Seeking new sources of applicants as traditional recruitment pools become drained might mean upskilling employees who already have the softer skills required; people returning to work, perhaps preferring to work more flexibly; or investing in apprenticeships. 

Recruiting through social media 

Social media has clearly arrived: more than half of UK organisations make use of it in some way, shape or form and the majority of those not using it believe it would benefit them. It’s main use (86%) is in attracting candidates - the CIPD reports that 80% of those using social media say it’s boosted their employer brand and increased their potential selection pool, while 75% say it’s reduced resourcing costs. 

Social media is having a major impact on how and where candidates are recruited. Many candidates register their details on social media and recruiters may initially use this in their search for new talent. The 2015 Randstad Award report reveals 39% of UK jobseekers use social networking sites to find a job, with Facebook the most popular (used by 61%), followed by LinkedIn (47%), Twitter (30%), Google+ (25%), YouTube (17%) and Instagram (9%). Note: the average age of the UK’s Facebook users is over 40 and over half of Twitter’s users are over 35: so, social media is far from solely something the kids do. 

Candidates, however see a clear distinction between personal and professional social media networks and use them for different purposes, so employers need to be selective of what type of advertising they do on which network. Let’s take Facebook, for example, where 74% of professionals maintain a profile, this is used mainly for personal connections. Twitter is also hugely popular with networks like YouTube, Google+ and Instagram all taking a smaller share of the market. 

With social media an important tool for candidates researching the market, an organisation’s social media presence has a significant impact on applicants in shaping impressions of a potential employer. 

Content, content, content…

Using social media to post vacancies isn’t enough. It’s important for employers to maintain high-quality content on company culture, employee opportunities and plans. Participation in online groups specific to a particular sector or industry is also important. 

Having clearly established the value of social media, employers should not completely replace established practices to assess candidates. Over-reliance on social media could exclude or even deter good candidates.

It’s crucial that employers: 

  • understand what different networks can do for an organisation and use the most efficient social media platform for recruitment
  • use a targeted approach on social media and find out what platforms candidates they want to attract use
  • use social media to reinforce corporate values
  • ensure that all information on corporate social media profiles is informative, concise and easy to follow
  • remember that candidates personal profiles may not reveal their professional abilities.

Recruiting passive candidates

Reaching and engaging proactively with non-active or ‘passive’ candidates is becoming increasingly important. Passive candidates are those not looking for a new job, but who would be interested in the right opportunity and are prepared to consider attractive offers. There’s little consensus about the proportion of passives (estimates vary from 40% to 85%) a LinkedIn survey found 41% of employees describe themselves as a passive candidate, compared to 46% actively seeking a new job and 9% as unwilling to change employers. 

Passive candidates therefore make up a significant part of the potential total recruitment pool - perhaps half - and relying solely on traditional recruitment methods, e.g. responses to advertised vacancies, means missing out on this large number of potential employees. Broadly speaking, passives can be targeted through content and information useful and relevant to their current role and career plans, but which invites them to consider you as a future employer.