Gone are the days when reams of candidate resumes printed off fax machines in retailer HR departments. A growing number of recruiters within retail organizations are driving a strategic trend to use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other niche social networking sites to reach candidates faster and reduce recruitment costs. 

Fans, tweets and links: the new lingo of retailer recruiting

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Gone are the days when reams of candidate resumes printed off fax machines in retailer HR departments. A growing number of recruiters within retail organizations are driving a strategic trend to use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other niche social networking sites to reach candidates faster and reduce recruitment costs.

A recent SHRM research study, "Use of Social Networking Websites to Recruit Potential Job Candidates in 2011 vs. 2008," states:

  • The use of social media sites to recruit passive job candidates who might not otherwise apply or be contacted by employers increased to 84 percent in 2011 -- compared to 69 percent in 2008.
  • Of the employers surveyed in 2011, 60 percent used social media to increase employer brand and recognition compared to 35 percent in 2008.
  • Employers who used social media to target job candidates with a very specific set of skills increased from 38 percent in 2008 to 52 percent in 2011.

CTIA-The Wireless Association reports that U.S. residents use more than 270 million mobile devices. Considering that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population to be 304 million, it means approximately 89 percent of the population now has some type of mobile device. It only makes sense for employers to reach candidates by using mobile recruiting campaigns via social media. And mobile devices also provide an easy way for job seekers to reach out to potential employers.

Learning the language
The retail industry embraced social media by using a number of strategies to tap the talent pool. "If done right, retailers can consistently make their brand known in many different avenues," says Stephanie Gorans, senior recruiter, talent acquisition for Ceridian. "And it's effective since more people are willing to network using social media. They can 'retweet' information on Twitter or 'like it' on Facebook, which makes it easy to pass along the message."


In addition to maintaining brand awareness, Gorans notes that retailers are also good at directly targeting their competitors' job candidates on Facebook by placing job ads that pop up on candidates' Facebook user pages.

Not sure about which social media site works best for your specific recruiting needs? Retailers or other industries that are ready to leverage the most popular social media sites - LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter - can use the following guidelines to search for candidates and optimize their recruiting and networking strategies:

LinkedIn:

  • Post a job advertisement or simply state that you're looking for someone in a particular field or area of expertise.
  • Network with people you know, including coworkers, clients, past employers, friends and others.
  • Join appropriate groups for specific types of job candidates, such as a group for financial advisors.
  • Check candidate profiles before beginning the formal interview process.

Facebook:

  • Access a pool of potential candidates that far exceeds any other network.
  • Search the Facebook directory for relevant keywords and post a job in the Facebook marketplace.
  • Create a Facebook page to promote your business or post a Facebook ad.

Twitter:

  • Build a network and establish relationships to reach Twitter users in the same region or industry or to discuss subjects relevant to positions you may need to fill.
  • Tweet available positions to your network. These can be retweeted by members of your network and expand faster and farther than traditional recruitment methods.

Speak clearly
Before learning social media "speak," it's important that organizations take care of first things first. This includes creating a social media policy for usage guidelines as well as developing a clear strategy for using social media in the recruiting process.


"If retailers, as well as other types of organizations, have Facebook careers pages, it's important to consistently post job information in order to attract candidates," Gorans advises. "Also, if you have different recruiters sending out different messages on social networking sites, potential job candidates may be confused about the company's brand. Everyone in the HR organization must be consistent about using a social media strategy."

Ceridian partners with retailers of all types to help them optimize performance, recruit and retain valuable talent, and control costs. With our innovative workforce management solutions, we're on the same page and speaking the same language to help your organization succeed.