There is loads of talk about graduates and how they use social media. Is Facebook, Twitter or even Google Plus their weapon of choice in social media land? If your business was dependant on it, then it becomes a pretty essential thing to find out.
Today's post is a guest post from the guys down at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB) in Brighton (I have also added some feedback through the post on their social sites - with their permission of course!). They are a recruitment consultancy specifically for graduates, students and interns looking for a new job. They knew that social media was going to become a big part of their attraction and engagement strategy, so they did something about it.
This is some of their philosophy and insight with regards to graduates, students and interns when it comes to the different social media channels.
"Forget radio jingles and outdated print methods, young professionals are swarming the internet looking for graduate jobs and what we need to do is to wave the flag in the right places. High-calibre candidates are not at all difficult to spot if you know where to look and how to grab their attention. Candidates tend to be more tech-savvy and trend-focussed than the employers searching for them."
Niklas Vaittinen, Marketing Executive at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau
Social media is a whole different ball-game. Employers, just like candidates, come from very different backgrounds and very different motives hence our approach has to be tailored to their needs exactly. A ball-park approach will not cut it.
GRB have focused on the primary social networks while also keeping an eye out for other social platforms that may add value to the graduates.
Facebook of course allows the most casual approach. A leisurely pass-time, procrastination device and connection builder, candidates can be easily engaged with funny posts, interesting links and various competitions using the all important ‘like’ button. It can be used predominantly to build up a friendly rapport with candidates, reflecting your company’s values and priorities. This is a method especially important for younger candidates likely to be less familiar with the employment game. Gaining a balance between relating on their level without being try-hard or patronising is essential.
I like the way they are using Facebook - it is all about engagement and interaction.It is focused content and there is a lot of humour in there. No jobs and no selling. They have got a good following and the there are consistent engagement levels on the page.
Twitter meanwhile has better recruitment functions by disguising content that could be perceived as ‘spammy’ through other mediums. This is especially the case when emails and notifications are increasingly directed into day-to-day life, with almost too much immediacy. In this way, lower priority content like job opportunities are more likely to be overlooked or ignored as unwanted junk.
However, people expect reels of useless celebrity jargon and items of no interest to them on their Twitter newsfeeds. The ingenious 140 character snippet allows them to scan down during the wait at the bus stop or a 10minute coffee break, on the off chance something appealing might pop up. Many people like to keep up to date on job prospects even if they’re not necessarily looking for them, so gaining followers can be relatively easy. Companies can then throw up a number of job roles without seeming overly pushy, minimise time wasted on jobs board searches and meanwhile give the impression the business is active and useful.
It is also good to offset these with careers advice, useful links and relevant items of interest to keep the feed dynamic and interesting rather than solely commercial. For many recruitment companies, our distinguishing trait is not to advertise vacancies like a jobs board but to consult, confer and guide. “Social media has opened up another medium for us to communicate with our candidates, and more importantly, them to communicate and get in touch with us.”
Firstly they have taken the personal approach with Twitter - no brand account, just the account of the founder - Dan Hawes. They have decided to post jobs and content through the same account, which is not something I would advocate, but it seems to have got them Followers. However, there is little or no @ engagement in the feed. It seems to be a broadcast channel for them, which if that is their strategy, is their choice.
With such good engagement on their Facebook page, I would have also expected good engagement on their Twitter channel as well. Maybe this is a work in progress?
LinkedIn has its place in business and doesn’t need much description; great for headhunting, references and building professional networks, here you will find candidates actively seeking to push forward their career. It can be used for both formal and informal recruitment opportunities whether this is to a colleague, candidate or client and creates faster, longer-standing and more accessible connections which may come in useful in the future.
LinkedIn doesn't really appear to be on their agenda - even though they have established a good follower count. I personally would look to develop this further, as more graduates are arriving on LinkedIn now. Also with the new tools on LinkedIn Company pages, you can segment your followers and do targeted messaging which might be useful for them. Definitely one for future work.
4. What are the new outlets to keep an eye on?
It’s also worth considering the markets that might be less inclined to read blog posts and therefore approach the internet from a completely different perspective. Video advice on YouTube for example provides an alternative interactive experience on another huge branch of the internet. However small that presence might be, less conventional social areas are still worth addressing for recruitment as they keep your company diverse and on top of trends which might take off in the future. Meanwhile, GRB are also ready and waiting in the wings of Google+ and undoubtedly, Pinterest.
To stay on top of the game, it is pivotal to monitor, evaluate and sometimes test new forms of recruitment services and social media opportunities. For example, Pinterest is highly likely to be used to our advantage in the near future, however we will only roll it out when we are completely satisfied with the presence and strategy we will use. Often, even then, there is a period of trial and error involved and it is worth taking this time to consider it.
Is there still a place for more traditional approaches?
Before we conclude, take a moment to think back and dust off a few of the older recruitment strategies that were around before the social media explosion. Print, radio and a scattering of temping agencies back in the ‘60s may have had their place once upon a time, but the recruitment industry in general is a relatively new development.
Nik states “contemporary strategies work as long as there are contemporary employers, so social media is certainly going to be around for many years to come.” However, he goes on to state that “rather than abandoning traditional approaches, we have included more online communication and social media to our communication mix”. Face to face contact at careers fairs is extremely important to GRB’s graduate values, so depending on your company, traditional strategies should not always be disregarded as outdated because a new fad seems more sparkly. Fads have their place, but they can also have a disillusioning habit of passing.
Social media is undoubtedly an essential medium for the graduate market whatever your specialism, but hone in on what works for you as a business and keep it fresh and dynamic. “Our success is based on the people who work here, however by being on top of new trends and embracing new rather than holding on to old has certainly contributed to the current success at The GRB.”
I like the look and feel of GRB and the way they are approaching social media. It is obviously still in the early stages, but they are using a variety of social tools - they didn't even mention their blog in this article - to reach out to and engage with their target audience, generating successful engagement.
What I don't know though, is the actual level success they are having generating placements for their clients, with people that have originated via social media. Maybe they would be able to enlighten us in the comments.
If you want to share your social recruiting story/experiences then I would love to hear about them and share them with my readers.
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