Social Recruiting and Its Effect on the HR World

As our technologically-advanced recruiting world continues to progress, top talent is more easily accessible than ever before. With the click of a button you can find your next marketing specialist or c-level advisor. Well, that is, if you know where to look.

In recent news, social media sites, in particular social networking sites have seen extraordinary surges in usage levels. According to CNNmoney, usage on social networking sites is up by 82% worldwide from last year, with Facebook topping the charts. These same users are also accessing the sites from mobile phones (most likely, a direct correlation with the increase in Smartphone sales). reported a 31% increase in mobile phone usage for social networking sites. And, in a related study, 36% of social media mobile users are ages 35-54 and 34% are ages 25-34. Ok, ok, just a bunch of numbers. What does it all mean?

Well, at least it means good news for recruiters. These social networking sites permit direct access to millions of high caliber candidates. It’s a gigantic talent pool for recruiters to source from. And, don’t let those numbers intimidate you. Sourcing from that pool is as easy as 1-2-3 with today’s enhanced searching capabilities.

Now, it’s all a matter of using the right media to source the right talent. Many organizations are finding social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) to be some of their strongest tools in acquiring recommended talent. Why is that? To explain, let’s talk about employee referrals first. Historically, and even more so in recent years, employee referral programs often produce highly productive and loyal workers more so than other traditional recruiting methods. According to HR World, “Candidates referred by employees also tend to be of higher quality because the referring employee usually screens his or her referrals closely.” Companies can capitalize on the knowledge an employee can give on a referral, in order to understand better what the potential recruit has to offer.

So, think about it. What are these social networking sites really, but large employee referral programs. Let’s take LinkedIn, for example. This site allows users to recommend other users in their network. Organizations can then utilize these recommendations to quickly source candidates. After a candidate is sourced and inserted into the application and interview process, those online recommendations provide a strong foundation, almost as powerful as an in-house employee referral, in a company’s decision to hire. Additionally, social recruiting tends to remove or lower many time-consuming and costly pieces of a recruitment program, such as time-to-fill expenses.

Speculating on the future?

Ten years ago, applicant tracking systems revolutionized recruitment methods (and continue to do so, if I may add). These methods have evolved and progressed to reflect the needs of recruiters today. I believe that this will also happen with Social Recruiting (which many applicant tracking systems already incorporate). Social recruiting seems to be the recruitment tool of the future.

While social recruiting is still only in its beginning stages, some companies are taking the initiative and steering their recruitment program in that direction. And, by encompassing this type of sourcing into the recruiting function now, these companies will be one step ahead of the competition.

Well, only time will tell how these trends will turn, and of course, varying opinions are certain to arise. So, tell me. What do you think the future holds for Social Recruiting?

Views: 144

Comment by Paul Alfred on March 11, 2010 at 10:40am
Great post Karen.... I think though it is important to mention the impact on the Third Party Recruiter in supporting his/her client who utilizes the same SM Resources internally to find the same talent ... They are technically competing with their clients to provide qualified candidates.
Comment by Karen Bucks on March 11, 2010 at 10:56am
That's a great point Paul! So it sounds like there is a possibility for the following two scenarios. 1) Companies who utilize Third Party Recruiters will not partake in Social Recruiting. or 2) Companies who do use TPR, may stop using those vendors and start using Social Media to recruit on their own. To be honest, I don't see the second one happening entirely (at least not yet), but I wouldn't be surprised if TPR did get hit a little bit in the foreseeable future..
Comment by Paul Alfred on March 11, 2010 at 11:09am
I compete with my clients who also utilize SM .... In the end ... I hate to admit this: It really comes down to who targets and presents and closes that qualified candidate first. Its a crazy race.... Large Companies I think will still work with TPR and utilize SM tools over the long run ... :)
Comment by Karen Bucks on March 11, 2010 at 11:17am
Yeah, that is very true. Well and that's one of the benefits of TPR, from my understanding at least, is that these type of recruiters have the expertise and experience sourcing candidates. As such, they can probably source top talent much faster.

And since large companies have strong talent acquisition demands, they need powerful resources. With that being said, I am curious to see how social networking sites will respond to that.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 11, 2010 at 4:21pm
If we take the attitude that we are only an extension of our clients recruiting efforts as opposed to competeing with internal recruiters we have a more cohesive working relationship. Believe it or not there are many candidates who will not respond to a company posting but will respond to a TPR posting. When they respond to a recruiter they know who has their resume, they don't risk their boss's wife's cousin being the internal recruiter. They get info about the company without having to jump out there and let the world know they are looking. If we work together we cover more ground even if it is in the same venue.

If we have three recruiters working on a position in our office and two come up with the same candidate the first one who found the candidate takes ownership. Our clients seem to have the same attitude as it doesn't happen as often as some seem to believe.

I don't know of any recruiter internal or external who can review every resume on every site. I know there are thousands of people who will review a posting and sometimes respond when they do not have their resume posted on a job board. Many who do not spend hours looking at company websites and are not actively looking just happen to notice a posting and decide to find out more information. They will many times call us before they will call the company even if they know it is the same job. Why, because we talk to them before they send their resume or fill out an online application. The company online application prior to talking with a candidate is the greatest boon to thrid party recruiting that has happened since Lincoln was a cadet. Think about it. If you are working and might want to change jobs would you rather fill out an online application or talk to a live person about the company and the job. Or even exchange a few emails with someone before you go through the drill of an online application. In my opinon employers are shooting themselves in the foot with the best candidates with the requirement for an online app to be completed before they will talk with anyone.

I sent a statement today to a client who had spent three months with their internal recruiter trying to fill a position. We filled it in three weeks from a job posting on the same job board that the company uses. Why, because we have worked for that client longer than the internal recruiter and know the personality and background of the candidates that this particular hiring manager likes to hire. The same internal recruiter just came back to us and listed two more positions because she realized that we can help her meet the requirements. It's not always about the fee it's about the right fill and time to fill.
Comment by Paul Alfred on March 11, 2010 at 4:35pm
Sandra you make valid points but up here in Toronto Canada - Companies are always looking to cut cost and we run into alot of companies who technically try to out race us on finding the candidates themselves... For very difficult roles we win that race hands down ... Ofcourse we only support those types of roles ...
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 11, 2010 at 4:46pm
LOL, down here in Texas everybody is always trying to outrun everybody and save a buck. If you only support difficult to fill roles you are leaving a lot of business on the table doing all that running.

We have a story about the old bull and young bull standing on hill looking at a herd of heifers. The young bull was snorting and pawing the ground, looked at the old bull and said, "Hey get after it, let's run down there and grab one of those cute heifers. The old bull smiled, chewed his mouth full of grass for a minute and said, "How about you quit making so much noise about what you are going to do and lets just quietly ease down there and grab them all."

The moral to the story, build your pipeline of all levels of candidates then there is no reason to race around to get one when you can ease in there and get most of them. Of course companies would rather beat you with the best hire but they can't always do it. Work smart. :)
Comment by Paul Alfred on March 11, 2010 at 4:51pm
Our Model has worked across sectors - we leave the $50k -$80k roles for our competitors ... In my early years in the industry we supported more volume up on down the salary board ... Our model forces us to stay niche ...
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 11, 2010 at 5:00pm
If it works do it. Just pray that the niche doesn't crater. Been there done that. Those 50 to 80K jobs looked pretty good after the niche crashed. We thought Oil and gas was going to be great and wonderful forever too. :)
Comment by Paul Alfred on March 11, 2010 at 10:52pm
Sandra you're too funny .... The key is to make sure you are in more than one market ... We play in IT, Finance and Energy ....


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