Recruiting Talent Using Social Media

By Tony Restell

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Before the arrival of social media, your typical recruiter would find talent in one of two ways.

More often than not, a recruiter would hire talent via the process of selection. Vacancies would be advertised, candidates would apply – and from the resulting applications a shortlist of interview candidates would be drawn up.

For business critical roles, recruiting might instead have been undertaken via the process of search. That's to say the recruiter would research a market and proactively identify talent to shortlist. Candidates would then be personally approached by the recruiter and sold on the merits of the job.

Recruiting Talent Using Social Media

Why Might A Recruiter Now Look To Find Talent Using Social Media?

These two approaches to finding talent have distinct drawbacks. With selection, the recruiter is hostage to whether or not they have advertised in the right places; whether their advertising copy is persuasive enough; and whether enough of the target candidate demographic is actually looking at job advertisements at that point in time. The up front cost of advertising is usually modest, but the recruiter may have to wade through a lot of applications to generate the desired shortlist.

Search, on the other hand, greatly increases the likelihood that suitable candidates will be drawn into the hiring process. But this is at a considerable cost in terms of the recruiter time investment required to conduct a search assignment.

So how can a modern day recruiter find talent using social media? How has the recruiting balance therefore changed?

Using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, a recruiter is now able to:

- Research markets and draw up candidate shortlists via social media in ways that historically were the preserve of a pure headhunting business

- Directly approach shortlist candidates via social media channels - bringing an element of direct marketing to the traditional advertising / selection model

- Influence candidates and build up a talent pipeline through the sharing of recruiting materials and company insights via social media

- Dramatically increase the effectiveness of referral networks, so that more recruiting comes via employee recommendations


Social Media For Recruiting Has Created A Hybrid Approach To Recruiting

Social media has fundamentally transformed the recruiting landscape. It has effectively created a hybrid approach to recruiting that sits part way between pure search and pure selection. Elsewhere we have written about this new approach of recruiting with social media, which we dubbed #splearch. In essence this approach allows better results to be achieved than have traditionally been achieved with advertising alone; but without incurring the full costs of recruiting via search.

Recruiters not using social media to extend their recruiting strategies are likely to put their organisations at a competitive disadvantage; restricting their pool of candidates to those who are already inclined to apply, rather than fishing in the wider talent pool.

Have you researched your sector recently to see how other recruiters have adapted their recruiting strategies? Could be an exercise well worth undertaking...

Image source: Luc Legay

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