Online social networking has been revolutionised from the days when job adverts were merely transposed from paper media to a digital format. Social media and recruitment now go hand-in-hand, so much so that it has now become one of the most commonly used platforms for communication, both in our personal lives and the working world. With such a huge rise in popularity in social media platforms as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter it is no wonder that companies have been utilising this tool as a way to target potential employees as well as customers. 73% of people aged 18 to 34 found their last job through some form of social media (Aberdeen Group). By using social media, employers gain the opportunity to hire both locally and worldwide. These platforms allow a company’s reach to extend far beyond the bounds of traditional recruitment, making them useful in talent pipelining and many other aspects of recruitment.
It would seem, however, that despite the huge advantages of using social media in recruitment not everybody is taking advantage. In a survey by Robert Walters based on the responses of 896 job-seekers and 280 hiring managers it was found that whilst 85% of job-seekers in the sample had a LinkedIn profile and 73.5% had a Facebook profile, only 50.8% of hiring managers had a company LinkedIn profile and a mere 11% had one on Facebook. Furthermore, 49.2% of companies have no presence on any of the major sites whatsoever, compared to only 5.2% of job-seekers. This lack of social media not only reduces a company’s chances of hiring someone today, it fundamentally affects how they are seen, by prospective employees, clients and partners.
Over 85% of job seekers look on social media for information on companies even before they apply to them. They are looking for information on the company, it’s culture, prospects and the likely working environment. Over 70% will look up the person they are being interviewed by on LinkedIn. More than any other medium it is social media that is shaping employer brand. For forward-looking employers wishing to position themselves as employers of choice in the marketplace it is essential that they utilise social media and, most importantly, do it right. That includes what they say, and who says it:
Two thirds of candidates say company culture is the most important thing they want to know about when they look at a company. A prospective employer needs to show the ways in which they are an exciting and engaging place to work, full of like-minded people who new employees will be able to fit in with. This involves careful consideration about the type of environment a company has and the type of people they want to attract, all part of the employer branding process (see our blog Why does employer branding matter?). This is not only on the company pages, the social media profiles of managers in the business need to consistently reflect the employer brand too. What is more, when candidates meet the hiring managers they need to show that they buy into it. For many people, particularly Millennials, company culture, what a place is like to work, is more important than the job itself, career prospects or pay. Present your culture correctly and you will attract your potential employees and not have to hunt for them.
The second key to using social media is who is communicating the message. One of the best ways to attract employees to your company, especially in the Millennial generation, is not with the traditional statements from HR directors and managing executives. Where Baby Boomers regarded statements by corporate officers and experts as encouraging and believable, Millennials have flipped entirely. The same information from the same source will be seen almost entirely negatively. Instead companies should use the words of their current employees themselves. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer showed that 60% of employees rate peers/people like them as extremely trustworthy about company matters compared to only 37% trusting CEOs (a 12% decrease in the last year alone). It is now blogs, audio or videos of employees, talking about their experiences and their days that is the most successful method of attracting potential staff. By rallying your employees to spread the word about your company, its culture and the benefits of your employee value proposition you will be far more easily able to attact the right people and begin to build an impressive talent pipeline.
Remember, your social media presence, or lack of it, is one of the first things a potential employee will look at. Ignoring it doesn’t mean it’s not there, it just means you have no control over it. If you do not utilise it to boost your company’s employer brand, it becomes a sign of disinterest, lack of culture and old-fashioned thinking. Instead embrace social media; have a clear strategy for how to best promote your unique company image, be consistent and, above all, be honest.