Social media in recruiting

Over the last few months I have had many discussions with people both inside and outside the recruitment industry over how to use all these new “web 2.0” tools for recruiting. Mostly in the context of tapping into the Gen Y market, which is not the right approach, more on that later. While some already get it, I felt it was probably good to lay out some ideas for you all, if this is preaching to the choir sorry come back on the next post.

The first thing to realise is “web 2.0” has been built on a number of fundamental principles, and that to succeed you need to understand them all. The principles are summarised below, however it would take a blog post (or more) on each to fully break them down when it comes to recruiting.

  1. Transparency
  2. Conversation
  3. Wisdom of Crowds
  4. Data is Key
  5. Speed
  6. Reuse
  7. Rich User Experience

With the above principles out of the way, on to social media in recruiting.

Hang on, before that don’t we need a strategy?


Building a social media strategy in to your organisation recruitment strategy is not something that can be done overnight, or by a select few within the organisation. The strategy needs to take into account many different factors, such as organisational history, culture, values, industry, funding, and above all commitment. Just putting a “Share on Facebook” link at the bottom of a job ad IS NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!! Likewise creating just a Facebook group IS NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!!These are not the easiest things to work through, in the meantime here some generalised areas where you could apply social media in recruiting:

  • Sponsor some blogs to help prospective candidates understand what it is like to work at your company, or what the recruitment process is like
  • Create a Facebook group for your graduate recruits
  • Having a YouTube channel for videos about your organisation, not just corporate sanctioned ones
  • Using social networks to source candidates
  • Use social networks to develop relationships with potential candidates
  • Have your employees & managers run online career fairs, talk about life in the company, court potential talent using social media
  • Setup an internal tagging site to allow anyone in the company to “tag” people who might be potential future employees
  • Teach manager how to use RSS, alerts to find out when people are discussing your company and products, as they could be potential candidates
  • Publish exit interview answer (personal details removed) on the internal intranet so everyone can see why people are leaving
  • Embrace the principles of “web 2.0” and rework your end to end recruitment process, ok this is not just social media but it would help with the candidate experience

I could go on and on, however I serious encourage you not to undertake any of these without fully understanding the broader impact of what you are doing. While yes would should start small, but social media has a funny way of getting out of control so if you are not ready for the results you might have some difficult discussions with marketing. 

If you want a social media strategy for recruiting give me a call, sorry for the shameless plug but I am getting sick of so called “experts” in social media putting their hand up to help organisations when it comes to recruitment, branding and talent acquisition or retention. Only to have the opportunities being wasted.

6 thoughts on “Social media in recruiting

  1. Hi Michael

    I enjoyed your article. I share your frustration about people’s obsession with “web 2.0 recruiting” when few of them actually know what it actually means. Frankly most Australian companies haven’t mastered web 1.0. Adecco, one of Australia’s largest recruitment agencies has a SEEK iframe with their job ads on their web site for example.
    I’d like to see Australian companies get the basics right before I hear more Wank2.0. If you can’t develop a decent careers web site or run a successful in house referral program for example then you need not trouble yourself with how Facebook and MySpace are going to revolutionise your world.

  2. Brett Sounds like we are on the same page! Except for one point, I feel IF (and that is a big if) companies do have the commitment for a social media strategy they could move from a poor online strategy to a decent social media/web 2.0 strategy. But this would require a significant change in thought processes within the organisation.

  3. Hi Michael,

    This was a great read, thanks for sharing your thoughts – since you and I met a while back, our Recruitment Blog has really picked up some traction and has added some real value (both measurable and qualitative) – I think the success comes from the transparency the site provides and information about us that you don’t normally get to see.

    I think people need to put as much care and attention into their social networks as much as they do with their face to face networks.

  4. Hi Michael

    Thanks for your timely comment. Whilst our company does have commitment towards social media, we are working on developing a decent media strategy before effectively using the social media.

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