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Using Social Media to Recruit
Paula Santonocito

Using Social Media to Recruit

Does your recruitment strategy include business and social networking sites?

If not, you're missing the most significant transformation in employee recruitment since online job advertising.

Last month, social network goliath Facebook announced it now has more than 250 million active users. More than 120 million of these users visit the site at least once every day.

What started as a site for young people has evolved into a playground for adults. More than two-thirds of Facebook users are not college students; people 35 and older account for the site's fastest growing demographic.

Site users are socializing, sure, but the interaction often has a work component. Many Facebook friends are coworkers, former coworkers, and/or business contacts.

LinkedIn also continues to grow. The professional network now claims more than 43 million members.

But it's the way the site has evolved beyond an online resume and a list of contacts to include more user interaction that has the greatest potential from a recruitment standpoint.

Participation in LinkedIn Groups has increased dramatically, as has the number of people who regularly post updates at the site.

And of course there is Twitter. For the uninitiated, the micro-blogging service allows users to post short updates, 140 characters or less, known as Tweets.

Companies use Twitter in a variety of ways: to link to jobs at their corporate careers sites, provide information about career fair participation and college recruiting events, and connect directly with job seekers. Twitter also serves as an employment branding tool.

And employers and recruiters rely on Twitter to drive traffic to other social media, like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Confused? You're not alone.

HR and recruitment professionals who have been bogged down sifting through the overflow of resumes resulting from the recession know they should learn about social media as it relates to recruitment, but are sometimes unsure where to start.

Fortunately, information and training are readily available. For example, AIRS, a leader in recruitment training and a company of The RightThing, has added several new training courses focused on social media.

AIRS also has a new certification intended to provide recruiters with a thorough and up-to-the-minute understanding of candidate sourcing via social media. AIRS Certified Social Sourcing Certification (CSSR), the industry's first designation focused on social media, can be obtained following the completion of AIRS Social Sourcing class and certification exam.

Today's recruitment and HR conferences also feature sessions aimed at social media education. Industry publications are yet another source.

But what if, quite frankly, you're too busy and don't have time to explore this frontier?

Consider that 37 percent of 181 top employers surveyed by global consulting firm Watson Wyatt have either deployed, piloted or plan to adopt a social networking component as part of their overall HR technology mix.

In other words, social networking is part of your competition's strategy.