Why Social Media Matters When Recruiting Talent

Recruitment strategy has come a long way from hanging “help wanted” signs on storefronts and placing ads in the local newspaper’s classified section. At a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch seminar, I learned exactly how far it has come from Senior Strategy Consultant Christi Carpenter of Monster.com.

When recruitment first moved off the pages of newspapers and onto the Web, it was done through destination sites such as Monster.com, Career Builder and Yahoo! Hot Jobs. Carpenter describes this shift as “Recruiting 2.0.” While recruitment sites work well to post job openings, filter applications and find candidates, the candidate must first be actively looking for a new position. 

Social media has changed this dynamic. Enter “Recruiting 3.0 ” — the shift from content-driven sites to find candidates, to user-driven sites to engage with potential candidates.

Traditionally, recruiters mainly looked at “active” applicants, those actively seeking work. However, due to market shifts and the engagement opportunities of social media recruiting, “passive” applicants should not be discounted. The best applicant for the job may not be actively searching. Social recruiting breaks down this barrier allowing access to anyone engaging in the social sphere.

With the recent economic downturn, this change takes on even more significance. When unemployment numbers soar, applicants flood the market, making the job of the recruiter difficult. 

HCI Research Fellow Katherine Jones stated, “Today’s employers feel that employees are loyal due to the economic times, but the reality is they are not. Because of this, there is a strong likelihood that when the economy turns for the better, employers could find themselves with valued employees jumping ship. This places pressure on them to put retention measures in place now.” 

Carpenter said today’s unstable market has created a world where the career path is less of a ladder and more of a journey. 

This change makes it more important than ever for recruiters to find the best candidate for every position. It also means that experience may not be the best indicator in all cases, and skills and personality play a greater role. Social media recruiting helps paint a more realistic portrait of candidates. 

Recruiters now engage and interact with candidates through their professional and personal social sites in meaningful ways.

For example, Twitter allows instant dialogue with talent and targeted searches with industry specific hashtags. Now, the recruiter can watch candidates through even clearer lenses, viewing the candidate on their own turf, without the fluff, stress and variability of the standard interview. 

So the next time you go to post, share, like, comment, pin or tweet into the social sphere, ask yourself, would I be comfortable sharing this on my next interview? 

Erin Pray is a social media enthusiast. That doesn’t mean she locks herself away with her computer and experiences life through a blog. Rather, she has always had a passion for connecting with others.