The social recruiting trends to watch out for in 2014


The coming year looks set to be one of the most challenging that recruiters have faced. The reasons are simple. Firstly, there’s the obvious fact that demand for new hires is picking up across the developed world. Plus with LinkedIn candidates seemingly saturated by the volume of recruiter approaches they’re now receiving, it’s far from clear that this additional demand can be met without recruiters tapping into alternative channels. But more than anything, it’s the plethora of new social recruiting tools and approaches recruiters need to get to grips with that will present the greatest challenge. Let’s take a look at some of the things that’ll be vying for your attention this coming year.


Social sourcing and people aggregators

We can probably all agree that LinkedIn has had a massive impact on the hiring landscape. By granting employers access to a database of some 277 million people globally – and providing the tools to approach target candidates quickly and effectively – LinkedIn has empowered internal recruiting teams to proactively approach candidates in ways that were not possible even a few years ago.

But wait a minute! Although LinkedIn’s impact has been significant, we have to keep in mind that their database represents only a tiny fraction of the candidate market. A quick check of social media statistics shows us that Facebook has 1.2 billion members. Google+ has just over 1 billion users, of whom some 540 million are active. That’s before we talk about Twitter, Xing, Viadeo, Instagram, Pinterest and the like.

Unsurprisingly, a trend I’ve witnessed over the last months is recruiters scrambling to figure out how to source candidates via these other social channels. Some are using search engines to x-ray search candidates’ profiles across social networks at no cost. Others are turning to “People Aggregators”, smart platforms that set out to index candidates’ data from a variety of social platforms and online sources and so present recruiters with the most unified and comprehensive view of candidates available. Examples would include HiringSolved, TalentBin and 3Sourcing.

If you’ve yet to explore the potential of these tools in your marketplace, it’s time to do your research. There is so much potential to approach passive candidates this way to supplement the candidate applications you’ll be generating from active candidates and from your approaches to candidates on LinkedIn.


Adding a social twist to your employee referral programs

Another change that’s happening somewhat below the radar concerns employee referral programs. Over the years, I’ve consistently heard from employers that referrals are their preferred source of new hires. Across a range of metrics like time-to-hire and average tenure, referrals have historically outperformed candidates sourced from any other channel.

The problem has always been that employee referrals wouldn’t scale to become a major source of hires. Until now that is.

Social media and technological advances have combined to make employee referral programs far more powerful:

•    Social media profiles provide data on every contact your employees have around the globe. You’re no longer limited by how many of their contacts your employees have remained in touch with.
•    Smart matching algorithms mean that employees can be automatically approached with suggestions of contacts they might like to recommend for a position.
•    Jobs can be broadcast to a vast audience through the combined reach of all your employees’ networks.
•    Gamification keeps employees engaged and competing with one another to help the company.

What is particularly interesting about this development is that recruiters who’ve not seen a referral platform in action cannot really grasp their power. Whereas everyone knows the impact LinkedIn has had, it seems to me that the same is not true of developments in the employee referral market. Yet those companies who’ve embraced this approach are in many cases seeing this become their number one source of hires. It’s time to investigate the potential here if you haven’t already.


Leveraging social media to build your employer brand

Whenever the employment market becomes more buoyant, companies have to focus in on the success they’re achieving in terms of converting candidate interest into actual successful hires. That’s one reason why major corporates have always invested heavily in their employer branding – they want to be a company that candidates aspire to work at and know in the marketplace as a good employer.

One aspect of social recruiting that’s gaining momentum is the investment companies are making in building a strong recruiting presence and following on social media. With studies suggesting people are influenced more by social interactions than by traditional advertising, career and recruiting brands that invest in their social presence are likely to have a USP as the hiring market gathers momentum.

There’s without doubt a first mover advantage here too, so if you haven’t yet got a social media strategy in place then be sure to address this before the competition steals a march on you!


Improving candidate experience to boost your hiring ratios

Alongside the candidate attraction benefits of employer branding on social media, there’s also the potential for recruiters to considerably improve the candidate experience using these channels. From giving candidates a sneak peek into the lives of your employees to providing a means for them to have questions and concerns addressed throughout the hiring process, social media has the potential to help you improve the candidate experience you offer and thus bolster your hiring results.



Whilst much has been made of the impact of LinkedIn and the transformation that the hiring market has undergone, this is only the beginning. Across the spectrum of candidate sourcing, candidate attraction, employer branding and candidate experience, there are significant wins to be achieved by those recruiters who choose to embrace social. The question is, will you be one of them?


Tony Restell

Founder of

Follow Tony on @tonyrestell or on Google+

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