Generational Gaps in Social Recruiting

Originally posted on the SmashFly Intern Blog.

Recently I’ve been thinking and writing a good deal about recruitment marketing in our web 2.0 world, and I realized that I often come up with more questions than I have suggestions regarding social recruiting. Some remain skeptical about the actual utility derived from social recruiting, but I believe its benefits are clear when used correctly (see my last post). For the first time recruiters can build unique, ongoing, informative relationships through career Twitter accounts, company Facebook pages
etc, ultimately reaching out to more people than ever possible before. I do, however, recognize that there are likely limitations behind these relatively new recruiting tools, and the glaring one seems to be the limited type of candidates a recruiter can target. By ‘type’ of candidates, as you’ve probably guessed, I mean particularly young candidates. Although I have no statistical information to back my
claims, I think that we can agree that there is a general consensus that younger people consist of the greatest and most active demographic on social media and networking sites. This has spawned a number of questions dealing with the potential of a generational split in recruiting.

How do recruiters handle the generational implications of social recruiting?

If recruiters even recognize this split, I’m curious to know whether or not that changes how they go about utilizing social recruiting strategies. This could potentially change the way recruiters present
their employer brand, employment messaging, and available jobs. If your audience is, on average, on the younger side, this could even change what types of positions recruiters try to predominantly market.

Are recruiters effectively reaching upper level, senior level candidates in their fields using social recruiting?

If social media is full of young adults and Generation Y, I feel that it could become much more difficult to reach the senior level candidates considering they might be less likely to use social media so
extensively due to their age. It is possible this isn’t even an issue for such experienced candidates, as they might leverage their personal networks and connections they’ve collected much more effectively. So, the question ends up being, how is the scope of recruiters efforts affected when using social recruiting, and how do their strategies evolve in light of this understanding?

Does this imply any sort of discrimination in hiring practices?

While talking to my mother over the phone, she mentioned her frustration over the “countless” web sites that she suddenly felt she needed to use in order stay competitive and knowledgeable about job opportunities. My mother is extremely bright, but the tools she now faced were simply conceptually and fundamentally foreign to her. Many people, she expressed, feel as though they are being left out at best, and purposefully filtered out at worst through social recruiting. Social recruiting in some cases is seen as a way to target younger, less costly, entry-level to mid-level candidates. The
‘discrimination’ here doesn’t seem to be based so much on legal grounds as much ethical grounds.

So, recruiters and HR professionals, do you find these concerns and questions valid or relevant? Do recruiters find social recruiting worthwhile, and how do you implement, if at all, your understanding of
the generational split when creating your social recruiting strategy?

About the Author: Tim is a Online Marketing Intern for SmashFly Technologies. SmashFly is the provider of the first recruitment marketing platform called WildFire that enables companies and staffing firms to easily
distribute and more importantly measure the performance of their
recruiting efforts online.

Views: 93

Comment by Paul Alfred on November 9, 2010 at 8:16am
Tim I think you need to take another look at the Demographic which represents LinkedIn ... LinkedIn also include profiles of Executives that make up the Fortune 500 ... Perhaps you might be more accurate if you are referring to Facebook ...


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