Social Recruiting: the whole truth

Social Recruiting: the whole truth

What’s the current trend in recruiting and HR? Without a doubt it’s social recruiting.
The rise of Social Recruiting seems unstoppable: not a day goes past without a new article on the topic, journalists, marketing experts, business consultants and recruiters (the least of all!) are talking about it.
But is all that glitters really gold? Can we really implement an effective recruiting strategy without using social networks?

At In-recruiting we believe that Social Recruiting is more than just a passing trend, and we’ve decided to invest into it by integrating advanced Social Recruiting features into the latest version of our recruiting software. Before we did this however, we wanted to understand more about this phenomenon and the real needs of the recruiters that we support every day with our applicant Tracking System.
If you really want to understand this phenomenon it’s important to focus on the data rather than the chatter that’s in the news. Here we can also paraphrase Sergio Leone who says:

“When a man with words meets a man with numbers, the man with words is a dead man.”

We’ve collected together lots of research from Italy and overseas, analysed and cross referenced the data, and now we can share a more realistic view of the efficacy of Social Recruiting.

Recruiting will become more difficult (or maybe not)

It’s important to ask: how has the recruiting sector been changing in recent years? Is recruitment becoming simpler or more complicated?
According to the latest data, 69% of recruiters predict that the competition for recruiting the best talent will increase over the next 12 months. (Source: Social Recruiting Survey 2015). The figure is also confirmed by the Kelly Services’ Hiring Manager Survey 2015 survey. According to this study, 45% of recruiters are convinced that recruitment today is much more difficult than the previous five years (and 42% believe that the situation will further deteriorate in the next 3-5 years, compared to 36% that believe it will improve). The recruitment industry is definitely experiencing a shift and the best way to describe it is “competitive”.
It’s also interesting to understand more from those that say that recruiting will become simpler in the coming years. In particular, 81% of this sample is convinced that in the next 3-5 years, it will be easier to do recruiting due to modern technology that will attract candidates more quickly and easily.

Social Recruiting will save us!

Reading this data it’s easy to understand why Social Recruiting is considered the solution to recruiters’ problems. And the budgets from HR divisions seems to confirm this view of things, in fact, 73% of recruiters plan to invest in this area this year. In addition, investment in recent years has been steadily growing, and the trend doesn’t seem to be losing any momentum (as highlighted in the chart below).

Social recruiting trend

… But these recruiters aren’t prepared

Up to this point the reasoning follows logic, but only if we don’t cross this data with the other data about the digital skills of recruiters. Asked about the level of their skills in Social Recruiting, only 18% of recruiters said they considered themselves an expert, while 51% said competent, and 31% novice. (Source: Social Recruiting Survey 2014). The data from the study is global so it’s reasonable to assume that the number of Italian recruiters who are experts in Social Recruiting is considerably lower, probably less than 10%.
A quick observation of recruiters’ activities on various social networks confirms what the data says. It’s not uncommon to see actions that show little knowledge of the tools and that lack any real strategy. Therefore we help recruiters who are: publishing job ads on LinkedIn through their personal profile rather than through the company page, using hashtags without a real strategy or on the wrong social networks, executing behaviours that can be damaging to the company’s brand (only 46% of companies claim to have a policy for using Social Networks).

Why the recruiters aren’t prepared?

The reason for this lack of skills is twofold: on the one hand it reflects the general situation (especially in Italy), on the other hand it is due to lack of training from companies in general in these areas
First of all we need to remember that today less than 50% of Italians have basic computer skills against a European figure of 59%. And only 29.5% have skills that are above minimum. When we look at the figures within a business environment we see that 68% of workers claim to have only basic or inferior digital skills. (Source: Digital Competence Observatory 2015).
And it’s not uncommon for HR to have the lowest level of digital competence among the various business functions, as Lynda Gratton recalls (London Business School’s Management Practice): “One of the major challenges for the next few years in HR departments will be: how will they prepare for the future? “And especially, “how will they manage their skills to handle the challenges of the future?”.

What actions are companies implementing to improve this situation? Little or nothing would be the conclusion from reading the data. Regarding the specific area of Social Recruiting the data shows that only one recruiter in four has taken training sessions on the use of Social Networks for recruiting. Those who took the training sessions on average evaluated them as worthwhile (with a vote of 0.44 from a range of 1 to -1).
For this reason, each of our customers receives full support and training specifically on how to use our Applicant Tracking System (even though In-recruiting is intuitive and easy to use). We know that technology can significantly improve the daily work in recruitment but it must be used with the right skills and the correct strategic vision of how recruitment operates.

What happens if you don’t have digital skills?

The lack of digital skills has a worrying consequence: the failure to achieve the recruitment goals. In Adecco’s study on Social Recruiting, the assessment of the effectiveness of social media is low (the entry “easily achieving my goals by using social media” gets a negative score of -0.07 on a scale of -1 and 1). In practice, most recruiters do not know how to effectively use the tools in which their companies are investing considerable budgets.
It’s definitely useful to consider how recruiters perceive benefits of the different Social Networks. For example, the only Social Network actually considered useful by recruiters is LinkedIn (0.63). They negatively rate Facebook (-0.03) and Twitter (-0.18). There responses could be due to bias (Facebook is not professional) or lack of knowledge about the tool (as may be the case with Twitter).

To achieve an integrated recruitment strategy

To better understand the phenomenon it’s useful to broaden the scope even further and to also analyse the habits of the candidates.
Firstly, the number of Italian companies that select passive candidates is below the global average, 53% in Italy against 63% globally. (Source: Linkedin Talent Trends Italy 2015). Candidates are less proactive in Italy and they are less likely to seek out new job opportunities. This means that in Italy a recruiter requires a much more proactive approach if they want to get in touch with passive candidates.

Considering that 55.2% of recruiters use Social Networks primarily to identify passive candidates (Source: Adecco), we can see that this goal is far from being met.

The 2016 Recruitpedia Italy study by the selections company Executive Surf answers a further question: what is the most important element to attract the best talent? According to this study, the company’s Employer Brand is the key to attracting the best candidates and achieving their acceptance of a job offer.
If Employer Branding is such an important element we need to ask ourselves how is the candidate coming into contact with the company’s Employer Brand? A study by PotentialPark shows that despite the increase in number of communication channels, 80% of candidates use the company’s career page to find information on their next potential employer, while 51% use professional Social Networks and only 32% use other social media. But how about to submit an application? In this case, the career page is the still the preferred medium for submitting an application (76%). This channel is followed by email (56%), the Job ads portal (46%), in person (45%). For professional Social Networks like LinkedIn it is just 20%.

Conclusions: the Future of Recruiting

Going back to the data at the beginning: there are important challenges ahead for recruiters in coming years, even in Italy the competition for talent has grown. The only way to tackle this change is to strategically use technology to implement strategies and tactics to target the best candidates.

strategia recruiting

There are two things to consider however: the first

is the hype about the latest trend (such as Social Recruiting), and the second is the lack of digital skills to use technology tools (such as Social Recruiting) to respond to this change.
We feel like giving two suggestions to all HR functions:
The first is to make a specific effort to increase the digital skills of the recruiters. Over the next few years, we would like to see a progressive increase in spending on internal training. We believe that this investment can actually result in savings, given the current ineffectiveness of the resources being invested in social recruiting.
The second suggestion is to make the transition from a simplified view of recruiting, one that only looks at single solutions (such as social recruiting), to an integrated vision of recruitment. Social Recruiting can definitely be an effective weapon in the recruitment arsenal but it must be integrated with other useful tools, such as the company’s career page, a next generation recruitment software that can centralise and track all activities, and above all a strategy that integrates all the tools: Employer Branding, Applicant Tracking System, Social Networks, Referrals and Job boards etc.

Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!