According to Socialnomics.net, it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. Television acquired that amount of followers in only 13 years and yet the Internet reached 50 million users in only 4 years. That all sounds pretty impressive, yet consider this: From its creation in 2004, Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months! That might cause you to re-evaluate your idea of impressive.
Even if you do not personally use Facebook or other forms of social media, chances are you know someone who does, or have seen it enough to know what it is and how it works overall. In fact, it is believed that Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres combined have more Twitter followers than the population of Norway, Panama, or Ireland. It seems almost impossible to comprehend the effect that social media has had on today’s generation. This Generation Y, and now even Z, is clearly changing from a Sunday-morning-classifieds reader to a blackberry-using-technology guru. Because of the speed of communication available through social media outlets, it comes as no surprise that people turn to it for everything from connecting with old friends and finding new ones, to getting text updates via news sites and RSS feeds. Socialnomics.net goes on to claim that if you were paid $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia, you would earn $156.23 an hour. The point is, these web-based social outlets are more prevalent than ever!
With such tools at our fingertips, people are coming up with more and more ways to manipulate them for various uses. As we all know, many companies are taking advantage of social media and networking sites for recruiting purposes as ways to find applicants. As today’s job seeker is changing, social media comes as the best way to reach them. Thus, if companies are going this route to find top talent, is it inevitable that their recruiters must also jump on the bandwagon and display social media proficiency?
Let’s suppose you do not use any forms of social media in your recruiting process. Newspapers still exist, right? A joint study from Classified Intelligence and ERE Media surveyed human resources executives, and revealed that yes, newspaper and thus print ads still exist, but 70% surveyed ranked them either ineffective or VERY ineffective. In fact, according to Career Builder, a whopping 94% of the top 500 U.S. companies said that they used online sources to seek out job applicants and roughly 30% through social media. That number can clearly be expected to rise in the following years. Thus, what is a recruiter to do?
I feel the lesson here is: familiarity. As with any profession, one needs to possess the necessary skills to get the job done and to succeed within the industry. In this case then, it is important for recruiters to be actively aware of social media happenings as this may ultimately be just another necessary job skill. Having a recruiter that knows his/her way around social media simply benefits the company because again he/she will be able to know where to source more talent than someone who is clueless to the idea. Companies now are even building social media into job descriptions as they hire “Community Managers,” which are essentially in charge of keeping the company’s social media networks and sites to date. This enables a company to gain greater presence and awareness through the online community and thus opens more channels to job applicants who are already on social media sites to begin with. Being social media savvy then is quickly becoming another qualification among recruiters.
At this point you should probably be halfway through completing your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. (That was a joke!) In all honesty though, when times change you often have to change with them. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. In other words, when social media is readily available to the HR world, a good recruiter needs to make sure that he/she is on top of it. Being up to date on the latest trends in recruiting can only help your company in the long run. After all, it is said that in the future, we will no longer need to search for products or services as they will simply come to us via social media. Oh, I’m definitely going to tweet that!