Talk with anyone responsible for HR today and – sooner or later – the conversation will turn to social media. Some are dipping their toes in the water, others have engaged with it at every level as a tool for recruitment, internal communications, knowledge sharing and much more.
What is certain, is that social media is playing an increasingly significant role in recruitment and is becoming a force that can no longer be ignored. A recent survey by recruitment company Simply Hired suggests that more than half of UK job-seekers now turn to social media when they are searching for a new role. Yet more research – this time from Potential Park – found that almost 100 per cent of job seekers across Europe were keen to inter-act with potential employers on-line.
If you’re a business that is keen to attract fresh young talent and bright graduates it seems to me that it is important to sit up and start taking notice now. Young people entering the workforce today are true ‘digital natives’. They have been reared on Facebook, MSN and Twitter and quite simply expect to be able to engage with companies in this way. Indeed, they probably wouldn’t want to work for a business that wasn’t embracing social media.
Social media provides SMEs with a great opportunity to build relationships with a pool of potential candidates who might be interested in working for them at some point in the future. It levels the recruitment playing field and allows smaller businesses to compete with the bigger players for the brightest talent.
So how can SMEs make these increasingly influential channels an integral part of their employee attraction and retention strategy – sitting alongside (not necessarily replacing) more conventional means of attracting candidates.
These are just some ideas to get you started:
- Set up a company page on LinkedIn or Facebook and create content that positions you as a leading player in your field
- Encourage your followers to contribute their views and take part in debates about the latest industry issues.
- Use Twitter to engage in conversations with people about the challenges of working in your specialist field and the exciting career opportunities that are available.
- Set up special interest groups that are likely to attract the very kind of people you want to recruit. Encourage participants to ask questions, start discussions and network with you and each other on-line.
- Use your social media channels to highlight the benefits of working for an SME (direct contact with senior people, more varied work, greater opportunity to influence the direction of the business).
- Turn your existing employees into ambassadors for the business. Encourage them to maintain an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, for example, and to be receptive to queries from people who may contact them to ask about job opportunities.
Before you click away, why not take a moment to share your experiences of using social media for HR. Have you found it a useful tool? Which platforms are working best for you? What do you see as the implications of a more open approach to communicating with candidates? Do you have a social media policy or do you rely on trust?