When social media sites first catapulted into popularity well over a decade ago we classify them as having a simple purpose—connecting people. Social media sites were first created with the intention of bringing people together in venues where they could interact freely, sharing their lives through a blend of sights and sounds. Although we still use social media to connect with people worldwide today, we have recently witnessed a transformation from serving as a leisure activity to being a necessary professional tool responsible for transforming the world of recruiting today.
“Social media is changing how HR professionals do their jobs, most dramatically in recruiting,” contends Alexander Stone of SHRM. The number of employers using social media for recruiting candidates is rapidly rising. 2011 survey results showed that 56% of respondents cited using social media to search and communicate with job applicants. In 2008, an even fewer 34% reported using social media for HR purposes. In comparison to the 77% who utilize social media for their recruiting efforts today, we have witnessed quite a spike in social media recruitment activity.
So, what makes social media so appetizing appealing to HR professionals? According to research conducted by SHRM, HR professionals have shifted focus to social media for recruiting purposes for a few reasons:
• Ability to recruit passive job applicants who might not otherwise apply (80%)
• Ability to target job candidates with specific skill sets (69%)
• Increase employer branding and recognition (67%)
In fact, four out of five HR professionals are using social media as a recruitment tool primarily for its ability to attract candidates who would not typically apply. Social media sites have become such an important piece of the recruiting puzzle that they are being integrated into applicant tracking processes. This automation allows recruiters to automatically post job openings to social media sites, mine candidates through their social profiles, report on the success of each channel in providing the best candidates, as well as granting candidates mobile access to job openings and applications.
With that being said, studies have reported that HR professionals prefer some social media sites over others:
• LinkedIn (94%)
• Facebook (54%)
• Twitter (39%)
• Professional or association sites (29%)
Since social media has penetrated the world of HR we are presented with the question, “what does the future hold for the relationship between social media and HR?” Although the bond between social media and HR has only been recently formed, we can predict that social media features will become a permanent part of recruiting and recruiting software systems. Accessibility will increase presenting career opportunities at candidates’ fingertips. Recruitment software vendors will need to accommodate their software to social media trends and innovations as we continue to see a larger dependency on social media for recruiting, onboarding, and engaging employees. Ultimately, in order to stay competitive in the war for top talent, HR professionals need to stay ahead of the curve and leverage social media as a powerful tool within their recruitment processes.