Social recruiting is used to refer to the process of acquiring candidates and sourcing talent through social networks and social media. Social networks refer to websites like Facebook and Linkedin which provide users a way to create a personal profile and update that profile with their personal information. The user profile is then used to interact with other users on the system, often by some form of messaging, posts, or rich media. Social media usually refers to personal content generation and distribution systems such as Twitter. Use of social media and social networks exploded over the past few years (2007-2011). Since services such as Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter have experienced such great exposure and use, recruiters have been grappling with how to use the services for recruitment. Social recruiting was a term to come out of the learning process by recruiters, to encompass all aspects of recruiting with social media and social networks.
For employers, social recruiting can mean something very different than sourcing and procuring talent through social networks. Employers often use social media as part of their employment branding strategy. For example, many leading employers have a very well developed Facebook page and provide constant updates, contests, and information about their company. Social media campaigns by employers such as Facebook pages encourage individuals to find out more about a company and interact with the brand as if a person. At best, employer brands develop into a corporation’s finest marketing genius and contribute not only to the attraction of top talent, but to the overall PR of a company. Social recruiting therefore refers not only to finding candidates on social networks, but also the process of using social media and Internet profiles to develop a positive overall company employment message and to communicate interesting facts about their employees.
The more common practice of social recruiting is the process of finding candidates using tools such as Linkedin and Facebook. Services such as Linkedin have developed incredibly rich individual profiles for hundreds of millions of users around the world. Services such as Linkedin naturally become powerful recruiting tools. Recruiters comprise the majority of usage among some of the social networks, and recruiters use the networks to communicate with prospective candidates and learn about the client companies and companies that they wish to source talent from. Recruiters use their own social profiles to communicate with candidates on social networks, and much has been said about the recruiting process being transformed into a very personal and more transparent process.
Social recruiting is not, fundamentally, a new development. Recruiters have always used any means that they could to find qualified applicants, communicate with them, and bring them to their clients or their own companies. However, social networks and social media do represent a new process by which to find candidates. Social recruiting has been said to replace “traditional” Internet job boards and even the use of third party recruitment agencies. However, social recruiting is now simply another tool for recruiters to use. Job boards have also evolved to add many “social” features, so the majority of job board companies have been so far, little effected. Third party recruiters and corporate recruiting departments have generally embraced social technologies even more than most of the population. Recruiters are therefore the primary users and even the drivers of social networks – so the future of the technology will no doubt continue to benefit the profession.