Recruiting using social media – it works!

I’ve been meaning to write this for quite some time, but I’m sure you know how it is in an agency, right?

Back in September 2011 I found myself in the position that many others often find themselves when working for a fast growing company; recruiting new team members. Now I’m not sure who said this, but someone once told me that ‘a business is only as good as its employees’ and in the online marketing sector I’d have to say I’d agree. There is always another company around the corner (literally in many cases), who are constantly pitching against you and you need the right people around you to deliver results. I am an SEO Consultant/Manager – that’s what I specialise in – and finding (and retaining) the right candidates is fundamental to our success as a company.

That’s why when a management team meeting ended in an agreement that we were going to grow the social media side of operations, I had the idea that perhaps social media may be in fact the best tool to find our new candidate.

I’ve read quite a few CVs over the years, and even more so lately with the tough economic climate – and I have come to understand one important thing. CVs are not always the only option to find talent, and after using social media tools for a range of projects, I wondered how well it would work for recruitment?

Meet Michelle – AKA @helloshellfish

@helloshellfish AKA Michelle Kuhl BA (Hons) – Leeds Met Marketing Graduate

You might notice that I’ve ‘jumped the gun’ here by introducing you all to Michelle, but it was probably pretty obvious by now that social media recruitment works, or there wouldn’t be much point to this blog post.

Michelle Kuhl has been working with me for over a year now, which I believe says it all. Michelle started by working part time in her final year, before recently accepting a full time position when she graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University this summer (2012). Michelle now works in the search marketing department as a social media consultant and is a highly valued member of our team.

Our twitter conversation

If you’re interested here is the conversion which resulted in Michelle working at with us:

Me: If you’re still looking for some part time agency experience in you final year give me a DM 9:46 PM Sep 24th, 2011

Michelle: Hi, just responding to your tweet! I’m looking for some work exp in my final year, do you have some more details? 24 Sep 11 at 22:50

Me: I work for an agency called in Leeds and we are looking for part time final year students for online PR, is this of interest to you? 24 Sep 11 at 23:13

Michelle: Yeah definitely, I’m final year marketing at Leeds met & am really eager to do some agency experience after doing a year in-house placement 25 Sep 11 at 16:17

Me: Sounds perfect. What type of field are you looking to get into? What’s your degree in? 25 Sep 11 at 17:59

Michelle: Really interested in PR & Soc Media, seeing what an account exec job role is like. Quite enjoy techy stuff too! My degree is in marketing 25 Sep 11 at 19:22

Me: sounds perfect. We are a SEO & Social Media digital marketing agency. It’s all about search engines. Would you like to come in and meet us? 25 Sep 11 at 19:29

Michelle: Yeah, that sounds great! When would be suitable for you? 25 Sep 11 at 20:10

Me: I’m in the Office on Wednesday, would the afternoon be suitable? 27 Sep at 00:21

Michelle: Yeah that sounds great as that’s my day off, any specific time? Would you want me to bring things like my CV or examples of work etc? 27 Sep at 07:45

Me: CV would be great, could you email it before hand? Is 3pm ok? 27 Sep at 09:34

Michelle: Yeah 3pm would be good. OK will send one over today, what’s the email address? 27 Sep at 13:18

Me: 3PM tomorrow it is then we’re in an old warehouse called Beaver Works; call if you can’t find us. 27 Sep at 13:20

Michelle: Ok, great, will do! Have you got an email address I can send my CV to? 27 Sep at 13:54

Me: apologies (man flu) http://j.mp/oW4SxX cheers 27 Sep at 13:55

Me: ahhh Tweetdeck is shortening it lol 27 Sep at 13:55

Michelle: Haha, no worries. Thanks, will send over shortly & see you tomorrow! 27 Sep at 13:57

This leads me on to how graduate recruitment is changing

Universities have changed with the times

Universities are becoming much more focused on ROI in recent years and are helping students understand the importance of on the job training and work placements. When I was at university back in 2003 there was much less mentoring of students specifically toward job hunting. Social media has changed all this forever; it’s now easier than ever before to find the right people to talk to.

Placement years

Although placement years have been valued throughout many universities across the UK, it is now more important than ever that students gain relevant industry experience before they graduate. The increasing numbers of students graduating each year, combined with the lack of new positions becoming available in established large companies due to cutbacks, mean that the competition for graduate jobs could be higher than ever before. According to a recent article by the BBC “every graduate post ‘receives 52 applications’” which is an increase of 11% on 2011 and 25% since 2009.

Universities are employing private sector methods to help graduates find jobs and work experience

Since we hired Michelle I have become aware that times are changing internally at universities. Universities such as Leeds Met have brought in experienced teams of marketing and recruitment professionals from the private sector to ensure that they maximise the opportunities for their students.

In April, we were featured in several publications such as the Media Insider, when we made the announcement that due to continued growth in both the company and the search marketing sector we would be relocating to a new spacious office on The Calls in the heart of Leeds’s digital marketing community. This was with help from parties including Leeds City Council and their service to help businesses relocate to new offices in Leeds.

Shortly after the news of our success had spread, I had a call from Debbie Burns, Jo Emery and Melanie Parker – business development advisors at Leeds Metropolitan University. They had noticed just how quickly our company was growing. Within days they were sat in front of me, ‘cup o’ tea’ in hand, discussing how they could help us find the right people. I doubt that this would have happened a few years ago in all honestly and I found this approach very refreshing (I think that’s the right way of putting it). From this point onward I cannot speak highly enough of the Leeds Met biz dev team, they have been instrumental in the growth of our company in the last quarter.

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