Europe out-tweets US in social media usage for recruitment

By Turlach McAlister, director with Clarion Resourcing

The message is clear: if you want to source your next job role, you might just find out about it on Twitter.

According to the latest results from leading recruitment software vendor, Bullhorn’s ‘European Staffing and Recruitment Trends Report’ for 2013, Europe dominates the US when it comes to using Twitter for recruitment, with 70.8 per cent usage in Europe compared to 48.8 per cent in North America.

It’s usually a case of Europe playing catch up on the US when it comes to all things tech.  But in this case, there has been an explosion in the popularity of Twitter which has outpaced anything seen in the US.   Twitter usage in Europe among recruitment consultants has risen from 49 per cent in 2011 to over 70 per cent in 2012.

Facebook usage has remained stable from 2011 to 2012, with under half or 49 per cent using this tool for recruitment but it’s interesting to note a drop in usage for Google+ from 20.4 per cent in 2011 to 16.3 per cent in 2012.

However, usage is one measure of success and effectiveness is another.  Just 20 per cent of respondents placed candidates they found on Twitter.  Compare that to 94 per cent of recruitment professionals who sourced candidates from LinkedIn.

At Clarion Resourcing, we use a variety of social media tools to communicate with both clients and candidates:  LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and good old-fashioned email.  And while social media tools are growing in popularity, a word of warning: not all live up to the hype.

LinkedIn is a case in point.  There’s no doubt that it casts a wide net in terms of exposing your vacancy to the largest possible audience at a very cost-effective price.  But client feedback we’ve received suggests that the cost / benefit payoff of using LinkedIn instead of an agency is not there for specialised roles.  Employers, who decide to manage the recruitment process directly, often tell us that the screening process, driven by the sheer volume of candidates represents a huge overhead and one that very often overwhelms their HR department.  In addition, LinkedIn by its nature will generate a large number of unsuitable applications from places like India and China and while the gross numbers are fantastic, the actual number of quality candidates is minute.

Not having a value-adding third party to perform this essential first step means that organisations have to gear up their internal HR department to deal with this high volume of candidates, the majority of which are not a good fit for the particular vacancy.

While internal recruiters are often experts on the organisation and cultural requirements of the company, they cannot be subject matter experts on all the various skills and competencies required.  That’s where the value-add of the trusted resourcing partner comes into play.   Working with an agency that understands the industry background, experience, certifications and knowledge of candidates can significantly reduce the volume of unsuitable candidates; reducing the effort required on the internal recruiters while increasing the quality of the candidates that are considered.    Knowing that the agency has addressed the competency side of the candidate allows the internal recruiter to concentrate on the cultural aspects.

From a candidate’s point of view, tools such as LinkedIn don’t communicate the valuable intelligence which a professional recruiter (who often has a close relationship with employer) can add to the role – information in relation to organisational culture, the responsibilities of the role and most importantly, the prospects of a contract extension, if the role is fixed term in duration.

In a blog like this we can’t emphasise enough the importance of close contact with candidates; knowing them and understanding them.  We see the various forms of social media as a good way of reaching out to new candidates but it’s another communication tool rather than a quantum leap in the recruitment process for clients. The agency’s ability to get to know and understand a candidate’s abilities and aspirations can’t be replicated.

At a time when social media is experiencing such a surge in popularity, it’s ironic to see that most candidates still prefer to find their next career role through a recruitment consultancy.    And while they may become aware of the opening through a social media channel, they will ultimately pursue it through a recruitment agency in the majority of cases.

This is a process we would strongly advocate, as the most successful both for employers and potential employees.

Our research into the IT and project management employment market  recently revealed that three quarters of respondents conduct the recruitment process using a combination of direct and agency approach.  Just 18 per cent prefer the direct model exclusively.

Our experience of social media is mixed and I remain to be convinced of the merits of the LinkedIn paid accounts.  In the heel of the hunt, more than 95 per cent of people we’ve placed have come from Irish Jobs’ sourced candidates / Jobserve and/or candidates known to someone in the business rather than from LinkedIn.

At Clarion Resourcing, we will continue to use Twitter and other social media tools to help employers find the right people at the right time, first time.

And in keeping on trend and on message, you can catch up on Clarion Resourcing’s latest job opportunities and other industry news by following us on @clarionpeople


On February 27th, 2013, posted in: Blog by


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