16 August 2018 14:24:58 IST

Head – Talent Acquisition, The Adecco Group India

Changes in talent acquisition with the advent of social media

With rising demand for fresh but scarce talent, recruiters are leveraging digital platforms

Social networking, as a phenomenon, is far more than a medium to disseminate news, share posts or keep people connected. Apart from serving as a platform for the exchange of opinion on issues significant and otherwise, it has also now become a useful assessment tool for the recruitment industry.

The pursuit of talent has assumed epic proportions, given the compulsions of robust competition amid a dire shortage of skills, the demands of advanced technologies, demographic shifts and evolving dynamics surrounding the nature of work. All too aware that millennials comprise the largest segment in the workforce, businesses are leveraging social media and digital platforms to meet future employees in their own habitat: the online domain.

It may not be far-fetched to infer that, by 2020, most recruiting will be done via apps on smartphones. Candidates will increasingly rely on social networks, career sites, job boards and outreach, to identify career opportunities, gain insights into a company’s employment model, evaluate promised benefits and assess the prevailing culture. Applicants go through the entire process, consistently enhancing their skill-sets to retain a competitive edge.

A recent study conducted by LinkedIn in India revealed that one million people enter the job market every month and that the country has the highest percentage of the workforce that is ‘actively seeking a new job’. This is because we have the largest population of youth in the world; around 600 million, or more than half of the population, is below 25 years of age. Consequently, India is likely to have the largest workforce in the world by 2027. Thus, recruiters face considerable pressure in attracting and retaining top talent while job-seekers are compelled to strive harder for that dream job.

Role reversal

Online platforms — most notably, LinkedIn — play a huge role in shaping the way organisations communicate with and attract candidates as much as clients. A complete role reversal has happened between recruiters and candidates. Recruiters are now engaging and socialising with candidates across online communities in prospecting for talent; whereas, in the past, it was always the candidates who vied desperately with one another to catch the attention of recruiters.

Research shows that more than 65 per cent of millennials and Gen Z communicate more with one another through digital media than personally, and an increasing number of candidates actively search for jobs using social media contacts; hence, it is no surprise that this is where recruiters are hanging out too. This visible shift not only allows recruiters to locate people looking for jobs, but also enables people not actively looking for employment to get to know of attractive job opportunities.

Favourable image

Social recruitment is an opportunity for businesses to project a favourable public image. Digital content that projects an image of the company as a ‘great place to work in’ is sure to attract talent. A job-seeker will invariably check a company’s Facebook page to ascertain the credibility of the content and the work culture it portrays.

Tools such as Snapchat and Instagram lend recruiters the power to attract talented millennials who are seeking a positive work culture by allowing them to do more than post a job advertisement and market their unique business persona. The convenience and swiftness of such a recruiting model only adds to its growing popularity.

If, as a recruiter, you’re not using social media in your hiring process, you’re in a minority. An increasing number of employers now use social media to screen potential hires. And a sizeable majority of millennials are influenced in their choice of preferred workplace by a company's social media presence.

While some organisations are not fully tuned into tapping social media and may only use it in a cursory manner, others have learnt to leverage it with strategic purpose. Consistent engagement is critical. Many companies use Facebook to showcase their culture, Twitter to educate or share updates, and LinkedIn to share company achievements. LinkedIn Video is an upcoming tool that has huge potential too.

Some companies even use Snapchat Geofilters during events, where employees and clients come together. Instagram enables companies to brand and distinguish themselves as employers. Opening company pages on social media offers up a variety of options when it comes to recruitment. The lean season can be used to aggregate and engage the audience by posting interesting content, articles, testimonials and company documents that will draw interest.

Once recruitment season starts, the pool of people that have started following the company’s social media pages can be tapped for talent. Regular scouting is a great opportunity to consistently garner prospects, even potential ones, regardless of an existing need for new employees.


Talent acquisition teams are always looking to hire the best people, and are now competing on new ground; a field where social media and global talent networks define employment brands and change how candidates look at their careers. Companies are revamping their talent sourcing strategies and social media is going to play a huge role in this.

Faced with the scarcity of key skills and ever rising demand for fresh talent, organisation that fail to acclimatise and adapt will most likely be at the losing end of the bargain when it comes to engaging the ideal skills and people. A crucial revolution is taking place in this area and organisations must modify, and reinvest in, their end-to-end talent acquisition programmes. Social media will play a key role in this revolution.

(The author is the Head - Talent Acquisition, The Adecco Group India.)