Social Media and Employment

Written on August 21, 2014

By Suzanne Whitmarsh and Andrew Thoseby: 

In April, the United States saw applications for unemployment benefits fall to 6.3 percent. There is no doubt that social media has played a major role during these tough times –outing bad business or management practices through stream of consciousness venting. Businesses have enlisted their Human Resources departments to ensure employees understand statements about an employer could result in disciplinary processes. Strategic businesses are also using the medium to lure potential employees to their company.

The internet is just one “big data” list of potential employees. Social media platforms are the windows through which they can be viewed. If the strategic and creative thinking is right – social sourcing can pay dividends.

A trucking company in Australia is an example of a company who used social media to its advantage. The company opened a flight base in Brisbane, Australia and needed 50 cabin crew members. The transport company struggled to find longer-term drivers due to the facility’s remote location. The company used YouTube to post lifestyle videos about the bases location and to promote the businesses family values platform. After the YouTube campaign was launched, the company found wives who previously balked at the idea of leaving the city for the country followed up on their husband’s applications.

There are a few simple questions that need to be considered before rolling headlong into social media:

1.            What is the real business problem? The trucking company met a communications challenge by using YouTube.

2.            What is the best vehicle to solve the problem? Video tells the best story, but often Twitter and Facebook content will be shared faster.

3.            Can we cope with the response? In simple terms, if we are using social technology, we need a “back office” that can cope – quantitatively or qualitatively as appropriate.

4.            Is this a one- time event or do we need social media to be part of our ongoing strategy?

The hype about social media and recruiting has created everything from raving fans to gibbering wrecks. Social media needs to be considered as just another tool. Its effectiveness should be considered on a case by case basis.

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