Small business should avoid social media for recruitment

At a recent round table the gathered experts acknowledged that social media was definitely an emerging road in recruitment but one not open to everyone.
Geoff Newman of Recruitment Genius believes that the use of social media for recruitment “for a smaller company is less relevant; it is more intensive in terms of generating content. The viability depends on the context of the company and how frequently they are looking to recruit.”
The benefit of using social media to many is that listing a job is free compared to putting it on a job board or employing an agency. Mike Taylor of Web-Based Recruitment points out that “you have to put work into it, said work takes time, and time is the cost.”
Geoff Newman was more vociferous saying “for the vast majority of small companies, I’d say it would be a complete and utter waste of time and money.”
Smaller businesses are likely to be better sticking to outsourcing their recruitment to companies who do have the time to invest in social media. Gary Chaplin, director of Stark Brooks, a headhunting firm, has seen some great success from using social media to post clients available job roles “We have filled jobs on the back of Twitter, particularly for quick turnaround, interim roles”.
Social Media is also being used for a darker side of recruitment – digging up information on potential candidates to judge suitability. A practice the experts agreed was treading a fine moral line.
A recent study found that over 80% of employers use social media profiles to screen job applicants. From the photos posted of you on Facebook to the drunken tweets directed at your ex, everything is available to employers. Google’s Eric Schmidt warned in 2010 that the young today will need to change their names to escape their ‘cyber past’ – a factor particularly relevant when trying to gain employment.
For individuals, social networks definitely represent a risk as your character can be judged before you have even had an opportunity to speak. Gary Chapman warned that “there is a huge risk to people allowing too much information out into the world wide web, because once it is out there, you can’t get that back.”
Lawrence Jones, Managing Director at UKFast, is one business owner who does not think social media profiling is the way forward when recruiting. “We have interviewed over 60 people in the past month and have seen hundreds more CV’s. If we were to dig into the social media profiles of all of these people, I would need to hire a team of 10 recruiters. By sticking to traditional methods including telephone interviews and online personality profiles for all interviewees, we not only save time, we also save money. Our success in finding the right people for the team is reflected in the growth of UKFast.”
The overriding message from the experts was that there is without doubt a role for social media in recruitment. However, it is important for small businesses in particular not to jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it.