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Is Social Media The Answer To Small Business Recruitment Woes?

Working as an HR and recruitment consultant, I can tell you from firsthand experience that summer is certainly the most popular time of year for small businesses to begin thinking about expanding their in-house team. It’s also the busiest time of year so far as new applicants and recent graduates are concerned. At first glance, this might seem like an ideal situation but the truth is that many of the small businesses that want to recruit during this busy period struggle with recruitment woes. Partially, I think they struggle because they’re up against some seriously stiff competition in the form of larger and more established businesses that can offer better packages with more robust bonuses but, in all honesty, I think that their methods are often to blame too – Many, for obvious reasons, choose to forgo the services of traditional recruitment services, and opt instead for mass-posting on job boards like indeed or

Unfortunately, these job boards actually have very, very low visibility amongst recent graduates, particularly those that haven’t seriously geared up their job-search yet, and are not actively pursuing every lead that they encounter. Job boards are passive too – you post your position and you…wait, for ages, without being able to take action or actively pursue promising leads.

What’s the Solution?

So what’s the solution? It’s tempting to give in to my own personal bias and say hire the recruitment firm anyway, but that’s actually not the right answer 9 times out of 10. For a lot of small businesses, the best way to find potential recruits is to actually get up, and go to wherever they’re hanging out. I don’t mean literally of course; I’m making reference to online hangouts like Linkedin, Twitter and even Facebook.

Beginning your job search on social media sites like these carries a whole range of benefits; firstly, the costs are minimal, with sponsored ads often adding up to a fraction of the cost of more traditional recruitment services.

secondly, your practically guaranteeing that the right people are actually going to see your posts, particularly if you used highly targeted advertising on a service like Facebook, which allows you to refine right down to the age group and social demographic that you want to see your listing.

Thirdly, your engaging people in a space where they generally go to relax, communicate or unwind, which means you’ll be reaching them at their most unguarded. There’s no shortage of studies showing that people are most receptive to new opportunities or ideas when they’re relaxed, rather than actively engaged in a specific activity, so by reaching out over social media yoll run an increased chance of snaring potential candidates that were initially looking for a slightly different role, or that might have been persuaded to go with the bigger and more impressive industry on a traditional job board.

Fourthly, you’ll be afforded the opportunity to be as proactive as you like. On Linkedin especially, you don’t just have to sit there and watch people viewing your application – you can actually message applicants that you think might fit the bill, and will be afforded the opportunity to view people who have previously looked at your listing, which means that you can track them down, and enquire about what they did or didn’t like about your offer.

Beating Your Competitors

Using social media to advertise your job also means that you’re much more likely to reach prospective employees before they even start looking on job boards for new roles too, meaning that you’ll be practically pipping your competitors at the post…

Of course, it’s not all gravy – some candidates can see advertising on social media as invasive, and the adverts or listings have a criminally low click through rate in most instances (I consider a 0.4% click-through rate promising). There’s also the risk that you’ll focus all of your energy on social media and neglect other equally productive strategies, such as career fairs or local events.

that said, it does often offer small business owners a significantly better return on investment than most run-of-the-mill job boards, so if you are starting to find that your summer recruitment drive is flagging at the gates, it might be something to consider experimenting with, particularly if you’re eager for a recent graduate or young professional to bolster your team. If you’re new to the world of social media, it might also be worth contacting a small recruitment agency for some consultation or training – I know that quite a few of the agencies here in the UK, including Blue Octocpus and Fairmans Ltd, will provide one-off advice to small business owners fro significantly less than they’d charge to fill a position, and if you’ve no idea how to setup a facebook ad, a service like this may well be a good way to get started.

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