Social Media Recruiting. A primer for attracting future employees

Social Media Recruiting – A primer for attracting future employees.

Part 1

I have lots of photos of Raylan the wonder dog on Facebook. He has many outfits, to which I insist I share with all of his adoring fans.

He has his own online brand - just ask him.

He has his own online brand – just ask him.

Linkedin, I have met some great people here. I have obtained industry information as well as sharing recruiting and hiring tips. Twitter, I am a relatively new #twitter (@peakresource) user. Twitter moves quickly with short bursts of information. It’s fun. It’s allowed me to add brilliant comments to #thewalkingdead. This whole online experience, for me, has been a blast.  I am obsessed with technology and I love communication, so social media is the perfect combination to keep my addictions alive.  Unfortunately, I make a living from being involved in talent recruiting.  Social Media Recruiting is the future and that future is now.

 Wikipedia defines Social Media as:

Social media refers to interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities…Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as, “a group of Internet-based applications….that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. They introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.

Social media differs from traditional/industrial media in many ways, including quality, reach, frequency, usability, immediacy, and permanence. According to Nielsen, internet users continue to spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site…the total time spent on Mobile social media in the U.S. increased by 37 percent to 121 billion minutes.

I have given industry talks and consulting advice surrounding the use of social media. Usually questions I’m addressing are topics like:

  •  “My kids are always looking down onto their phones. Everyone I see is on their phones. What are they doing on their phones? Don’t people ever talk anymore?”
  •  “I keep hearing about ‘social networking’ and ‘digital whatchmacallit’. I have no idea what most of it means. I feel like a dinosaur.”
  •  “How do I know what social outlets to use? How do I use them?”
  •  “How do I use these darn things to attract great candidates?”

Let’s start addressing the questions above and begin ‘chipping away the iceberg’ on how this new marketing outlet is imperative to locating and attracting new employees. I’d like to share my research, personal observations, and overall demographics on various social media outlets.

Fact: 71% of internet users are involved or active with at least one social media outlet. Many of them utilize more than one. The average age of social media active user is 37. Yes! 37.

Fact: I would bet that 99% of all internet users do some type of research. Do you personally search online for product reviews before you buy an item or book a hotel? I bet you have trusted sites that you use again and again. Do you look up high school boyfriends that dumped you to see if they have become fat or homeless? (Ok, that last one is from personal experience) Realize that people will be looking for great careers and companies to consider the same way. Many times they are engaged online way before they are looking.

Fact:  Each social media outlet has a target audience of users.  Numbers show that most people under 65 years of age are in some type of social media outlet.

Side Note: Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 so the information below looks at each entity separately. So the question is: Why did Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, buy Instagram? The answer is found in Zuckerberg’s own blog post:

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

My translation: Facebook knew that it had a serious competitor that could destroy its future growth with the younger users. Why? Because Facebook is about photos, and Instagram is also about photos and beat Facebook with their mobile photo sharing technology.

How to connect to your hiring strategy?

How to connect to your hiring strategy?

% Averages per social media site:

  • 63% of Pinterest users are 35 or older.
  • 55% of Twitter users are 35 or older.
  • 65% of Facebook users are 35 or older.
  • 17% of Teens use Instagram as their top app. Most users under 34.
  • 79% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older.
  • 2% of social media users are 65 or older

Some sites have a considerable bias toward younger users. Don’t fret if these outlets don’t ring a bell.  I have only heard of a few them myself, and I love this stuff. A few examples:

  • 58% of Reddit users are under 35.
  • 60% of Github users are under 35.
  • 63% of Hi5 users are under 35.
  • 69% of Hacker News users are under 35 and almost half of its users (44%) in the 18-24 age bracket
  • 69% of deviantART users are under 35. More than half are 25 and below.
  • 83% of Orkut users are under 35. A massive grouping of people, 76% in fact is aged 25-34.

 Jacki’s Social media analysis:

  • The Average social media user is a smidge under 37
  • The oldest users. LinkedIn has the oldest user base, with the average user being 44.2 years old.
  • The average Facebook user is 40.5 years old. Younger people are trending away from Facebook.  Is this because their parents can now see their drunken funnel college party photos?  Definitely   It is interesting to note that the average yearly income for facebook active users is $75k. Over half of Facebook users have site bookmarked on their laptops and visit at least once a day. 48% of facebook users use the MOBILE app version.  AH HA!  Now we know a big answer to prior question of what they are looking at ‘on their phones’.  (Hint to you flip-phone users ‘phones’ are not really for talking much anymore.  Save up  Get a smart phone)
  • The average Instagram user is 26 years old.  This is trending downward in age
  • The average Twitter user is 37.3 years old. This is starting to trend downward
  • The age trend for Facebook vs. Twitter. Compared to previous surveys I located (online, of course) the average age of Facebook user has gone up two years, while the age of the average Twitter user has gone down two years. In other words, Twitter’s user base is getting younger, while Facebook’s is getting older.
  • Reddit users are under 35.
  • 60% of Github users are under 35.
  • 63% of Hi5 users are under 35.
  • 69% of Hacker News users are under 35 and almost half of its users (44%) in the 18-24 age bracket
  • 69% of deviantART users are under 35. More than half are 25 and below.
  • 83% of Orkut users are under 35. A massive grouping of people, 76% in fact is aged 25-34.

I bet you are thinking, “This is swell information, Jacki. I’m sure to remember all these facts and figures. What does it mean to me?  I’m an HR Recruiter. Even working 23 hours a day I am still not able to locate enough great people. Don’t EVEN get me started on the IT and Engineering positions. Zero of those people are responding to my job advertisements or posting their resumes on Monster. The managers don’t understand how hard this is. They just take joy in bringing up my hiring incompetence at every staff meeting.  What can I do?”

Fact: Attracting people to your company, just like attracting them to pick a certain pair of shoes, IS Marketing and the companies that realize this sooner, are/will locate and hire the best people. Just like marketing products to a segment of the population, you have to position your personal or company brand with frequent and interesting information online.  What is your target employee interested in?  Where to they ‘hang out’ online?  You have to BE there too.

The information should provide some ‘ah-ha’ moments for hiring managers relative to where their prospective new employees are ‘hanging out’ online. You would also note that each outlet has a target user and that social media is not just for the young.

What does this mean to us responsible for Talent Acquisition? This information demonstrates that you HAVE to be active in social media. Attracting future employees is no longer a HR thing. It IS a marketing thing. We need to be in front of potential employees with interesting content all the time. Future employees ARE going to be involved in social media outlets. We now know where to connect with the correct types of people with the right skill levels that are in our future hiring plans.

See you soon for Part 2 where I will start to drill down some on how to attack this social media beast for recruiting.

Jacki Neal
Jacki loves solving the worlds issues over lunch with industry professionals. She is a self proclaimed non- recovering technology junkie and Diet Coke addict. As the owner of an INC 500/5000 Staffing and Placement firm since 1997, she has helped her clients grow by locating Top Talent to join their teams. She has been known to totally blow the Peak marketing budget by 'grabbing' a bus and taking 75 clients and employees to see Jimmy Buffett. Funny, how relationships change when you see executives in grass skirts.
Jacki Neal
Jacki Neal
Jacki Neal

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