Should you focus on social media for your recruitment?

There’s no question that the social media revolution has changed the way that businesses communicate with their customers, employees and industry peers. But are enough organisations taking advantage of this opportunity?

Social media recruitment

One way in which some companies have embraced sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is to use them as recruitment tools: sending out their latest job opportunities to their followers.

Tweeting for success

Only 7% of employers have used social media to recruit, according to a report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The UKCES Employer Perspectives Survey consulted over 18,000 employers about their recruitment and training habits, and found that while there are more channels available, more traditional methods are still the most popular.

Free recruitment channels

The survey revealed that 49% of employers advertised at least one role in the past year, using the following channels:

  • 30% used word of mouth;
  • 38% used free public channels, like Jobcentre Plus;
  • 21% used company websites; and
  • 7% used social media.

Smaller employers were particularly likely to rely on these methods, with almost half using private free channels. Clearly, free recruitment channels are enticing but is this a false economy?

Social media

It can be quick, easy and free to post your job advertisements on your company and/or personal Twitter profile, but how many people are you realistically reaching?

If you only have a few followers, or they are your existing workers, friends and family, then it’s unlikely to be successful.

It’s a different story if you have a larger, more varied following, or have links with major industry or community accounts that can retweet your vacancies on a much larger scale.

Word of mouth

Word of mouth is a popular method of attracting new staff into a business, and has many advantages. Have you considered a referral scheme, offering incentives for anyone that successfully refers a candidate?

If you already have a strong culture within your business, then it’s likely that the friends, family and acquaintances of your employees could share those characteristics.

It’s also a good bet that anyone planning to suggest a new team member will have already vetted them to see if they are a good fit, and won’t reflect badly on them.

You could offer a cash incentive, a gift like an iPad or even extra days holiday to anyone referring a candidate who is subsequently employed. It’s not free, but certainly a cheaper alternative to agency fees.

Company website

If you’re looking to use your existing website to attract quality candidates, then it’s a good idea to make sure it’s fit for purpose. The right branding, functionality and user experience is essential in presenting the right image.

Consider having a separate recruitment area, with not only the vacancies you have available, but other written and video content including:

  • employee testimonials;
  • your culture;
  • induction itinerary;
  • personal career paths;
  • training opportunities;
  • benefits;
  • local amenities and travel details.

Paying for recruitment advertising

If you have the budget for it, then press advertisements or online agencies, such as Monster, Jobsite and Reed can offer a much larger audience, and a greater chance of finding the right candidates for your business.

Whatever you decide, try to avoid using just one recruitment channel, and take advantage of whatever you have the time and resources to manage. It’s a crucial aspect of growing your business, so make sure you give it the attention it deserves.

For more advice and information on policies and people, go to Sage HR advice.

Samantha Bell

Samantha Bell

HR Consultant

Samantha is a HR consultant, specialising in giving HR advice to small businesses in the UK.