What is the role of social media in senior recruitment?

With over 500 million users now registered on LinkedIn, it’s no surprise that there has been a sharp rise in the number of companies opting to utilise the channel for recruitment. In fact, according to research by the Society for Human Resources Management, 84 percent of businesses are now using social media as a recruitment tool, compared to just 56 percent back in 2011.

Keen to find out more about the changing way businesses are incorporating LinkedIn as part of their approach to senior recruitment, we undertook research amongst HR professionals at over 100 businesses. From this we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for utilising social media as part of a recruitment strategy.

1.Evaluate potential candidates’ suitability

One key advantage of social media recruitment is the immediate insight platforms like LinkedIn can provide into a candidate’s character and suitability to the role. Indeed, our analysis showed that researching candidates is the top reason HR professionals use LinkedIn as part of their recruitment process. Almost 50 percent of those we interviewed use the platform for this purpose. Our research also found that the information found on candidates’ LinkedIn profiles is largely deemed to be reliable, with over half claiming to believe most or all of what they see.Reach the best and the brightest talent

2. Reach the best and the brightest talent

LinkedIn is also an effective tool for building talent pools and our research revealed that a significant number of HR heads use the platform to connect with new talent. LinkedIn adverts can be a valuable way to expand the number of candidates reached, with over a third of businesses studied using LinkedIn adverts to target a wider audience with their messaging. Those that we interviewed said such advertising increases the volume of potential candidates, but, interestingly, a further 46 percent suggested it also increases the quality of candidates.

3. Build your employer brand

Paying to advertise roles on social channels also offers an opportunity to promote a brand. This advantage was most certainly felt by the businesses that we researched, with over three quarters confirming that one of the key benefits of advertising is the opportunity to raise their company’s profile, as well as attract potential employees.

4. Join up

To maximise both the recruitment and brand-building opportunities that social media has to offer, it is important that marketing and HR teams adopt a joined-up strategy for all social communications. For a social media strategy to be truly effective, the marketing team should keep up to date with the roles that the business is currently recruiting for and bear the recruitment agenda in mind when creating social media content.

5. Know social media’s limits

Despite the advantages of incorporating social media into recruitment strategies, 99 percent of people agreed that there still remains a place for recruitment agencies, suggesting that there is no danger of traditional recruitment methods disappearing altogether. This is largely down to concerns about social media’s ability to reach the very best senior talent, issues with the reliability of a candidate’s social media profiles and challenges with the time involved in dealing with the deluge of candidates which social media can generate.

Social media isn’t usurping the recruitment process, but it is an increasingly important element of it. As a result, businesses are now required to have, or have access to, both the specialist skills and experience of traditional recruitment and LinkedIn know-how in order to win the battle for senior talent.

To read the full report, click here.