Social Media: The New Face of Recruiting…?

by Susan G. Marlow
December 14, 2009

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

—Charles Darwin

With the emergence of social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and their user bases growing by the millions every few months, some people would think that a recruiter’s job just got much easier. Let’s face it, in a short amount of time, we usually can find anybody, whether it is on one of these social networking sites, a blog, discussion board, alumni list or elsewhere in cyberspace. In today’s world of information overload, talent is literally available in masses. Gone are the golden days of recruiting where we would hunt for days to find a suitable candidate, with a degree from a top university who worked in a niche field, for a top-notch law firm or company. That needle in the haystack success that we celebrated after days or weeks of searching now will likely take us minutes, thanks to the rapid growth of social media and the hundreds (or thousands) of web sites. We must, however, take pause and ask ourselves – have our jobs gotten easier or much harder?

Never before in the history of recruiting have there been so many new tools for employers and recruiters to find and attract talent. Social media has taken the web by storm. To continue to be successful as recruiters, we must take notice. In this soft job market, employers are starting to sidestep recruiters and favor what they feel are faster and cheaper options. This change has become the emerging norm and it is unlikely to reverse itself.

Every once in awhile, something comes along that “threatens” to do away with recruiters. First, there were job boards. Now, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are supposedly the beginning of our demise. But hiring partners and managers still need recruiters to provide an invaluable service that no online technology can possibly provide. Managers need someone to sift through the junk they receive. While it is true that an assistant can visually screen through resumes and narrow down the selection process, it is also true that an experienced recruiter saves hiring personnel time by not just sorting resumes, but also by qualifying candidates through in-depth conversations and personal meetings.

Screening candidates goes far beyond the content of a resume. A good recruiter can disseminate what a hiring manager is really looking for and then find people who really are a fit. Although some social media can be useful, it does not replace the expertise of a seasoned recruiter. These are the benefits we must continually remind employers of through marketing and branding.

As employers capitalize on using social media, so should recruiters. The recruiting industry is often slow to take advantage of social media’s low-cost and free opportunities for recruiters to source candidates and brand themselves. Although more and more recruiters are starting to utilize social media, most still have not accepted this new (and likely permanent) wave of networking technology. This is largely because they either do not have or are unwilling to make the time to understand how it works and can significantly benefit their business.

When you start connecting with candidates on web sites such as LinkedIn, you reach a talent pool that your competitors do not. A good social media strategy also helps to build relationships by creating a dialogue with clients and candidates, and moves beyond the one-way conversation of traditional web sites. Recruiters should use the ever-growing social medium to build their brand (company and individual) and more effectively interact socially with potential candidates and clients.

When properly utilized, social media can create loyalty to your business and promote your brand through word-of-mouth and online networking. It is essential that you make the necessary effort to understand the different medias. Take note of how other businesses are using them effectively or ineffectively. And when you’re ready, know that it is okay to start small. But also know that it is imperative to start now. Change is inevitable and unless you are willing to adapt, your continued survival will change without you … but not for the better.

Rodney L. Abstone II is a Legal Executive & Staffing Consultant at CLS Legal Staffing in Chicago. He may be reached directly at (312) 251-2581 or .

Susan G. Marlow is in Enterprise Recruiting at Accenture HR BPO Services. She may be reached directly at (813) 265-9626 or .

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