Social Recruiting Trends in 2012

This year will bring about radical changes in social recruiting. New application capabilities promise to engage audiences on a large scale, make social recruiting easy and efficient, and close the gap between the recruiting power of smaller and larger companies, resulting in richer and more personalized communication between recruiters with prospective candidates.

1. Referral Hiring Goes Mainstream

Social media has laid the foundation for scalable referral hiring. Since the first social media savvy companies embraced referral-hiring applications not that long ago, technology has matured significantly and is delivering considerable benefits. Employers now leverage all of their employees across all social media by automatically targeting candidates in employee referral networks, tracking referrals, and rewarding employees with referral bonuses. The process is remarkably easy for employees, while successfully grants recruiters access to massive talent pools. If we assume that a typical person has 150 friends in their networks, then every 100 employees is connected to 15,000 first-degree friends and 2,250,000 second-degree friends. In 2012, we will see both large and small companies enabling employees to refer the best and the brightest to their teams.

2. Recruitment Marketing for Everyone

Social networks created a powerful new approach to recruiting that is accessible to employers of any size. Managing attractive career pages and creating rich, dynamic content requires a relatively minor investment of time and resources. Small companies can successfully attract large followings on Facebook and Twitter simply by sharing interesting and authentic content. It’s easier than ever to create engaging, career-focused content by embedding videos, posting company photos and blog articles, and sharing company career events. Personalize descriptions of job openings with individual recruiters’ names, pictures and social media profiles to enable them to grow their networks and create a superior experience for potential employees. We will see a growing number of small companies managing sizeable talent communities on major social networks and utilizing a variety of innovative recruitment marketing approaches.

3. Facebook Takes Center Stage

With billions of dollars from their expected IPO, Facebook will accelerate their growth and approach 1 billion users by the end of 2012. In terms of recruitment, Facebook already delivers a talent pool five times bigger than LinkedIn’s. It’s used by over 9 million companies and users of all age groups and professions, and boasts the highest rate of engagement. This year, Facebook Timeline, which displays up-to-date professional and personal information, in addition to friends, subscribers, photos and videos, will become the online profile choice for many. (Check out the Timeline of Marc Benioff CEO of Salesforce.) Employers will bolster recruitment efforts on company pages and empower recruiters and employees with professional recruiting applications. Career-focused content will be optimized for social media, promoting user engagement and triggering viral distribution beyond first-degree friends. Companies will increasingly leverage interactive videos and cultivate relationships with candidates through real-time conversations with recruiters.

4. Google+, Make it or Break it

Launched only a few months ago, Google+ is the fastest-growing social network in history, amassing nearly 60 million users in record time. Google+ enables users to easily maintain both their personal and professional lives in one place. The simple interface and continually growing community will attract a large number of recruiters and company pages. Combined with its unique Hangout and Circles features, Google+ will present serious competition for Facebook. The Hangout feature taps into the already growing trend towards video interviewing remote candidates, while Circles allows recruiters to message specific influencers and candidates. From one page, companies can selectively ask alumni for referrals, invite local candidates to career events and publish internal job openings only to current employees. Relevant content greatly enhances user experience. If Google+ grows to 400 million users by the end of 2012, it has a decent shot at becoming the dominant social network.

5. Richer Twitter

Twitter has experienced enormous growth in terms of features, user numbers and revenue. The platform recently introduced brand pages, which will likely adopt most features available on Facebook pages. The ‘Who to Follow’ and the new #Discover features will become the prevailing tools for growing your follower base and increasing employment brand visibility. For instance, when a user connects to a company career account, Who to Follow automatically suggests other career-focused or recruiter accounts. Tweet interesting, media-rich content, and users will effortlessly find you with the #Discover feature. Companies will focus on increasing the discoverability of their Twitter accounts by tweeting social media optimized job postings, videos, photos and engaging stories, actively engaging in conversations with followers, and utilizing the @Mention feature and popular hashtags.

6. LinkedIn Gains Some, Loses Some

It has been a big year for LinkedIn— a successful IPO, double last year’s traffic, and a user base that’s grown to 135 million. Companies will continue to step away from traditional job boards that have higher price tags, but offer fewer and fewer advantages to LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn will face increased competition from Facebook and Google+. Facebook, in particular, is currently used by more businesses than LinkedIn. LinkedIn will add new features to its company pages to catch up with other networks, introduce richer profiles and add features that will improve engagement. If all goes well, there will be more profiles and activity on LinkedIn. If not, we will be seeing more corporate “About Us” pages like Pinterest’s, in which team members show their Facebook Timelines and Twitter profiles – but no LinkedIn profiles.

All in all, 2012 will see substantial developments in social media that will continue to encourage application-based recruitment and referral hiring, and promote personalized, widespread engagement between employers and the largest possible talent pool.