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  At a breakfast seminar held by WCN, the leading UK and global e-Recruitment software provider, Civil Service Fast Stream, Engineer Graduates, Works4 Labs, Credit Suisse and Deloitte all agreed social media is increasingly critical to graduate recruitment but admitted it presents some major challenges.

When presenting at the event, Phil Wilson, Chief Assessor and Chief Psychologist at Civil Service Fast Stream, remarked: “One in six job seekers credits social media with their current job and 40 per cent of job seekers credit a referral from a personal contact, or an online social media network.”

Over 30 major organisations including HMRC, GlaxoSmithKline, and Siemens, gathered to hear the speakers. During the interactive session it soon emerged that most of these corporations were facing similar problems with their social media:

1. Resource: Do we have enough time within the team to respond to all these postings? 2. Momentum: Once the job role is filled, how do you keep your followers entertained? 3. Which One: Which social media platform is right for me? 4. Reputation: Maintaining the company’s corporate voice and ethos Although resource remained a problem, this was over shadowed by the fact social media is free and offers a return on investment that is greater than any conventional recruitment method.

Carl Dawson, Programmes Director at Engineer Graduates, used the example of telephone interviewing. “Social media amplifies graduate recruitment”, he states, “Telephone interviewing draws on a lot of resource, but running a similar process via social media where a candidate can answer questions and record an audiovisual to send back is quick and easy.

“Companies will save on telephone bills and employee time; better candidate experience will be achieved, as they are able to answer the questions at a time most suitable to them and staff morale increases as they won’t experience a ‘no show’ interview.”

Selina Suresh, Marketing Manager at Civil Service Fast Stream, said: “We launched our Facebook page in September 2011 at no cost other than time and it portrayed the Civil Service as an accessible, modern and credible employer.

“It is no longer enough to be seen on social networks pushing out content; it is about engaging with the widest pool of talent with real and relevant content.”

Civil Service Fast Stream have moderators who personally encourage, advise and support prospective applicants through the different phases, as well as running live chats with Assessors, the Head of Civil Service and the Cabinet Secretary to generated more engaged traffic.

With one in seven minutes on internet usage spent on Facebook, there was a general consensus that this was the place to be for graduate recruitment.

Paul Connolly, Strategic Account Director at Work4 Labs, mentioned that 80 per cent of social media users prefer to connect with brands and companies through Facebook. He talked about targeting Facebook to optimise graduate recruitment and sighted L’Oreal as the example.

Paul explains: “L’Oréal posted the internship description to their global recruitment Page on Facebook using the Work for Us app. It generated 5.88 million impressions and L’Oreal received 158 applications from graduates with the right criteria.”

Civil Service Fast Stream stated they used twitter to proactively get messages out there, YouTube to post videos of hints and tips for candidates in the process.

Laetitia Craig, Securities Recruiting EMEA at Credit Suisse, had a particular use for LinkedIn, she remarked: “Candidates who get through to the interview stage are invited to join the LinkedIn group, this provides the candidate with a sense of membership and gives you a database full of potential employees.”

The seminar also examined the challenge of protecting the employer brand on social media. The consensus was that it takes years to build a good reputation, but seconds to damage it beyond repair. To maintain it on social media, make sure a ‘corporate social media voice’ is drawn up, so all those involved are ‘on the same page’. Plus, whoever you put in the social media field needs to have an impeccable sense of decorum, an ability to edit oneself and an aptitude for anticipating potential ‘landmines’. The speaker line-up included: Selina Suresh, Marketing Manager and Phil Wilson, Fast Stream Chief Assessor & Chief Psychologist at CS Fast Stream, Rob Fryer, Head of Graduate Recruitment at Deloitte. Paul Connolly,Strategic Account Director at Work4 Labs, Laetitia Craig, Securities Recruiting EMEA at Credit Suisse and Carl Dawson, Programmes Director at Engineer Graduates.

For the full report please email Ruth Ferguson on [email protected]

 
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