Recruiting effectively through social media

Read time 2min 40sec

Social media opens up possibilities for both mass and targeted recruitment, according to Mark Gray, CEO of Graylink.

Speaking at the ITWeb Social Media Summit, in Bryanston, yesterday, Gray emphasised that "pull" recruitment tactics sometimes outweigh the usefulness of more traditional job advertising.

"With push tactics, you're placing your job in front of many candidates, for example, a job board. Most of them will be inappropriate for the position you're recruiting for.

"Pull tactics are all about one-on-one. They're about data segmentation, and mining data particular to a certain candidate. It's the difference between trawling a net behind you and catching a whole lot of rubbish, and a spear fisher who dives down with a very specific idea of what type of fish he wants to catch. The process and outcomes are very different."

Determining the target audience is an essential part of establishing a recruitment strategy, he says. "Approximately 80% of professionals today are passive; that is, not looking actively for a job. Engaging passive talent requires a radical shift from using a traditional recruiting model and becoming more strategic, but results in a better quality of candidate coming into the pipelines, as well as reduced cost of recruitment, because, instead of dealing with 101 average applicants, you're dealing with 10 great ones."

Currently, said Gray, research suggests that social media is responsible for quite an insignificant percentage of hires, but that's "partly because of the way social media is categorised", he explained. "There is a definite distinction between social recruiting and using social media to recruit - 'social recruiting' refers to social platforms built specifically for recruiting, as opposed to using social media as a process to complement overall recruiting. I'd argue that pretty much all platforms use social media in one way or another to complement the uptake and drive the visibility of their recruitment services."

Social media can assist in targeting recruitment at the correct audience, said Gray. "Some social platforms are much more suited to passive candidate engagement, and some more suited to active. Anybody on LinkedIn knows that [recruiters] solicit a lot of info about you; it becomes your CV. Therefore, as a recruiter looking to engage passive talent, and for tools to mine that data and segment it, LinkedIn is going to fulfil your ability to speak to passive candidates, compared to Facebook or other mass-market channels, which are better used for brand awareness or distribution of job ads."

It comes down to the fact that social media allows both one-to-one communication, as well as one-to-many, making it a highly useful tool - but, emphasised Gray, "using social media for recruiting is just one arrow in your quiver. It is not the be-all and end-all, but rather one tool that can be used to support the objective."

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