Monday August 16, 2010

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have become recruitment tools

SOCIAL media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

Who would have thought that these social media sites would become one of the latest recruitment tools? With a staggering number of 346 million people who read blogs globally, 700 million photos added to Facebook monthly, and 273.1 minutes on average spent watching online videos each month, they provide companies with a readily available pool of talent.

Thus, it is no wonder that a majority of recruiters have taken the leap towards social media.

There have been various debates on the pros and cons of social media recruitment. However, the conclusion which most research and debates derive is usually - those who miss out would eventually lose out. To what extent is this true? There much be a catch to this, after all, nothing good comes easy.

The main issues driving the change are cost and quality. Social media is a much cheaper form of recruitment compared to traditional job boards. But is social media recruiting really cheap and easy? Are traditional job boards on their last legs?

Think again. While social media has undeniably added a new dimension to recruitment, it’s vital to know that it may cost a bomb if the media, especially the big three to be precise - LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter - are not used appropriately. It can take a long time to properly define and maintain a Facebook fan page, tweet and write blog posts.

The recruitment team also needs to closely monitor user feedback as it can damage the reputation of the company. One minor slip up could ruin the years and money spent building your company’s reputation. The fact that these sites operate 24/7 makes the process of managing it all the more tedious.

So, is social media just a big waste of time? Not necessarily. Social networks don’t waste time, people do. An employee might be wasting time on social media with personal conversations and catching up with friends but productive employees will use social media as a means of getting their work done.

For instance, Deloitte hosted an employee film festival in which employees submitted creative videos articulating the company’s value and culture. The best of these were published on YouTube and Deloitte was able to choose from the cream of the crop.

Social media has also revolutionised branding. We have long associated branding with products and services. However, in today’s business world, branding can also be linked to human capital. Human capital as we know is slowly emerging as every company’s lifeline and the talent war between companies will only continue to intensify.

Social media provides a platform for interaction and building relationships between employers and potential employees, which if done correctly could distinguish a company from its competitors.

Is social media recruitment just a trend or is it here to stay? Almost three out of four companies use social media in their battle to capture the best talents. Many niche talents which are otherwise impossible to find have been discovered through these sites, making social media a must have in the race for talent. Sooner or later, companies which do not engage in social media recruitment will find themselves left behind. But is social media enough?

Despite the array of advantages social media recruitment boasts, one stone doesn’t necessarily kill two birds. If you are hiring information technology professionals, social media could well be the most convenient ways for recruiting.

That’s because many of these professionals are on social networks. However, it might not work as well with other professions, say medical or engineering. I

f the talent pool you are looking for isn’t on social networks, it’s obviously a waste of time to use social media to get the desired results.

Many employers are now using these sites to conduct reference checks on potential hires.

Yes, it is true that a large pool of candidates together with their personal information is accessible via social media sites. The question is: “Is the information reliable?”

We’ve all heard stories of how some sweet young thing meets the love of her life in a chat room, only to find out that her ‘dream boy’ is actually a jobless 40-year-old psychopath with personal hygiene issues. Exactly how trustworthy the information we find online is anyone’s guess.

Social media acts more as an initial screening tool than an end in itself. Interviews and detailed background checks are still very much necessary.

Social media recruitment is still in its early stages and further research and investment must be put into developing the skills necessary to fully maximise its potential.

Social media complements the conventional recruitment tools but it is not a replacement.

Integration of the different tools is essential. Get the mix right and you stand to gain a great advantage over your competitors.

In a world where almost everyone is a social media addict, this is where the future lies.

·Jade E is a consultant of Deloitte Talent Search.

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