Earlier in June this year, fast food giant McDonald’s announced plans to hire around 25 lakh employees during summer in the US, using Snapchat to lure in millennials. Users would encounter 10-second video ads featuring employees talking about their experiences with the company. They could swipe up on the screen to visit McDonald’s’ career page within Snapchat, to apply for jobs at a local outlet. In fact in 2014, HCL Technologies went all out on social media recruitment through a global Twitter recruitment campaign, #CoolestInterviewEver. It conducted a series of interviews on Twitter and offered the candidate a chance to work on a year-long strategic project with the company’s top management. Yes, social hiring is the ‘in-thing’. In India, companies are using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to check candidate background, engage with them, analyse their activities and find the right role for them. For example, PepsiCo India’s Change the Game campaign in 2016 saw over 1,700 registrations through social media platforms. The challenges saw participants go all out, from being creative with selfies to designing a product/service around health and nutrition. Some winners got a chance to work at PepsiCo, while others partnered to turn their ideas into reality.
“Social media helps companies like ours to reach out to the masses, more importantly, the tech-savvy young generation, and tap into the right talent,” shares Pavitra Singh, director, talent acquisition and global campus, PepsiCo India. The influence of technology on the recruitment process has been around for quite some time now. Job-board sites have revolutionised recruitment over the last 15 years. “Today, this balance is tilted towards social hiring and increasingly, organisations are equipping their recruiters and talent acquisition teams to leverage social media for their talent needs,” says Paul Dupuis, MD and CEO, Randstad India.
Platform of choice
Companies today are mindful that the right talent is not always found through traditional sources of hiring. “And most recently, with professional social networks like LinkedIn, it has never been easier to identify potential candidates,” says Ira Gupta, head, HR, Microsoft India. According to the Randstad Employer Brand Research, there has been a major shift in how people search for jobs and social/professional networks are emerging as the most popular channels for job seekers today. The survey reveals that half of job seekers worldwide use social media networks to find a job; 56% prefer Facebook, 38% use Google Plus and 34% pick LinkedIn. In India, 66% job seekers use social networking sites with Facebook topping the list, followed by LinkedIn.
“We have hired candidates in marketing, digital and commercial positions on LinkedIn,” Roshni Wadhwa, director — HR, L’Oréal India mentions. Companies like Godrej Properties also use the platform for employer branding and showcase its practices and culture through articles on industry-related topics etc. Ruhie Pande, chief HR officer, Godrej Properties adds, “We also focus on platforms like WhatsApp where alumni networks, etc can connect.” While LinkedIn plays a professional role and testimonials are useful in analysing the candidate’s past experience, Facebook and Instagram allow an insight into the work-life balance of the candidate, helping gauge their interests, hobbies and even their ability to narrate engaging stories through their visuals. Everybody loves a social media friendly candidate these days. Sandeep Kohli, talent leader at EY mentions that almost 7% of recruitment at EY is done via social media. “Our Facebook page has over two lakh followers and I think it is a great way to engage with millennials. LinkedIn helps us reach out to a wide range of talent that is not limited to the contacts which recruiters or placement agencies have.”
Tapping into people power
While 25-30% of PepsiCo’s recruitments in 2014 were through agency partners, it came down to 3% in 2015 and 2% in 2016. “As of 2017, with no recruitment done through agencies, we are relying heavily on social media and digital; 90% of our hiring is through social media and digital, and we have been finding the right talent across verticals. The remaining is through referrals,” asserts Singh. In 2016, more than 63% recruitments across start-ups, marketing firms, agencies and entry/ mid-level openings in MNCs were driven digitally, highlights Zafar Rais, CEO, Mindshift Interactive. “We have leveraged the usage of video interviews, interaction via Snapchat for shortlisting candidates and managed virtual campus placements with institutes via Skype and WhatsApp interviews.”
In fact, Godrej Properties engages with students through its campus Facebook page, wherein it organises quizzes and contests for students to help them understand the company better and gain eyeballs, besides learning about business updates. Around 4% of its employees have been hired from social media platforms in the last six months. Microsoft has a campus programme to hire early in career talent, besides on-boarding programs such as MACH, Learning Engineering Accelerated Program (LEAP) and The Foundry which help college hires bridge the gap between university and the role they play at Microsoft. Wadhwa states that at L’Oréal, a minimum of 40% of total hires are from direct applications, job boards, LinkedIn and the company website. “At a global level, we are piloting video-based recruiting platforms HireVue and Seedlink which use AI technology for recruiting on mobile,” she says.
Cracking the code
Pande mentions that while social media is a very proactive method of recruitment, it might not be the only lever to tap the talent. “We have to work strategically to build a proposition to connect them with Godrej Properties as users are not actively applying through these platforms. Since the hit rate is not very high, you have to pursue them for a while,” she claims. As a relatively new tool for recruiting, social media holds a few blind spots in terms of legal pitfalls. The paranoia of being checked out on a social media platform before being hired has also made millennials extremely cautious about what they share or whom they interact with publicly, in the name of keeping a clean, recruitment friendly profile.
While the general belief is that mid- and senior-level professionals do not want to project themselves as easily available resources and social networks are used only for hiring at a junior level, companies rebuff this myth. For example, Microsoft uses social media more as a means to get in touch or do broad sourcing of candidates to help establish a first touchpoint with a potential candidate across levels. But then the discussion continues through more traditional channels. One must also keep in mind that once the recruitment process moves into the assessment cycle, there is limited impact from social media.