Is Social Media the Silver Bullet for Hiring?

two guys on a computerSocial Media isn’t just a fad anymore. When we take a look at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we don’t think of them as fun little widgets. Instead, we often see them as platforms that can make or break us. Social media, it seems, is here to say.

But here is the question that begs asking: how much time and money should we invest in our social media marketing? And is it really a silver bullet for hiring?

As we say with all our tools of the trade: never put all your eggs in one basket.

Recently, The Staff Canteen–an online publisher for the UK service industry –discussed the growing difficulty in hiring young and skilled chefs to work in the industry. While many blamed it on the increasingly difficult work environment and low pay, some actually pointed the finger at social media. Restaurateur Gary Usher argued that the informality of Twitter and other social media platforms make it easier for the younger generation.

“For me sending a DM asking about salary, it’s just not what I’m looking for in a person. I want them to say ‘hey chef, any chance I can pop down and meet you’ that’s what I’m looking for.”

So, what’s the deal here? Is social media for hiring really as bad as it seems? Here’s our take:

The Disadvantages

In Usher’s mind, social media has created an oversaturated market for job openings. Now, business owners can simply jump on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with a less than 140 character job description that can reach thousands in minutes. As awesome and powerful as that outreach can be, it does remove some of the formalities that come with filling out a newspaper ad or going through a job search engine like Careerlink.

In the end, we have to remember that social media is all about conversations. On it, candidates don’t have to go through the formalities of responding to an ad or creating a resume; they can simply direct message because that is what comes with the territory of social media.

The Advantages

But let’s not forget about the advantages that come with using social media as a platform for recruiting and hiring. As Sat Bains, executive chef/owner of Restaurant Sat Bains puts it, “Advertising for chefs on Twitter just cuts out the middle man… you can avoid agents which are a big expense for us–I’d rather pay that 15/20 percent to the candidate.”

It does cut out the middle man, and on top of that it brings us back to a point we brought up earlier: social media does provide a great amount of reach for not a lot of money. But how can you use it without running into the problems that people like Usher complain about?

Using Social Media to Boost Recruiting

Balance out the informality with some formality. Sure, it probably looks cool when you tweet something like “Who wants to join our team? Stop by the office and say hello!” but that is just inviting people to respond with an equally as casual response. Instead, try slipping in a note at the end about submitting a resume to an official email, which lets candidates known that you are looking for serious inquiries only without saying it outright.

Use social media in conjunction with other tools. There are dozens of tools out there for hiring and recruiting. Social media isn’t the end all be all of hiring. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. The best way to take advantage of social media for recruiting is by using other tools to back it up. Host jobs on a job site (like Careerlink!) and post them to social media to boost reach. This is a one-two punch that plays off the strengths of each platform.

In the end, the best advice we can give you is this: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Banking on social media to get you the candidates you want and need is more than likely going to leave you short. Mix social media with other recruiting methods, though, and you’ll be on the path to success.

What do you think? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

photo credit: Scott and Chris via photopin (license)

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