Social Media: Is It Really A Case Of One Size Fits All?

By Tony Restell

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Tony Restell - Social Media Insights

I see danger everywhere. Danger that we get sucked in by the message that one size fits all. Danger that we believe there’s a magic formula we simply need to follow to achieve dramatic social results.

Now I’m commenting with my social recruiting hat on. The Adzuna data I’m going to share below relates specifically to reaching job seekers via social media. But the dangers could actually harm anyone looking to exploit social media and social technologies to further their businesses.

Fundamentally, the message recruiters – and indeed businesspeople in general – need to take on board is that you mustn’t believe everything you read, but must test ideas out for yourself. Only by doing this will you ensure social media has a profound impact on your business.

Let’s backtrack and think about a few of the headlines doing the rounds right now within the recruitment space:

  • LinkedIn will eat the recruiting industry alive; every employer needs to be active on LinkedIn
  • Job boards are dead
  • Social recruiting is an essential part of the recruitment mix
  • Employers are achieving huge cost savings by bringing all recruitment activities in-house
  • Referral hiring has been catapulted to new levels of success thanks to social media

Social Media Wake-Up Call: Does The Data Back Up These Claims?

Before proceeding, just let me sow the seed that there are LOTS of parties with vested interests and sizeable budgets who stand to gain financially by having the focus on these headlines magnified. The social platforms themselves, the technology enablers, the consultants and advisers touting new approaches, RPO businesses. All stand to gain from you swallowing these headlines hook, line and sinker.

But is it really a case of one size fits all?

Now I’m a huge advocate of social recruiting – and the impact social media has had on the hiring landscape. But from my years in the online recruitment industry, I’m also a huge advocate of looking at each client’s business circumstances and hiring needs in turn – and devising a bespoke strategy that addresses their needs. That always was the best approach – and still is in the age of LinkedIn, social recruiting, referral platforms and the like. It’s simply not the case that one approach is right for all.

So what prompted this post? Well my concerns have been simmering for some time, but recent data sent through by Adzuna I found eye-opening. Their infographic is shared below, but what I found particularly interesting is:

  • Facebook is nearly twice as popular as LinkedIn for job search networking in the UK
  • LinkedIn is more popular with men for job search networking; but Facebook is more popular amongst women
  • There’s a huge geographical split in how job-seekers are incorporating social media in their job search. Whilst LinkedIn is best for some geographies, Facebook is best for others
  • Only a tiny fraction of candidates found their last job with help from their social networking friends, the overwhelming majority found jobs through more traditional routes

What this means for recruiters – and indeed for businesspeople at large – is that we should be very wary of the One Size Fits All stampede. I can accept that in some areas job board response rates are suffering. I know that in some areas LinkedIn is an essential component in the recruiting mix. But I’m also quite certain that for every employer where this holds true, you can find just as many where the opposite recruiting approaches would yield far greater results.

The conclusion? Treat every headline you read with healthy scepticism. Be wary of statistics thrown at you by those with a story or a service to tell. Instead, take soundings from your peers and get impartial views on what’s proving to be effective. Then test everything for yourself. Reach your own conclusions about what works and what doesn’t work for your business – because the candidate profiles you’re targeting, the resources you have available, the appeal of your brand… well they all differ and so too, therefore, will the best approaches for appealing to your target candidate audience.

Related: Recruiters turn to a hybrid job board / social recruiting approach

Social Media Insights by Adzuna

Author: Tony Restell


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