Years ago, a friend of a friend emailed into his work to inform them that he was sick and would not be coming into the office that day. Hours later, a picture appeared on Facebook of him holding a beer at another friend’s barbecue. The truant in question kept his job, but it’s safe to say that his employers were less than impressed with his lack of dedication. We are now at a point at which social media has blurred the distinction between an employee’s work and private lives. Many people will have colleagues as connections on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, and they also have access to their personal friends throughout the working day. Social media output now matters professionally, and employers have started using it to find potential recruits as well as keeping tabs on current staff.
Think of using social media to find potential applicants and the mind immediately goes to LinkedIn. The professional social network has just over 100 million monthly active users, all of which are either currently in employment or are using the site as part of their self-promotion to entice potential employers. According to Adweek, 94% of recruiters have used LinkedIn to vet potential candidates, compared with just 65% for Facebook and 55% for Twitter. This isn’t surprising - particularly given LinkedIn’s USP - but recruiters are also now experimenting with actively advertising jobs on different types of social media, from Twitter to Snapchat.
Generational change is a key contributor to this development. Users are now spending far more time in apps than on browsers, a shift that means they expect to be able to perform an array of tasks from within these apps. There’s a reason giants like Facebook Messenger is incorporating payment technology between users, and apps like Citymapper have the functionality to order an Uber natively. If employers can tap into a market of younger users that expect to be reached through apps, they could have access to the best of an entire demographic. McDonald’s knows this. This year, the fast food chain launched ‘Snaplications’ in Australia, a filter that allowed users to send a 10-second video clip to McDonald’s directly in lieu of a resume. The 10-second clip, the company says, is just an opportunity to show enthusiasm and a positive attitude, with a more official process following the initial interaction.
Employer loyalty has given way to professional development in terms of priority for many millennials. This means that employers are not just targeting those seeking jobs, but actively those that currently have jobs. To attract the best talent, then, brands need only to advertise a ‘better experience’ than their competitors. Google, for example, has built a reputation for having David Lahey, VP International at Jobvite, said: ‘At first, many recruiters used these platforms just to check up on people, now full-blown campaigns can be run and candidates sourced. On top of this, recruiters are also starting to realize how much of an impact social media recruiting has on their employer brand. It can enhance and differentiate your business in the eyes of candidates.’
Social media also allows for targeted job postings. The development of display advertising is such that employers can dynamically identify a specific type of user to put their posting in front of. A user’s cookies and search history can be mined to raise the likelihood of finding a potential candidate, and it’s a low effort way of appealing to active and potential job seekers. Perhaps surprisingly, Facebook remains employers favourite social media network for candidate selection, with 75% of recruiters claiming to use it, against just 38% for LinkedIn. This is perhaps because LinkedIn’s jobs section can be a costly route for startups or small businesses, where the Facebook Marketplace is free to advertise on for anyone (with the drawback of being unable to target specific groups).
Naturally, employers can only get one perspective of a candidate from their social media presence, and it's important to distinguish it from their professional life. Also, it’s key that employers consider that social media may not be the best place to find the people they need. Andy Headworth, founder of Sirona Consulting, said: ‘You need to ensure your target audience are actually on social media in the first place, and then more specifically which social media platforms they are on.’ Then, employers should tailor their approach to the platform they’re using. The type of messaging and engagement used is different. For example, LinkedIn is primarily a professional network where people ‘expect’ communication around work subjects. Facebook is much more personal and the same approaches would be met with negativity.’
Brands should also consider their own social media presence when attracting prospective employees. Reviews, tone, quality of output - these all matter when potential candidates are deciding whether or not to pursue a role. When your company is looking for staff, though, consider looking past the CV and engaging with prospective employees on a less formal level. Social media can be a great way of isolating a potential talent pool, engaging with candidates one-on-one, and finding out more about the people that you hope will take your business forward.