Technological innovation is prompting some companies to revise their recruitment strategies, exploiting avenues like social media and mobile apps to make sure they are reaching the right prospects. And in some cases, social recruitment is almost exclusively the way companies look to fill vacancies.
That's the case at Data Inc., a Montvale-based IT software and services provider. Peruse the company's Facebook page and Twitter account, and you're more likely to find ads searching for systems analysts and software developers than standard commercial use of social media.
"Branding ourselves in social media and exposing our job opportunities is an important part of our business strategy," Data Inc. marketing manager George Nikanorov said. "We're positioning ourselves on the premise that people want to use technology. We're trying to rise above the crowd."
Nikanorov said social media helps the company draw talent from a wider pool than strictly conventional methods, something critical for a software company like itself that is trying to locate candidates that fit a narrowly tailored, high-skill set. Data Inc. has more than 2,000 followers across several networks, which Nikanorov said has resulted in an increase in applicants.
"By expanding our network of connections, we are able to find those hard-to-find individuals for opportunities," Nikanorov said.
Gayle Porter, a professor of management at Rutgers–Camden, said traditional methods of job advertising generally are less effective for filling vacancies than networking and personal contacts. She said she is not surprised to see companies work with social media, which bridges those worlds.
"It's close to a job ad, but it's being done through an electronic network," Porter said.
Porter says relying heavily on traditional outlets can cause a company to miss out on some of the talent pool. Conversely, Porter said, companies exploring new avenues must be careful not to omit potential applicants who are not active on social media.
"The important thing for organizations to recruit is to determine who they are looking for and what skill sets and making sure they are posting on the right outlets," Porter said.
For its part, Data Inc. says it is still entrenched in more conventional job recruiting avenues, such as posting vacancies on online job boards, participating in career fairs and networking events and even print advertising. Social media job ads, though, are "a core piece of our strategy," Nikanorov said. "It's a big piece, not the whole piece."
Using social media also requires readiness to adapt because its landscape, like most technologies, evolves so quickly, Portal said. She referred to the prospect of younger users fleeing Facebook once their parents become involved in the social network.
"It could be different a year from now because the technology is changing so rapidly," Porter said.
Data Inc. says it's staying atop trends by developing a mobile marketing strategy, including creating an app to allow job seekers to apply and submit their information from a smartphone or tablet.
Donna Levan, director of technology and entrepreneurship at the New Jersey Technology Council, said mobile recruiting, though in its infancy, is taking root. She says future trends will be driven by necessity: Technology research firm IDC has predicted that by 2014, more U.S. consumers will access the Internet through mobile devices than personal computers.
Companies are still adjusting their recruitment strategies. A study released in January by iMomentous, which helps companies recruit talent through mobile methods, found a third of Fortune 500 companies had mobile-optimized career sites allowing candidates to easily apply for a vacancy from a smartphone. That figure was 13 percent in July 2012.
Levan expects more companies to catch up in the coming years.
"Mobile apps is a piece that has not taken off as fast," Levan said. "But it's coming. As companies expand those platforms, they are moving toward that. It's not there yet, but it's a trend."
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