A large number of businesses see social media as an advertising and marketing opportunity, primarily due to the mass appeal of popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. However, a number of smart businesses have utilized the potential of social media to its true value by extending it far beyond marketing, sales and advertising. While some use social media to provide instant customer service, a number of others have realized that social media is an invaluable hiring/ recruitment tool.
A recent survey titled Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2010indicates that social media has now replaced conventional job sites and forums as the primary hiring tool for a large majority of companies.
Social Networks for recruitment needs
As expected, world’s largest and most popular professional network LinkedIn is the most preferred social networking site for recruitment needs. At second place is Facebook with its unique ability to quickly create custom pages for any kind of hiring needs. Twitter takes the bronze medal and is somewhat hampered by the restriction of 140 characters. Companies most often put in the job titles in their tweets and then add a link to the actual job posting. The tweet provides a short and sweet intro to the open position while the website provides all the required details.
Social Media for background checks
A number of companies turn to social media in order to conduct background checks on their prospect employees. Social networks can often deliver lots of relevant information which help organizations evaluate candidates for their attitude and people skills.
The USP of social media is the cost effectiveness it offers to any business. In most cases, social media comes at the best possible price for a business – free. Even in case of paid subscriptions, the cost involved is not a major one and is an affordable proposition for small businesses.
Cost is often the primary concern for startups and small businesses. Social media provides a low-cost (often free) alternative for these organizations as compared to paid annual subscriptions to job sites. Given the economic uncertainty, most businesses would rather reserve their financial resources for product/ brand development rather than spending it on ramping up their staff. Further, unlike job sites or forums, social media offers you far more detailed insights regarding a prospect candidate.
Social Media Hiring Strategy
The unfortunate part about using social media for recruiting is that since it’s free, most companies do not plan on how they can best utilize it. They just jump on it without having any sort of strategy in place. Such haphazard use of social media isn’t likely to be fruitful for a small business. I strongly recommend using social media for hiring once you’ve analyzed your staffing needs and have a well-defined plan in place. Be mindful of your manners and treat prospect candidates with respect.
Apart from these aspects, social media is increasingly gaining acceptance as part of actual hiring process in small businesses. A candidate’s social media knowledge and presence is often a good parameter to indicate his impersonal skills and provides valuable information which is otherwise difficult to gather.