Personnel selection meets social media. It’s called social recruiting and it’s done on LinkedIn (but also Facebook and Twitter). A book by Anna Martini and Silvia Zanella explains how digital has changed the encounter between the job offer and job application.

In a world where everything seems to have become social, staff selection activities could not be an exception. LinkedIn, but also Facebook, Twitter and – why not? – Instagram are increasingly used platforms by organizations around the world to research talent and identify the best candidates for recruitment. We have therefore entered the age of social recruiting, the new frontier of selection in version 2.0.

But, beyond the easy rhetoric, what is the meaning of this new trend? Since the theme is now on everyone’s keyboards, when we deal with research and personnel management, we decided to dedicate a series of in-depth analyzes to social recruiting. We do it, in this first episode, starting from some reflections and the many data provided by Anna Martini and Silvia Zanella, authors of Social Recruiter. Strategies and digital tools for HR professionals, recently published by FrancoAngeli.

«Every company is a social network». This is the refrain of the book by Martini and Zanella. And it is the affirmation that best evokes what we want to talk about in these lines.

The world of recruiting in Italy

Today the world of personnel selection is completely different from that of twenty years ago. And certainly, this is not news. The Human Resources function (or Human Resouces, HR) as a whole has undergone incredible transformations in recent times. An important change coincided with the advent of the Internet. In the Nineties, in particular, a great revolution in the selection of personnel came from America: online recruiting.

In the new book on social recruiting, Anna Martini – engaged in Human Resources for 17 years, today Digital HR Manager and Personal Branding Strategist for the Lavorint Group – writes about this change. And she underlines how even in Italy it arrived with a slight delay. For this job board (real virtual bulletin boards), announcements and employment agencies have had and still have considerable importance in supporting the meeting between supply and demand: in the search for a new job on the one hand and in that of the ideal candidate on the other.

Today it is no longer enough to only publish an announcement: the recruiter of 2018 can’t wait for a candidate feedback to a job offer, written who knows where, if in a bulletin board or in a portal. The recruiter 2.0 knows that to find the right candidate, he must also activate a number of passive candidates: those who are not looking for a job. How does? Through the use of social networks (78.3% of recruiter according to the research data ‘Work Trend Study 2015’ of the Observatory of The Adecco Group: the survey conducted on 2,742 candidates and 143 recruiters in Italy). In fact, every selector has the task of finding the ideal candidate in the shortest possible time. Or make sure that they are the candidates to find them.

It is clear that creating a relationship on social media is certainly easier and more convenient – even logistically – than waiting to do it in person. And we do not argue this, the data confirm it: 64% of the recruiters and 80% of the candidates search for a job offer online. The recruiter:

  • check CVs (75.5% of LinkedIn use)
  • the candidate’s network (67.1%)
  • published contents (57.3%)
  • the web reputation of the candidates (50.3%)
  • discover the personality traits of candidates (35.7%).

The 35% of recruiters said also to have ruled out some candidates from the selection because of the information contained on their social media accounts. Conversely, professionals use social media for:

  • looking for a job (51%)
  • distributing the CV (50%)
  • looking for the pages of potential employers (47%)
  • inquiring about recruiter (42%)
  • inquiring about the company or the employer (36.4%).

The 76% of the candidates acknowledge that they have verified the reputation of a company through their official social media account.

Social recruiting: contamination between HR and marketing

The potential of social media, described by Silvia Zanella – International Marketing and Communications Director, Digital HR, Social Recruiting, Employer Branding for The Adecco Group – taken from the report of the McKinsey Global InstituteThe Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity” can be summarized in 10 main processes, transversal to different business sectors: co-creation, demand forecasting, distribution, market research, interactions with customers. So if the potential is multiple, why not take advantage of social media for staff selection?

And here we are, at the heart of the matter: social media. Which are not just cuddly kittens and viral videos on Facebook. If exploited in the right way, social networks can become a very powerful weapon. They can give the chance to the recruiter to find the perfect candidate. Social networks may bring together the candidate and the company and get to know the values of a brand up to discover that these values are already common ground. In this case, they may entice the candidate to apply, despite he is not looking for a new job.

On the contrary, social networks could also expose who you really are and furthermore that your real life is very different from the one you make people believe. The idea that emerges from Martini and Zanella’s book is that people tend to create an online profile that does not correspond to reality: a kind of synthetic-digital profile, and ideal self-portrait.

In this scenario, an important role is played by the marketing that intervenes in the recruitment process to make a vacant position perceived as a product. Job offers, like those for products, must be advertised and be part of a brand awareness strategy. An employer must have a good reputation and attract potential candidates. For this reason, the first promoters of a company are its employees: a gratified employee, has a relationship with the brand, a relationship that drives the employee to talk about his employment on social networks, positively influencing other people. This is why the figure of the brand ambassador becomes more and more important.

Anna Martini writes (translated from the original text in italian): «whoever deals with Human Resources has the task of ensuring that the workplace is like a magnet, able to attract and inspire, responding to the wishes of realization, but also of socialization, of individuals». And again, «the one between company and employees is an unprecedented alliance».