Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
03 Aug 2010

How to attract the best graduates through social recruitment

03 Aug 2010 • by Changeboard Team

The media generation

Gen Y are different. They require a new approach to engagement. For the first time in history the youngest generation are an authority on the greatest change happening in the workplace - technology, the internet and new forms of communication. 

Although up until recently it has been easy for employers to shy away from social media, the time has now come to recognise its potential as a powerful tool in attracting graduate talent. The younger generation - or Gen Y - have grown up on the internet, their daily lives are carried out as much online as offline.

As a generalisation Gen Y are often focused on exactly what it will take to get ahead, possessing a positive, forward-thinking mentality. In order to appeal to this generation of graduates, who spend a significant amount of their time immersed in this digital world, it makes sense to adopt a less traditional, more social media-savvy approach. After all this generation are spending longer on social networking sites than they do in lectures.

Social recruitment: where to start?

The new trend for social recruitment has evolved in response to these generational changes. It is an approach which helps reduce the communication gap between candidates and employers and makes managing the talent pipeline more cost-effective and efficient for businesses. Although employers may initially be fearful about using a social networking site for recruitment, it is in fact very simple to master.

Its well worth the effort since social recruitment is a perfect match for todays smart graduates who engage naturally in the global community, interacting and sharing views online as a matter of course. Consequently building relationships with graduates through social recruitment will be the most accepted way of connecting with them.

Shift in recruitment trends

Social recruitment should not undermine the role of more traditional recruitment strategies, which still have their place. There is no doubt that work experience and internships provide an excellent way of starting from scratch, although many organisations are choosing their interns through social recruiting. Graduate fairs, the milkround and careers services provide resources for gathering ideas and making initial contact with potential employees, while recruitment consultants and online recruitment sites will continue to fulfill an integral role in their own way in providing information about vacancies.

Tried and tested methods like online sites remain a key focus of recruitment campaigns, with most students recognising them as a resource for specific opportunities. The drawback here is that there is no way to build relationships. And while links to corporate recruitment sites may provide more insight into a company, they only act as a one-way communications platform.

The recruitment market is going through a new paradigm shift. The change from print marketing to online marketing in the 90s and early 2000s is as radical as the change from online to social. They are completely different beasts and require both a different approach and also different success metrics.

Relationships matter in social media

Since recruitment is all about relationships, it makes sense that social media should have a big impact on this sector. This new social recruiting approach aims to help employers foster relationships with potential recruits. It flips the traditional recruitment model so that rather than going out into the market fishing for talent, your prospective employees come to you, the employer, through social media, in other words from top down to bottom up. This approach helps reduce the communication gap between candidates and employers and makes managing the talent pipeline more cost-effective and efficient for businesses.

Using new media channels to interact directly with candidates offers many advantages. Apart from reducing costs, employers can connect with generation Y in an environment they understand and through a communications avenue they can relate to. Conversely, talented individuals can take control of their careers by creating professional profiles, researching and connecting with their desired employers.

First steps to social recruitment

  • Research where you need to be

    Come up with a social recruiting strategy. This involves thinking of the end goal. You will know about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter; these are great to use but were not created specifically for employers to engage with gen Y. They have their limitations for an end-to-end social recruiting solution. There are a new breed of social recruiting platforms such as social recruitment site BraveNewTalent.com so try joining one as an employer to foster communities of candidates and build long-term relationships.

  • Build your employer brand

    Use a social recruitment platform to build your companys brand and demonstrate what you have to offer, your values and your ethos. Give interested jobseekers an insight into day-to-day life by uploading video content and demonstrate your authority and knowledge by including careers advice.

  • Communicate on your target audiences wavelength

    Demonstrate that you are an innovative, forward thinking employer with awareness of the key issues related to your industry. The online world is about sharing knowledge, and the more you share, the more you will increase your value to others, and be perceived as a valuable commodity. Dont just use it as a broadcast channel but take the opportunity to engage. 

Get into the social recruitment game

Social media is radically changing the way many employers approach the recruitment process. This new channel can radically cut costs as well as add to the retention of candidates. It's a simple fact that better informed, engaged candidates make better employees. 

It's no surprise, therefore, that employers such as Accenture are publicly announcing that they aim to hire at least 40% of their talent through this new medium. Understanding how social media can be used to your advantage in the recruitment arena is an essential tool if you are to keep ahead of the talent recruitment game.

Make it a part of your strategy if you dont try youll never find out, and you could lose out.