Let me explain what I mean when I say ‘need’. Facebook is still primarily ‘social’. You connect with friends and share photos and updates to personal effect. But Twitter, the microblogging service, combines both the personal and professional spheres of interaction. It’s popular with celebrities and sports stars and therefore attracts legions of fans allowing them to feel closer to the target celebrity. Its instantaneous nature, makes it a valuable working tool. Being largely text-based, Twitter allows you to get a handle on your followers’ thoughts and feelings – all of which are public, unlike Facebook. However, move further toward the professional sphere and you’ll come across Linkedin. Created as a purely professional network, it’s designed to allow individuals to connect with colleagues and customers all over the world.
I hear many recruiters, particularly baby boomers and Generation X, questioning the value of social media and dismissing it as an unquantifiable waste of time. While I can see it from their perspective and acknowledge that it can be a black whole of activity, it is clear that good recruiters are harnessing its powers to connect with potential candidates and clients. Recruitment is about balanced activity and outsmarting your competition. Recruiters who dismiss social media as a passing fad run a huge risk. I am not suggesting you change everything and throw away the rule book that made agencies successful, but I am advocating that agencies need to evaluate how social networks could improve their business, and also consider the risks associated with being left behind.
While you may feel I’m stating the obvious here, and by the looks of our latest report, preaching to the converted, my observations do have a purpose. In our line of work the potential of social networks is resonating with agencies large and small. Our recent Bullhorn Reach Country Report revealed that the smallest to the largest agencies are using the networks to source quality new candidates for available positions. The talent pool on offer is huge and agencies that aren’t effectively using social media, need to consider the business they’re missing out on.
The report itself was based on English speaking territories and positioned the UK as most active on Linkedin and Twitter, but bottom of the pile when it came to using Facebook. The report also factored company size into the equation and, perhaps unsurprisingly, revealed that the largest companies (1000+ employees) were lagging behind their smaller, more nimble competitors in the market. In reality I am sure recruiters working for the mega brands utilise social recruiting at a desk level, while the organisation still ponders how to deal with the ‘social’ challenge.
The fact of the matter is that the recruitment sector has spotted the social networking potential and is now considering how to exploit it. We figure that’s why our social media management tool, Bullhorn Reach, has been a runaway success, with over 75,000 users already signed up in the first 12 months – that’s record breaking in the recruitment software world. The business is there and the potential (for 75,000 of your colleagues at least!) is apparent. The question you need to ask yourself is, if you’re not at the proverbial party, just how social are you and more importantly, is it costing you revenue.