible matches.

But the role of social media in candidate screening is currently unclear. In the US, a survey cited by ACAS revealed that 90% of job seekers believe companies look at their social media accounts to screen them.

An About Money interview with Rob Picknell, Senior Vice President of Customer Solutions at HireRight, suggests that most recruiters do not check social media profiles, hoping to avoid exposing themselves to protected class information and leaving them vulnerable to discrimination charges.

A 2012 survey by CareerBuilder shows that, at the time, 37% of companies researched candidates on social media, down from 45% in 2009, while 15% prohibited the practice outright. On the applicant side, however, online and mobile research is more robust, making online company branding extremely important.

Social media has rather drastically changed interview processes. Singapore-based global recruitment specialist Ram Chandrashekhar told ITWire that his company hired two software engineers from India through video interviewing.

Other companies use video interviewing as a screening process before inviting final candidates into the office. Existing video interviewing platforms like LaunchPad Recruits allow for easy applicant tracking and discussion among HR officials and a stronger recruiter-candidate relationship early on in the recruitment process.

HR’s New Role

As the demand for skilled labour outpaces supply and the flow of information becomes faster and faster, the recruiter-candidate relationship is shifting towards a more level playing field. More and more companies are actively reaching out to candidates through social media, rather than passively waiting for applications on job posting sites.

A unified social media recruitment policy has not yet emerged, but it may very well do so soon, due to discrimination and privacy concerns. In the meantime, companies are exploring every possible avenue of web-based recruitment.

(Main image credit: Mark Kens/flickr)

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.