The Impact of Social Media on the Recruiting Business

May 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm 1 comment

In an age when social media is increasingly becoming the favored way of connecting people all around the world, the recruiting industry is also looking at different ways to utilize the medium for their own benefit. Indeed, gone were the days when businesses had to stick with the old, time consuming and rather expensive methods of posting ads in newspapers followed by more time spent short-listing, selecting and interviewing people face-to-face. With social media technologies, it is now possible to target a wide population and post job opportunities almost instantaneously without a huge investment of money or time.

It is estimated that around 35% of companies are using social media to promote themselves. Of these, approximately 21 percent are using it to research and recruit employees. Considering the convenience, efficiency and the fact that these tools are really in their infancy in terms of development, it appears that social media will be used more extensively in the future for recruitment purposes. But what will be the repercussions of this on the recruitment industry? Can social media serve as a credible medium to do all types of hiring?

The short answer is that it all depends on the type and level of recruiting that is being done. LinkedIn and to a lesser degree Facebook are useful ways of finding candidates for intermediate and more junior level roles. This is in large part because these people are online and for the most part more social media savvy than senior executives (sorry to say). The generation that holds the most senior business roles these days are oftentimes referred to as immigrants in this online world whereas the younger generation are the natives!

For the more senior level positions such strategies, in their current form, don’t yet work well. Firstly, senior level executive’s representation on social media sites is sporadic and still very much in the early adoption phase. Also, there is a heightened level of privacy that is required both by senior level executives who don’t want to expose themselves too much and for the searches that are done at this level. Furthermore recruiting senior executives is a complex process that requires human intervention in order to properly understand qualifications and assess fit since so much of this is subjective and an art form and not able to be distilled to simple profiles online or tweets into cyberspace.

On a more positive note tools like LinkedIn do allow people to approach each other in an informal manner and respond to each other’s queries efficiently. There is also great functionality for performing all sorts of checks on candidates like background and references. All in all, it may put it into perspective to remember that as of May 2009 there were 1.9 billion email users worldwide – this is slightly more than 1 in 5 persons on earth using email. By 2014 it is predicted that this number will rise to 2.5 billion. This took over thirty years to achieve so we may have some time to adjust but I firmly believe we “ain’t seen nothing yet”!!


Entry filed under: Recruiting, Uncategorized.

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1 Comment

  • 1. jpkreiss  |  September 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Social Media has brought changes to the recruiting business for sure. We used to mail marketing information to candidates, use the library to research, and develop companies to source, used the fax for resumes, etc.

    All that has changed. Social Media has allowed recruiters to be more efficient, but it does not or will not replace the need for good recruiters.

    John Kreiss


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