Blending job boards and social media in your recruitment mix


If I asked you to summarise the impact of social media on recruitment, what would you say? As of 2014, what has changed compared with how recruiting looked just a few years ago? It’s a really interesting question to ponder – and one that points to new ways you may want to use and combine job boards and social media for the benefit of your sourcing campaigns.


Targeting active vs. passive candidates

Here’s my take on things, with a focus on how candidates are attracted and approached (candidate vetting would require a whole article in itself!). From my daily discussions with recruiters – agency and direct – it seems job boards remain the primary means of advertising jobs to active candidates. Whilst job posts feature on social sites, this hasn’t really dented job boards’ supremacy as the number one place to advertise your openings.

To date, social sites have primarily been used to target passive candidates. This is no small change of course! By empowering internal recruitment teams to research shortlist candidates and approach them en masse, the likes of LinkedIn have altered the dynamics of the recruitment industry. People aggregators built on data from social media profiles are starting to do likewise.

The upshot is that recruitment agencies today have to be far more proactive in identifying and persuading candidates that an employer couldn’t entice themselves. Plus some roles that historically would have been advertised on job boards are now filled by direct approaches to candidates. Both have been impacted by social media.


Using Social Media to win over active candidates

What this assessment screams is “why haven’t we found a way to use social media to attract active candidates?”

Well new technology is at its most potent when it allows us to do something that couldn’t be done before – or to do it significantly better. Searching for jobs on Twitter is frustrating compared with receiving a customised email job alert from a job board. It may be free for recruiters to tweet their jobs, but for the candidate the experience isn’t an improvement on what they’ve already become used to.

LinkedIn meanwhile suffers from the same problem as newspaper sites – if the reason people use a site isn’t primarily to look for a job then adverts will only ever be seen by a fraction of the audience you would like to attract. Which begs the question, “if social media can’t morph into a job board replacement, how can it be used to win over active candidates?”


Transforming your company into a hyper-focused media outlet

Some of the world’s biggest brands have already found the answer of course. By building huge Facebook fan bases or Twitter followings, some brands today have a major candidate asset they can now leverage. Whilst promoting new job openings is certainly something that can be done on these accounts, the bigger prize is having a huge army of brand and employer advocates who are predisposed to wanting to work for the company – and to recommending to others that they do the same. Every time these companies invest in a recruiting initiative, be that using job boards or attending a careers fair, their return is multiplied by the fact that they’ve already won the hearts of so many prospective candidates.

This is the big prize waiting to be claimed in every niche sector and geography around the globe. Imagine for a moment that your recruiting team had a major following on social media – but highly focused on the niche markets you serve. Candidates who previously wouldn’t have known your business or wanted the jobs you are looking to fill are now highly engaged with your brand and eager to pursue the opportunity.

This is how you and your company can become an influencer of active candidates, by transforming your social profiles into hyper-focused media outlets. By giving your target audience the exact content and insights that add value to their lives, you can build a strong following even for the smallest of brands. Clients, too, will follow you and start requesting meetings.

The caveat though is that doing this does take time and the right approach. But with first-mover advantages being hard to overcome, there’s a strong argument for you to address this opportunity before your competitors steal a march on you!


Tony Restell

Founder of

Follow Tony on @tonyrestell or on Google+


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