Social Media Recruiting: a New Gold Rush?

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social media recruiting strategy, online human resources viral marketing, organizational culture, hr management, competency assessment and development

Author: Bernard Morel, CEO of The BeMore Group

Before getting rid of them, let's make a list of the most heard reasons used to prove that social media recruiting is a must :

  1. You can't make online business without them
  2. Everyone use them
  3. There is a load of precious information available at your fingertips
  4. This is a paradigm shift

In other words, it's a new gold rush. And just as it happened in the days of Klondike, many are caught by a burning fever, load women and children on a chariot and rush to the wild west hoping that social media will make them successful - or at least save their business.

But you can't dig mountains in search for a vein of the precious metal with your bare hands. So, as in reality, the needed infrastructure, services and tools providers have found an excellent opportunity to sell their stuff. Shovels vendors (software, monitoring and search services), saloon keepers (forums and "private clubs" experts), hairdressers (communication and consulting), concessions officials (pre-qualified contact databases providers) and even the occasional snake-oil salesmen, providing the solution to every problem...And like in the good old days, only a handful of gold diggers found the coveted gold but a lot of tools and services vendors lived comfortably.

Is the social media recruiting trend only an illusion ? Certainly not, but let's examine things in a more rational way. To do so, we will have to cool down the fever :

  • A large part of the population uses social media, yet only a fraction uses them actively when they are looking for a job (the published data are not very useful in this case, surveys numbers vary between 7% and 40% depending on the industry, country... and who is paying for the research).
  • The socio-demographic segmentation of job seekers who are active on social media is actually confined to certain industries and groups.
  • The number of people who know the name of a given social networking website is far greater than the number of its users, and this number is itself greater than that of the people who actually use it for their job searches. This phenomenon is called the "brand recognition illusion". (eg. in France 75% of internet users knows Twitter, 15% use it but less than 8% are seeking jobs on it).
  • Market shares are not yet impressive for HR-oriented social media, even for market leaders (LinkedIn France has 4mio registered users), as opposed to Facebook, for example.

That may sound a very disappointing view of this potential Eldorado, but that's reality: social media are like enormous mountains in which you must dig to find rare gold veins: either you have the resources (human, financial and foremost cultural, more on this later) to search and exploit them, or you are in an area of activity that is naturally compatible with this tough environment (targeting youngsters for summer jobs, online marketing specialists...).

So, is there any hope left if you are not a very big and dynamic HR company or a geeks-targeted part-time jobs agency ? Well, yes, there is another solution : use them in a different, agile and creative way while taking care to culturally transform your company and wisely choose your tools according to your goals, not to their trendiness.

Before exploring the possible solutions, we first invite you to contemplate the risks that may result from a lack of pragmatism in the design of your social media development strategy in the article "Social Media and Viral Marketing Campaigns: How the Much Anticipated Party May Crash"

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