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How social media is making companies rethink recruiting

This post was written by Mirna Bard, a social media consultant, speaker, author and instructor of social media at the University of California at Irvine.

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Do question-and-answer forums play a role in your social media strategy?

  • I’ve never used them, but I’m open to giving them a shot — 27.06%
  • I have answered questions on these sites to help establish myself as
    an expert in my field — 22.35%
  • I have used them, but haven’t seen any significant results — 22.35%
  • I don’t plan to include them in my strategy — 21.18%
  • I have used them to ask questions, but not to answer them — 7.06%

There is no doubt that use of social-networking sites for hiring is increasing, slowly but surely. Though, as we see in the above poll, the numbers are still quite low in comparison with other social-networking uses, such as marketing.

The social networking approach is inexpensive, easy to use and offers both a huge audience of job-seekers and the tools to sort through prospective hires efficiently. But we can probably attribute this slow uptake to a lack of knowledge and understanding of social tools, the time factor and dedication it takes to use social tools, the possibility of violating discrimination and privacy laws, the potential for unreliable information and the many myths of social media.

The companies that are using social networking for recruiting are doing so in innovative ways. For example, a few days ago, the people at Marc Jacobs International tweeted that they are looking for a social media specialist and will be doing the hiring through Twitter. They are not looking for resumes or interviews at the start, just clever tweets to be considered for the job. Thus far, it doesn’t look like they’ve found their candidate, but they are bound to find someone from their 90,000-plus Twitter followers.

I believe that there will be a swell in social recruiting the next few years due to its many benefits and the number of job-seekers online. Recruiters and staffing firms have begun to focus on the tactic of scouting prospects through social networks; career centers will likely skip many traditional career fairs in favor of using virtual Web-based solutions; and job boards may no longer be the primary source for higher-quality candidates as candidates insist on superior quality communications from employers and recruiters.

On the other hand, we are clearly a long way from seeing social networking replace traditional methods of hiring. How do you think the future of hiring through social networks will play out?

Sorry. No data so far.

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