The DWP survey of 200 employers, carried out in association with recruitment firm Harvey Nash, found fewer than 25% of businesses regularly used websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook as part of their recruitment process.
However, the poll suggested that firms were waking up to the growing relevance of social media for sourcing new skills. While just 15% were worried about missing new recruits by not using sites like Twitter, 44% predicted that social networking would become more important in the future.
“Using social networking is an effective and economical way to source new talent, especially for smaller firms,”
said a DWP spokeswoman.
“Most firms see this new avenue for recruitment becoming more influential – and it’s free.
“Jobseekers who use social media to find work have already demonstrated a level of tenacity and creativity that would add value to any business.”
According to Lucy Whittington, director of web marketing consultancy Inspired Business Marketing, to get the best results from social networking sites when recruiting, firms should ideally have a social media profile for potential candidates to view.
“Social media sites can be a great way to either communicate to a targeted group of people, who are linked to your industry or interested in your business, or to reach out to a wider audience,” she said.
“LinkedIn is probably one of the more useful sites for employers, as you can look at people’s CVs, search for specific keywords related to your industry, or post up vacancies within specific interest groups which can then be passed on to others in the community,” added Whittington.
However, Whittington pointed out that employers needed to remember that social media is a two-way process.
“Businesses need to be aware that the first thing new recruits will do is look at your own profile. Equally, there’s nothing to stop you looking them up on Facebook or Twitter to get a better idea of who they are out of ‘work time’.”
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