The pros and cons of social media in employer branding and recruitment

//The pros and cons of social media in employer branding and recruitment

The pros and cons of social media in employer branding and recruitment

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Using social media as a recruitment tool is now a reality for most employers. However, while websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have caused a revolution in how employers communicate with and attract potential recruits, the pros and cons need careful consideration before planning a strategy.

The Pros
1. It’s cheap

Recruitment advertising was once restricted to the space an employer could afford to buy on a newspaper or magazine page. Similarly, the concept of “employer branding” was the sole domain of companies with big budgets to spend on prestige advertising. While these are both still vitally important in placing strategic messages and have a big part to play in recruitment, online social media has broadened the process. Setting up a Facebook page, Twitter feed, or LinkedIn group, costs the same for an employer of 10 people as it does a multi-national.

2. There are opportunities for creativity and authenticity

While it helps to have a large team of recruiters maintaining web content, just one recruiter with a laptop can find that a little ingenuity and imagination can go  a long way. Small companies can get their voice heard, and the attractions of their more personalised employment offerings recognised. Meanwhile, big employers can reach candidates and communicate in a way that was previously unavailable, softeningtheir ” faceless corporation” image.

3. It reaches a wide range of people

The potential reach of social media is limited only by the number of people connected to the internet-which at the last count was over 2 billion people. There is also the potential of “going viral”: if someone loves a newspaper advert, they can cut it out and show it to a couple of friends. But if someone ” likes” or re-tweets an online advert to their hundreds of online friends or followers, who then do the same, within hours it can reach thousands, if not millions of people.

4. Social is everywhere

Social Media is a broad and growing medium, and recruitment need not to be limited to the most obvious websites. More and more sites designed specifically for professionals and organisations are entering the market,such as Ning and Workcrowd. Other sites and apps are not so obviously social, but can present opportunities to reach target applicants. For example, last year the recruitment advertising firm TMP worldwide was appointed by Jaguar Land Rover to attract graduate candidates using the music website Spotify-the advert directed applicants to the company´s recruitment website.

5. It can build lasting relationships

Unlike earlier incarnations of recruitment, online social media creates a continuing and open conversation, rather than a closed one. It can be used to engage with jobseekers from the attraction stage, right through to application, interview and beyond. Many companies set up online communitiesfor graduate scheme applicants, creating peer to peer support groups that unite under the brand of the organisation. It also allows designated recruitment professionals to have input, such as posting application deadline reminders. This can continue post-interview, either as part of the induction process or even maintaining communication with impressive interviewees who did not quite make the cut.

The Cons

1. It´s not that cheap

Opening a Twitter account is free. But managing it, planning a strategy and ensuring tweets and replies stay “on brand”, is neither free nor easy. Omowalle Casselle, co-founder and chief executive of mySenSay, wrote in his blog: ” Unless your recruiting team is filled with volunteers, social recruiting isnot free or cheap…From maintaining a Facebook fan page, tweeting on Twitter, writing blog posts, searching for candidates on LinkedIn, and monitoring Google Analytics; the recruiting team can spend a significant amount of time and energy on these free tools”.

2. Quantity, rather than quality

There can be problems associated with reaching a larger group of people than an employer can control. Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo,blogs that: “The problem is often too much choice rather than too little, and the sheer volume of candidates can sometimes make talent acquisition akin to finding a needle in a haystack. ” Whereas traditional methods such as the graduate  milk round could “ cherry pick” candidates, social media can be more like “mowing”-deleting swathes of applicants in order toreduce them to a manageable number-with the risk of missing potentially great jobskeers. One solution to ensure high quality candidates is to utilise niche job boards which can accurately target activejobseekers. 

3. The danger of employer brand damage

Not putting proper time and resource into recruitment over social media can arguably cause more damage than not having a social media presence at all. Employer branding needs to be well-aligned with corporate branding. It is a tricky balance of maintaining a consistent corporate message, while being flexible enough to allow for authentic interaction and communication with interested applicants-that way you can enable your audience to interact and drive positive action around your brand and recruitment opportunities. Because of the dangers of using social networks for branding opportunities,traditional print advertising continues to be a strong platform for recruiters looking to deliver a trusted brand message.

4. It reveals skeletons in the closet

The two-way nature of the conversation via social media can be a double-edged sword. Those employers who have been slow to catch on to social media or that remain reticent, tend to cite this reason-you cannot entirely control the conversations on social media sites. Nor, arguably, should it be attempted. But employers need to be prepared for any disgruntled former employees who might surface and challenge the recruitment proposition being offered. Similarly, anything negative that lurks in a Google search on a company is likely to come up at some point,and a prepared corporate response-in the language of the social media site in question-needs considering.

5. Employment law considerations

The worst kind of damage to an employer brand is, of course, legal challenge. In January 2011 the number of older people in the workforce hit an all-time high. Out of over 29m people in employment, 7,32 were aged between 50 and 64 and 900,000 were 65 and over. Not all of them use social media websites, nor want to start. Social media recruitment needs to be careful it does not exclude demographic groups in a manner that is discriminatory- be that on the basis of age, religion, ethnicity or disability.

Extracted from “ The pros and cons of social media in employer branding and recruitment”

By | 2017-02-09T20:49:18+00:00 May 1st, 2012|Categories: Recruitment and Selection|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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