There’s always that tipping point when the future turns into the present; novelty becomes the new normal. In tech recruiting, that’s the case with social media. If you’re not building social media into your recruiting efforts at this point, you’re not really recruiting on par with the industry standard.
Need a kick in the pants before life puts you in a food coma? Here are four ways social media is now a recruiting must:
1. It’s the best way to reach job seekers. I’m seeing a lot of confusion in this realm, but simply put, far more job seekers are on social media than aren’t. Is it because they’re younger and they do everything on social media? Perhaps. Does it matter why? It doesn’t. This is one instance where accepting the status quo is actually forward thinking. According to a white paper by iCIMS, putting a job posting up on social media can increase candidate applications by between 30 and 50 percent.
2. It’s part of a cultural shift. Recruiting success isn’t just measured by jobs filled, but by who fills them. And what drives top employees now is more than just a paycheck. Purpose, we now know, is a critical driver of talent. Interesting that a recruiting hub would lead the way here; LinkedIn has grown exponentially (78 million to over 400 million members in five years), and now looks for employees driven by purpose. Its staff includes 41 percent who cite self-fulfillment and a desire to serve others as key, according to the 2015 Workforce Purpose index. Recruiters take note: competencies are only part of the equation; the very concept of work needs to be screened for as well. Those who view their work as far more than dollars or promotions perform better on all fronts, found recent research by NYU and Imperative.
3. Transparency goes both ways. The fact that 48 percent of job applicants in a recent survey are active in social media is more than a “don’t get left out” for recruiting. It also means there’s access to a full-circle view of the candidate, whether or not that’s the intention, and one more way to take some potentially nasty surprises (and hiring fails) out of the equation. Recruiters are learning to follow a different kind of gut reaction than the old days of handshakes and necktie patterns: 61 percent of hiring managers found something they didn’t like on a candidate’s social media account, and 55 percent of hiring managers reconsidered the hire based on what they found.
4. It’s not the “good-old-boy” network anymore. Recruiters surveyed in 2014 anticipated an ever-tightening and more competitive drive for candidates in 2015. The top way to stay ahead of the game was social media: 73 percent of recruiters planned to invest more in social recruiting, versus 63 percent in referrals. This is an entirely different world than Armbruster putting in a good word for his prep school buddy (and I’m not trying to be gender specific here, just culture-specific). The same survey found that 93 percent of companies and recruiters were using social media — up from 82 percent four years earlier.
Not so unlike the way the Cloud blasted open our conceptions of how much information we could live with, social recruiting has changed the game. This is a far, far different playing field, with the same extreme contrast. You’re either on it, or you’re not. Social is a key tool for promoting jobs, building brands, sourcing candidates, creating relationships, and vetting applicants. Recruiters know it’s the future (or the now), and they’re investing their time and money accordingly.
The talent’s not going to wait.
A version of this article was first published on Forbes on 11/25/15