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As social media increasingly permeates our lives it becomes imperative for HR managers to understand all of the opportunities if offers. These include the ability to bring a company’s brand to life in the online world, interact with customers and business partners in a more personal way than ever before, and to make employees and customers into internet evangelists for a business.
There are many ways in which social media strategy and HR strategy inform each other, but one of the most important in the years ahead will be in the area of recruitment. Given the amount of information that is available through social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, among others, they have become an invaluable tool in the search for – and vetting of – potential hires.
The number of companies using social media to support recruitment is growing rapidly. Some use it to source hard to find skills, others to find passive candidates they can approach with job offers or to refine their headhunting strategy. Many HR professionals rate word of mouth as the best source of candidates, and social media networks are the online pathways through which word of mouth can pass more rapidly than ever, and to a wider audience.
Many companies also use sites like Twitter to advertise vacancies. In fact, the number of job opportunities posted on Twitter has made it one of the most influential jobsites on the internet. Talk to HR professionals and you will soon hear that within the next few years they expect the majority of candidate referrals to come through online communities.
As well as finding candidates, companies that are closely monitoring social networks are increasingly using them to find reasons to hire, or not to hire, potential candidates. They are also tracking their branding as an employer, and can influence the impression people have of their business as a place to work.
In all of these aspects, the HR function must have an in-depth understanding of how social media networks function, how to use them to find the right talent, and how to create the right image of their company as an employer.