Today's guest blog post is submitted by our board member, John Hollon, Vice President for Editorial of  In a dramatic recent example of candidate sourcing via social media channels, Charlie Sheen sent out a tweet to get a social media intern and within 24 hours had 90,000 applications.  On a more serious note, per John's post, social media recruiting is fast becoming a channel of choice for effective passive recruiting.  Read on...

If you're one of those people who still have concerns about using social media to source job candidates, well, maybe it's time to rethink that a bit.

That's because according to a new survey this month from the Society for Human Resource Management, more than half of HR professionals (56 percent) now say that they use social networking websites to source potential job candidates, a substantial increase from the 34 percent who said they used social media for sourcing back in 2008.

The SHRM poll (SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Networking Websites and Staffing , which was released at SHRM's 2011 Talent and Staffing Management Conference in San Diego), also found that not only are more employers using social networking websites to find new employees, but that the 20 percent of organizations not currently using the sites are much more open to utilizing them in the future.

And here's a telling statistic: Only 21 percent of the HR pros surveyed said that they currently do not use social networking sites and have no plans to do so in the future, down from 45 percent in 2008.

So, what are we to make of this increase in social media in HR candidate sourcing? Mainly, that social media is becoming the HR tool of choice to search for passive job candidates who might be willing to change jobs but aren't actively right now.

“Employers are increasingly using social networking sites to engage passive job seekers - those who aren't really actively seeking new jobs, but might change for the right opportunity,” said Mark J. Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, director of research at SHRM.

He added: “These sites can be valuable tools for organizations to find prospective employees with the specific skill sets and experience that they might not necessarily find through more traditional recruiting methods. (Our) poll found that organizations using social networking sites to recruit job applicants are using the sites most in the recruitment of employees for non-managerial salaried positions and managerial-level jobs, like directors and managers.”

The SHRM poll also found that the top reasons employers use social networking websites to identify applicants:
* 84 percent say it is to source passive job candidates who might not otherwise apply for open jobs or be contacted by the organizations' recruiters;
* 67 percent say it is to use a less expensive method than other ways of recruiting job candidates (67 percent); and
* 60 percent say it is to increase employer brand and recognition

Not surprisingly, most organizations (95 percent) use LinkedIn to source candidates. Other HR pros say they use Facebook (58 percent), Twitter (42 percent) and professional or association social networking sites (23 percent).

The bottom line here is pretty clear: if you aren't using social networking in your recruiting and sourcing process, you are going to get left behind - because most everyone else is already.

As the economy recovers over the next year, organizations will need to focus more on strategies to retain valued employees.  Many published surveys during the past 18 months have revealed that employees have been protecting their job security at all costs - even if they weren't feeling particularly fulfilled or engaged at work.  As demand for talent begins to increase again, employee retention will begin to surface again as a key HR priority.

Companies need to fine tune both their retention and sourcing strategies if they wish to remain competitive.  Not only HR, but all organization leaders need to practice the basics of employee retention - pay attention, provide people with opportunities to expand their skills and say thank you for a job well done.

Smart recruiters need to be savvy users of social media, sourcing candidates from LinkedIn, Twitter and other public sources of passive candidate information.  Even if your recruiters aren't leveraging these tools to find great candidates for your organization, you can be sure that your best employees are starting to hear from those who are.  Here at Kronos, our recruiting team has had excellent success finding great candidates via social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Click below to listen to my interview with Ed Nathanson, a senior manager in our talent acquisition group.

nathanson podcast 7.2010

Are you using social media channels to find candidates - or to find a new job yourself?

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