Everybody knows that the biggest advancements made in recruiting in the last decade have been those related to social media. Online platforms – most notably LinkedIn – have played huge roles in the way we communicate with and attract our candidates, and sometimes clients too. There has been a complete role reversal between recruiters and candidates – what was once a game of candidates fighting for the attention of recruiters, has now turned into one where recruiters are rounding up candidates into online communities so they can engage and socialise (more commonly known as “building a social network”).

With 65% of adults using social media on a regular basis (Pew’s 2011), and an increasing amount of candidates actively searching for jobs using their social media contacts, it’s no surprise that this is where recruiters are hanging out too.

Let’s recap on some of recruitment’s most valued social media sites to date. It is astonishing to consider how much influence they have on the industry now, when most didn’t even exist ten years ago:

  • 1995: First Internet Forums
  • 2002: LinkedIn – a social networking website for people in professional occupations
  • 2004: Facebook – an online social networking service
  • 2006: Twitter – an online social networking service and microblogging service
  • 2008: Jobvite -  a social recruiting and applicant tracking service
  • Branchout Facebook2010: Branchout – a Facebook application designed for finding jobs, networking and recruiting

But it’s not just social media that has shaped where the industry is today. In the last five years we have seen big transformations in recruiting thanks to changes in the economy and technology as well.

Social Media and the Economy:

When the economy slowed down in 2008, most companies took measures to cut down costs by laying off their employees. The big question on everyone’s minds at the time was whether recruitment agencies were going to be the biggest hit in the industry. But there was a twist – organisations begun to seek highly qualified candidates who would add value to their resources (or give them more bang for their buck, if you will). And while the pool of unemployed people grew, recruiters were the only ones keeping updated records and maintaining relationships, particularly online and in the social media space. This gave them a good stance in the industry – there was never a moment where they couldn’t find the right person for the job.

Social Media and Technology:

Technology is just the gift that keeps on giving isn’t it? Thanks to technology and its continuous growth and adaptions, social media has been integrated into every division of recruiting. It’s allowed us access to insightful data and knowledge about what worked and what didn’t. Our strategies have become stronger and ultimately helped us to help our clients reduce costs in hires, streamline processes and of course increase the numbers of quality candidates.

Here are three social technologies that have taken social recruiting on a turn in the past few years:

  • TwitterNetwork Development (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook): We can literally spend all day scouring these sites for candidates and come out with nothing. But it’s the strategy behind our engagement and our knowledge of how to leverage the sites that really displays results.
  • Public Ranking and Rating (Yelp, Netflix, Amazon, Glassdoor): These platforms have allowed us to learn about the importance of candidate experience, in turn giving us opportunities to engage more. And they’re not only for us as recruiters, but for our clients and their employer branding schemes as well. Long gone are the days of getting away with treating a candidate badly. Everything and anyone online can come back to bite you.
  • Mobile Platforms (tablets, smartphones): Not that recruiters ever stopped working before, but these technologies allow us to literally never stop. We are in contact with our candidates and clients 24/7. There is no escaping it. And this can only be enhanced business.

Social Media and Your Network

“A survey by Ventanta Research found 93% of surveyed organisations are already actively using social media to recruit new employees.

Social media allows us to connect with our candidates in different ways to how we ever have before. Your social network gives you a whole new level of interaction with candidates, often before you even have a job for them.

Social networks allow you to get yourself out there too. People will start to know you and trust you. The more candidates you have in your network, the more you will organically gain. People are your most powerful advertising medium. If you can impress one candidate, you could potentially gain ten more via that one’s social network.

We aren’t recruiters anymore, we are marketers and social recruitment has veered recruitment into the world of content marketing, with your social network being your target audience. And the fact is that most of the time the candidates who are right for the jobs we have to offer aren’t actually the one’s looking for a job. So we need to have these people in our networks. But we need to proactively probe for this talent. Sadly, they won’t just come to us.

According to John Sumser, we are amidst the evolution of social recruiting and the adoption of social recruiting is much slower than the original web ever was. And as a social recruiter myself, I can only work to increase awareness around the benefits in hope of speeding it up a little. There are so many opportunities being missed, and it needs to change.

Social media is a source of influence, a great power in our industry. It’s the simple fact that recruiters who are using social media can do better. For those of us who are already on board, it is an exciting time. We are dabbling in this and testing out that. We are working towards a future that will show us a clear emphasis on workflow and measurable results. We are now at a time where we are confident to do away with the constant search for lead information and the waste-of-time-interviews, because now we can spend more time on social media, focusing on building and developing relationships.

I certainly know what I prefer doing.

Amanda Ashworth is an agency recruiter with a passion for social recruiting, who now focuses on marketing. She blogs about the changes within the recruitment industry and social media. Follow Amanda on Twitter @RecSocially.

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