Social media and recruitment: a myth revealed

Social media and recruitment are made for each other but they seem to be talking a different language and are not really getting along.  A study done (May 2010) by the VDAB ( claims that less than 3% of Belgian companies use social networking sites to find new employees.  Another report (September 2009) by Executives Online in the UK  ( also showed that only 4% of the executives have been recruited via a social networking site.  Revealing? Not what you thought? Unheard of?

Today, as most recruiters get their feet wet, they are using social media as just another channel to advertise their job opportunities.  They view social media as a bunch of databases, similar to a number of ponds in which they are going to go fishing.  Unfortunately, they do not know which pond to go fishing in and what kind of bait to use.  So they might end up going fishing for sharks in Lake Geneva!  They are very quickly disappointed by the results.  Sound familiar?

Another area that recruiters have difficulty grasping, and they are not alone, is what social media is really about:  creating content, bringing value and engaging with your audience in a two-way conversation (that goes beyond opportunity they are just trying to fill).   Let’s take a look at these areas.

Creating Value:

There are 2 ways to bring value (€/$ and content).  There are some who offer cash money for referrals but very few do.  The Belgian company Xpertize ( is using this practice very efficiently via different social media (Website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).  The great thing about this practice is that previously interviewed candidates are continuously engaged and working with them.

Providing Content:

When it comes to providing content to their audiences, most recruiters and companies are not even thinking about this.  They think the carrot of a job opening is enough to attract attention.  There is a real why they are sometimes called “head hunters”.  And hence the reputation of the trade is so negative.


In terms of engagement, most recruiters really drop the ball completely.  They have met a person (possibly only viewed and screened him/her on every possible social network) but they do not maintain contact afterwards.  We all know all too well the following sentence:  “We will however keep your details in our files. Our agency is specialized in ABC profiles within the XYZ sector, and we hope to be able to contact you again in the near future”. How many times do hear back from them?  Even in a newsletter form?  I think this proves my point.

An then there are those recruiters that do get social media and the fact that it is about creating value and engagement, but then they are hit by the next barrier: It is a lot of work and they stop their efforts.

So what is the solution?   Well, here are some simple steps you can take to make more out of your social media presence:

  • Find a champion in your organization to setup  your social media.
  • Brief everyone in your team on social media is and how to use it.
  • Make an inventory of where everyone is and where you should be (which ponds to fish in – this is more than just LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter).  Look at blogs, fora, video and photo sites.
  • Start a blog and provide content (not just job openings but real content of value of the audiences: applicants and clients).  Establish yourself as a real expert in your domain.
  • Use social media to drive traffic to your website of even better to your blog and create a positive reputation.  Twitter and Facebook are great tools to divert traffic to you.
  • Create a social media policy and turn your peers into ambassadors for the organization.
  • Invite all your past candidates to become your fan (on Facebook) or follower (Twitter, blog, etc.).
  • MONITOR what is being said about you, the company, the competitors and even the industry.
  • ENGAGE in two way conversation and not be afraid of feedback.

And finally, realize that being active in social media means” A LOT OF WORK”!

Mic Adam


Mob. +32 478 50 41 35



Find me also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Netlog, etc.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: