The Future of Recruitment: How Social Media fits into the Hiring Process

The Future of RecruitmentIn recent years, the way employers and jobseekers communicate has been noticeably altered by the rise of the Internet, and in particular the rising popularity of ‘Social Media’ websites. This change in communication has also had an effect on the recruitment process as a whole.

Historically, the process of finding candidates who meet the qualification, experience and cultural fit requirements of an available role has been a time consuming and complicated process, which is why many employers sought the help of independent recruitment agencies to handle the hiring process. In specialist sectors such as Audit, Risk and Compliance, this approach has been particularly common.

More recently there has been a shift towards bringing recruitment back within the business; where due to the rising popularity of social media as a recruitment medium, ‘in-house’ recruiters (who I must add, are generally very professional and effective in sourcing talent) can now access a global pool of professional candidate with a few clicks of a mouse. Whilst many employers have benefitted from this evolution during a period of job shortage and global downturn, I am not convinced this is a sustainable or effective method of sourcing candidates in the medium term.

My concern is that jobseekers who are using social media networking channels are primarily ‘active’ candidates who are already looking for a new role. Whilst these are great candidates, there is also a widely held belief that the best candidates are ‘passive’ (i.e. not necessarily looking for a new role right now, but are open to opportunities) and less likely to advertise that they are available in the public domain.

Even though the number of jobseekers in the market is currently very high, it can still be difficult for employers to find high calibre, professional employees in sectors such as Audit, Risk & Compliance. Sometimes even more difficult than in the past as thousands of resumes flood the market. Often a deep and specialist understanding of the sector, the business itself, and the intricacies of the vacant role – along with years of experience in the recruitment industry – are needed to filter through the available candidates and find the one employee who can truly add value to the company.

Social media can make it easy to find thousands of candidates in one day, however it is unlikely that they are all up to the standard required for the role that needs to be filled. Finding a candidate that best suits the unique needs of the business is still a task best left to an experienced and professional specialist recruitment agency.

As well as an increasing applicant pool of varying quality, the way candidates advertise their skills and network with potential employers and other industry peers has changed. Job hunting and building a career is now much more complex than sending the same resume to prospective employers via email, or even snail mail! For example, LinkedIn, the global social media platform designed specifically for professional networking, now boasts over 200 million worldwide members.

While LinkedIn is widely seen as the leader in professional communication and business development, other big name social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are not far behind. In November 2012, Facebook launched a US based job board feature allowing recruiters to connect to users in their local area who were looking for work. And while Twitter’s 140 character limit can be less advantageous to professional networking, it can still be useful in attracting local talent. By ‘tweeting’ available job openings to followers and searching the site for users with keywords that relate to the business, Twitter can be a great additional social media channel in the recruiter’s repertoire.

In practical terms, this means any recruiter can find hundreds of candidates using a searchable database that seem to match the experience and skill requirements of an open position. However, candidates who seem perfect on paper do not always meet the requirements of the role once they have been met in person and interviewed. While recruiters who use social media can easily find ‘active’ candidates, independent professional recruiters and headhunters are trained to also find ‘passive’ candidates who have the background required for the role, fit the team culture and dynamic, and are most likely to grow within the company.

In today’s economic climate it can seem like a ‘no-brainer’ to focus on using the Internet and social media as a medium for finding new candidates quickly, however, this is not a sustainable search strategy long term. As domestic and international economies pick up again the pool of professional and specialist candidates with a high skill-set will shrink as more jobs become available and the numbers of good candidates looking for work reduces. When this happens it will make finding the best possible employee a lot tougher than entering a few keywords into a search engine on social media sites.

To ensure that a company continues to secure and retain a high quality employee team in the future, it’s important to establish a good relationship with a truly specialist recruitment business that is experienced and well networked across the sector the business operates in. A good recruitment partner will be able to utilize varied traditional recruitment methods combined with the latest trends like social media to find ideal candidates for the business in any economy.



Original article by Paul Simms, Wright Executive.

Edited with permission by CareersinAudit.

Paul Simms is an executive recruiter with 15 years of experience across the Australian and UK markets. He is the founder of Wright Executive a specialist business within the Accounting, Banking and Insurance sector. If you would like to contact Paul, please email




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