MediaPost reports that there are 87% more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883% more time devoted to those sites. The fastest growing demographic are those 35 years and older, which means that there are even greater opportunities now that social networking is mainstream.
One of those opportunities is corporate recruitment. Companies were once dependent on their websites and job boards, such as Monster.com, to recruit new talent. Since social networks have become increasingly popular, at a low cost to companies and with stronger databases than most job boards and corporate websites, companies are starting to turn to these sites to find their next hire. In order to compete for the top candidates, no company can neglect social networks, where they can find passive candidates with ease, using their current employee base as support.
Companies need to be where their potential hires are and understand that Gen Yers are handcuffed to the Internet. "Smart companies that want to hire the best talent recognize this and speak the local language of social media," says David Meerman Scott, author of World Wide Rave. Whether it's Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or blogs, companies have to become social media literate, understand their recruiting goals, target audience and, most of all, participate in a meaningful and authentic way.
Just registering for social network accounts isn't enough to have Gen Yers want to work for your company. "You need to be active in the social networks like Facebook and Twitter where millenials hang out," explains Rick Burnes an Inbound Marketing Manager at HubSpot.
Companies should be building Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that bring their companies to life, including videos of employees talking about their experiences and pictures from their offices. They need to be proactive in connecting with Gen Yers by engaging in conversations that are already happening online.
It's time for companies to get creative if they want to win the war for talent, even in this recession. "Young people trust their friends and want to connect around values and interests -- so think about hosting a "bring a friend" event to meet the peers of your employees," says Marci Alboher, author of One Person/Multiple Careers.
Recognizing that peers are connected through social networks, companies can create viral videos and other pieces of interesting or entertaining content for Gen Yers to digest and become interested in working for them. In this new digital frontier, creativity, content and community will triumph. Companies that get engaged today, will not be left behind tomorrow.