T he rise of Social Media over the past years has undoubtedly changed the way in which individuals and companies communicate, build relationships, and otherwise do business.

With massive Social Networks such as Facebook closing in on 1 billion active users, the sheer scale of networking potential cannot be denied.  It is this very potential that has opened new channels of communication between businesses and consumers, augmenting the way in which entire industries operate – the Staffing Industry included.

The Staffing Industry – a Brief History of Change

“Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come” 
– Spencer Johnston, M.D.  Author of “Who Moved my Cheese”

Throughout the course of its lifetime, the Staffing industry has experienced and adapted to many changes ushered in by new technologies.  In the early days (before the advent of computers, the Internet, and cell phones), recruiting was largely paper driven relying on rows of file cabinets, snail mail, and client visits.  This process required brute force and was, at best, cumbersome.  As computer technology became available, and ultimately the Internet, the age of “Recruiting 2.0” was ushered in.  This technology not only drove process efficiency within the organizations, but also enabled the introduction of Internet job boards.  These job boards increased the Recruiter’s ability to broadcast opportunities and reach active candidates at a scale that was previously unheard of.

In the last several years, we have seen the meteoric rise of Social Networking, and it promises to radically enhance the way in which Candidates are sourced, jobs are filled, and applicants are reviewed.  This new method has been coined “Social Recruiting”, and with it we have seen the beginning of a new era of staffing – “Recruiting 3.0”.

The impact of Social Networks on staffing has been significant, and savvy recruiters have already begun to leverage this platform to great effect.  Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ contain a massive pool of candidates. Building a talent pool through these channels provides far greater reach than any one company could achieve internally.

It has been reported that over 60% of Social Network users are between the ages of 35 – 45, which puts them in the “professional age” bracket.  And with job seekers using Social Networks more and more to find opportunities (some statistics have reported upwards of 30% of job seekers using Social Networks as their primary search tool), Recruiters are naturally gravitating towards this channel.

Of course, any tool is only as good as the operator, and understanding all the implications of Social Networking on staffing is what will separate those who are successful in this new age of recruiting from those who are not.

In the next entry in this series we will discuss exactly how companies are leveraging social recruiting, and why social recruiting strategies sometimes fail to deliver the expected results.  Has your company invested in a social recruiting strategy, and if so have you noticed an increase in sourcing qualified candidates?  Comment below – we would love to hear your experiences with social recruiting!

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