Written by Doug Rode, Senior Managing Director, Michael Page Technology
In today’s culture, social media is nigh on inescapable. It now seems as though every man and his dog, quite literally, has a profile on at least one social platform as the number of active social media users tops 3.4 billion worldwide. Given the pervasiveness of social media in our everyday lives it is no surprise that job candidates are now looking to the social channels of companies before applying for roles. As a result, maintaining an up to date and engaging social media page has become something else for businesses to think about.
From offering a window into the successes of the business, to showcasing company culture, values and the workforce, a social media profile is fast becoming a ‘make or break’ factor for candidates. As we experience a period of consistently high employment rates, the competition to attract top talent is hotter than ever. As a result, a strong social media presence could be a key differentiator over the competition.
Make a company stand out to candidates
Workers’ desires are changing. This has been widely accepted and spoken about for several years. In the past five years alone, I’ve personally seen that shift in candidates’ attitudes. People no longer simply want just a good salary from a role – now, as early as at interview stage, prospective employees will be wondering what else a company can offer, beyond the remuneration and benefits package. Whereas a competitive salary used to be the biggest factor for candidates, today’s job applicants want a good company culture – and they’ll do their research in advance to ensure that’s what they secure. One of the most obvious places to get a feel for a business is via its website and social media pages.
If a company doesn’t have visibility online, it runs the risk of potential candidates passing it off as ‘old-fashioned’, halting their interest in a role. However, a strong presence is an opportunity for any business to showcase its offer to employees in a far more authentic and valuable way than can be achieved by a static ‘Join Us’ style page on a website.
Companies can use social media to announce their successes, from new partnerships to industry awards, high-profile business wins and company initiatives. Yet, there is also an opportunity to showcase the company’s personality and one of the best ways to do this is through its employees. From celebrating the key milestones of workers such as service anniversaries, engagements or births, to highlighting company nights out, great work and camaraderie in the office.
With candidates increasingly seeking to be treated as individuals, demonstrating the human-centric approach of a business through social media can tip the scales in a company’s favour.
Recognise the importance of your employees online
It’s worth also keeping in mind that social media is just as important for a business’ current employees, as to prospective candidates. Employees today want to feel like they transcend their job role to be part of the wider business conversation – something that can be mutually beneficial on social media.
Take the example of a global company which has both individual country social media pages and an overarching global social presence. If an employee’s great work is shared nationally, they will feel a sense of pride and achievement; if that feat is then shared globally, those sensations will increase significantly, all while showing-off the company’s great work and staff appreciation. In this case, it’s also highly likely that the employee, and their network of colleagues, friends and family, would share the posts enabling the company to reach a wider audience.
A company’s workers are its biggest advocates. They may well talk about their work on social media, whether sharing company posts, elaborating on their employment on LinkedIn or commenting on daily occurrences on Twitter. Savvy candidates will use this as a source of insight into a company, so it’s important for businesses to be mindful that their treatment of staff will be reflected in how they show up online.
Be socially smart
Just as prospective candidates will use social platforms to do some digging into potential employers, companies can do the same, using LinkedIn and other social platforms to find the best potential hires for their business.
For example, if an employee has been in a role for two years, companies can identify that they will have likely undergone a significant amount of training and possibly be ready to move on to their next opportunity. By looking at LinkedIn, a prospective employer would be able to see this length of tenure, note the expected training level and then look to approach the candidate.
Workers have made significant changes to their behaviour in recent years. Whereas once candidates would actively seek out and apply for jobs, in today’s online world candidates can make themselves available to be found on social media and let potential employers approach them directly.
In summary, for businesses looking to hire the best talent, social media presence must be a prime consideration. It offers companies the opportunity to present the most appealing version of themselves, in a format that will appeal to today’s talent pool. As the tendency for job seekers to research a prospective employer on social media increases, those platforms will play an ever more pivotal role in recruitment.
The businesses that are not currently capitalising on social media platforms may find their ability to attract top talent in the future suffers as a result.