From Rants to Raves – Social Media and Employment

Written by Suzanne Whitmarsh and Andrew Thoseby, 1st Executive

There is a lot of talk around about employment.  In Australia, unemployment remained steady in April at 5.8%, the US saw a sharp fall in benefits applications and unemployment fell to 6.3% and in the UK, the number of unemployed fell to 2.2m from a post GFC high of 2.7m with a rate of 6.8%.

Troubled Western economies are recovering and even in Australia, where recession was avoided, the economic baton appears to have passed from mining construction to civil and residential construction with private and government infrastructure spending on the rise.

social-media-management1There is no doubt that social media has played a major role during tough times – sometimes outing bad business or management practices and often just facilitating stream of consciousness venting The tide is turning though. The recruitment industry, whether in-house or agency has had a multi-speed approach to engaging with social media. There have been HR drives to ensure employees understand that their rants about an employer could result in disciplinary processes, some recruiters have over done the application and many remain bewildered by it. In our view, it is just another tool.

The internet is just one “big data” list of potential employees. Social media platforms are the windows through which they can be viewed. If the strategic and creative thinking is right – social sourcing can pay dividends.

Two simple examples for us have been with a regional transport company (think really big blokey trucks) and Tigerair who opened a new flight base in Brisbane and needed 50 cabin crew – fast.

There are common elements – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc. Each application was different. YouTube played a big part for the transport company. The problem they had was securing longer term, family oriented drivers who struggled to convince their partners to leave the city for the country. While it certainly augmented numbers, the ability to send a link to a lifestyle video for the area and to deliver the family values of the business on film was a winner – we found wives following up on their husbands’ applications.

For Tigerair, the challenge was delivering 200+ candidates to fixed assessment centre dates as part of time line to takeoff. We knew this age group would go viral, and we only advertised for 3 days. The ability to link all social media platforms to a (database) application form was critical – we needed the interest, but we needed technology to handle the volume that came from sharing. We filled all 3 assessment centres and hit new employee target within a very tight time frame. Our reference site for this was https://www.facebook.com/hardrockcafefirenze which is leading European volume recruitment case study. Our page at https://www.facebook.com/1stExecutive/app_230343010345368 gives a preview of how this will look when rolled out to a multi-branch network.

There are a few simple questions that need to be considered before rolling headlong into social media:

  1. What is the real business problem? Our first example was about solving a communications challenge and our second was about driving volume for a job that many young people would covet.
  2. What is the best vehicle to solve the problem? Video tells the best story, but often Twitter and Facebook content will be shared faster (of course all of these can be combined).
  3. Can we cope with the response? In simple terms, if we are using social technology, we need a “back office” that can cope – quantitatively or qualitatively as appropriate.
  4. Is this a one off or do we need social to be part of our strategy ongoing? This will lead to ether investing in creating apps or to using what is already there.

In summary, the hype about social media and recruiting has created everything from raving fans to gibbering wrecks. It needs to be looked at as just another tool and what it can do needs to be considered as a value add on a case by case basis. However it is used, employers will always want to meet (even if by Skype) their potential employees.

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