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Gaining Ground with Social Media in the Talent War

By David Lahey, VP of International at Jobvite

By David Lahey, VP of International at Jobvite

Friendly competition has always played an integral part in the relationship between the US and the UK. The transatlantic cousins are always looking to get one-up on the other and the recruitment industry is no exception. This ranges all the way from developing methods of recruitment to onboarding the best possible talent. After all, competition breeds excellence.

This mantra is especially true in the modern world. Recruitment is undergoing a sea change where there is even more competition to hire highly skilled and talented workers. This is vital, as the ability to attract the best candidates translates directly into business growth.

Currently, there can be little debate that the US has the edge in terms of recruitment strategy, and use of technology is playing a key role in its success. And, at least partially, this comes down to the use of technology. According to the findings from Jobvite’s 2015 UK Social Media Recruitment Survey, 60% of UK recruiters don’t currently use social media as part of their recruiting strategy, compared to just 4% of their US counterparts not doing so.

The differences do not stop there. Methods and recruitment techniques vary across the board, from candidate evaluation to the ways recruiters use technology. These variances show how advanced the US market is, but should not be seen as the UK being left behind. Rather, it must be viewed as an opportunity.

If UK recruiters look to their counterparts from across the pond, they can quickly catch-up. They can learn from the mistakes US recruitment professionals made and adopt best practices quickly and efficiently. This will lead to savvy UK recruiters gaining an edge over their competitors and getting a head start in the race for the best talent.

Brace Yourselves – the Talent War is Growing Even Larger

For UK recruiters, the opportunity to take on board best practice advice cannot have better timing. There is a general consensus amongst UK recruiters that competition to attract the best and brightest talent is becoming increasingly fierce. In fact, 86% of UK recruiters anticipate that the job market will become more competitive or remain the same, compared to the slightly higher US figure of 96%.

The key consequence of competing in this limited talent pool is a push from the board to snap up top candidates. Nearly half (49%) of UK recruiters already feel pressure to hire the right candidates faster. Of course, once recruiters have found the right candidate, one of the key ways to keep them engaged is to decrease the time-to-hire. In the US, 41% of recruiters hire candidates within 31-60 days, compared to just 35% in the UK. So how can recruiters find the right talent faster?

Review your Recruitment Investment

Despite an increasingly strained job market, investment in the tools and resources that facilitate recruitment is surprisingly hit-and-miss in the UK. One way this could be remedied is by following the US model and investing more in mobile career websites, social media recruiting, job boards, and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). A multi-faceted approach through the implementation of these tools would make it significantly easier to identify candidates and fill talent pipelines, all contributing to reduce time-to-hire.

There is clear scope for UK recruiters to increase investment levels in these platforms and technologies – currently, 60% of companies spend below £1,000 per year on online/social recruiting. In the vast majority of cases, this is due to heavy reliance on external agencies for recruitment. On the other hand, spending on outside agencies in the US is tapering off. Investment by UK recruiters in in-house solutions rather than spend with agencies would serve the dual purpose of freeing up additional budget for social recruiting investment, and dramatically reducing the cost-per-hire. Not to mention, it is proven that employees that come through referral programmes, something that social media recruiting enables, are likely to be a better cultural fit and stay longer with companies.

Technology Matters

It is clear that recruitment strategy in the US (reinvesting agency fees in technology and social media) is working for many businesses. This is because investment in technology allows for a range of benefits to be realised. The most frequently cited benefits are the ability to hire candidates faster, quicker reporting and a better candidate experience.

In addition, a stronger focus on a company’s online presence translates to increased employer brand awareness across platforms. This in itself is attractive to candidates during job searches, as the high quality candidates who possess the digital skills that companies desire are also looking for evidence that companies are forward-thinking and tech savvy.

Whilst it is clear that the UK recruitment industry has some catching up to do with the US, this must be viewed as an opportunity rather than a disadvantage. Observing the trends that have been successfully implemented and emulating, or even surpassing them, should be the focus for companies looking to ensure that their talent pipeline remains full. Recruitment is changing around us and you must adapt or depart.