Social Media Hiring: Fast and Cost-effective

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Nicholas Goh, CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, an ISO 9001:2008 certified global content management and localisation services company, shares a tip sheet on how companies are increasingly turning to social media for hiring employees.

Nicholas Goh, CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, an ISO 9001:2008 certified global content management and localisation services company, shares a tip sheet on how companies are increasingly turning to social media for hiring employees.

When majority of people suddenly start doing something new, it is inevitable that the world sit up and take notice. This year, 83% of employers are using or planning to use social networks for hiring this year, 46% plan to spend more on social recruiting and, not surprisingly, 36% will spend less on job boards - all according to 2010 Social Recruitment Survey by Jobvite, a company offering social media recruitment products. The survey was released on 30 June, 2010.

Few years back, to recruit employees, one simply advertised in newspapers, engaged recruitment agencies, or posted the opening on online job boards and the company's website. Today, tweeter is used, the job opening is mentioned in online forums, and other employees are asked to let their Facebook friends know about it. Welcome to social media hiring.

How does it work?
The basic idea behind social media hiring is simple: Job openings are taken to where people are hanging around - social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. That makes huge sense when one digest the following statistic by Nielsen: 82% increase in the time spent by global consumers on social media sites from December 2008 to December 2009.

In the first steps towards leveraging social media hiring, organisations are creating their own profile pages on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter; and recruiters are tapping their own private Facebook and LinkedIn networks to reach out to prospective candidates.

At a more advanced level, recruiters are paying companies like Appirio and Jobvite to mine employees' social networks. Today, a software application can be added to employees' Facebook pages. Once activated, it notifies employees of a new job opening. And interestingly, it also comes up with a list of their friends who match the available job. The next step: Employee sends a referral in Facebook.

The friend who gets the referral applies for the job. And if hired, the application can track the employee who made the referral to offer a referral bonus.

Benefits of going social

  • Huge talent pool

Facebook has more than 400 million users, and more than 50% of them log into the website on any given day. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Twitter reports 20 million visitors a month and 50 million tweets generated every day. LinkedIn has more than 60 million users (40 million in 2009). These numbers are swelling by the hour.

And it's not just about the numbers. It's also about the numbers cutting across cultural and geographic boundaries, presenting an entire breadth of talents.

  • Fast

According to an article in HR Wire, Kara Nickels, General Manager of the Chicago office of Hudson Legal, a legal recruitment firm, sent a tweet about a job opportunity from the train on her way to office. Within 10 minutes, she had 12 responses from qualified candidates. It can be that fast!

  • Cost effective

Conventionally, companies have to pay significant sums for print ads, or subscriptions to job boards or recruitment agencies. In contrast, social media hiring is low cost and often free. That's a huge plus, especially for small businesses and start-ups, and even for bigger corporations, given the economic climate.

Not without Downside

  • Lack of diversity

While social networks take your reach across the globe, they still exclude whole sections of populations. According to Quantcast, a company that provides detailed audience online profiles, more than 80% of visitors on LinkedIn are Caucasians. Some experts point to social media hiring leading to lack of diversity in the workforce.

  • Documentation problems

Experts also point to a lack of proper documentation as one of the downsides as digital formats are difficult to keep track of. Employers could land themselves with lawsuits for not observing recruitment procedures, especially in cases of government hiring.

  • Possibility of discrimination

Since social networks can reveal some of the personal information about job candidates, employers can be influenced by factors like race, religious views, age or other personal issues, thereby exposing themselves to the possibility of discrimination in hiring.

The social media hiring bandwagon has started picking up steam. Explore and discern its potential as it is not too late to jump on.

About the Author:
Nicholas Goh is CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, a leading ISO 9001:2008 Certified provider of Global Content Management and Localization services. Verztec assists companies around the world to develop, adapt, publish and maintain their global marketing communications, corporate learning as well as ethics & compliance communications in over 60 foreign languages.

For more information, please view http://www.verztec.com.

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