The results from a recent survey (September-October 2010) from Executives Online Ltd (www.executivesonline.com) puts a bit of shade on the so much hyped social networking as a means to efficient recruitment. This is the second year the survey was conducted.

Over 1200 senior executives were surveyed and asked about their opinion and effectiveness of social networking in their personal and professional life.  In concurrence with many surveys in this area, including the study done by Mic Adam from Vanguard Leadership of July 2010, LinkedIn was deemed by most professionals as the most interesting social networking site with Facebook coming in as a good second and Twitter as a third.   All these platforms grew in importance over the last 12 months.

As can be expected, LinkedIn is viewed as the most useful platform for recruitment (90%) while the other platforms are struggling to get to 50%.  This is understandable since the audience surveyed is executive level.  Facebook is still viewed as purely private networking while Twitter is a big unknown to many.

With the hype around social media in general, more and more people are resorting to these platforms to find a new job but few have actually succeeded at securing such a position.  I think this really reflects the practice in the recruitment market. The numbers do show a 50% increase over last year’s results which holds a good promise for the future.  Let’s be honest, social networking still has to find its ‘balanced’ place in the mix of tools used by managers and recruiters both professionals and corporate.

When it comes to hiring via social networking sites, the numbers are even lower.  Fewer than 5% of the respondents have actually tried to hire through social networks and even fewer have hired people recruited through social networks.  So the conclusion is that the supply of job seekers far exceeds the demand (job offerings).  However, here too the numbers are on the rise.

Even though there is certainly an uptake of social networking for recruitment, there are some serious showstoppers which hold true for all trades when it comes to social media.  They can be summarized as follows: lack of authenticity, the myth that social networking is for younger and less senior people, and most importantly, the time factor since keeping a social media presence takes time to maintain and follow up.  This is where a lot of falls apart.  Managers and recruiters, just like marketeers, are finding that using social media & networking is a time consuming activity but keep in mind that going to network meetings is too!

Even though these numbers do not seem to live up to the hype, I feel they really reflect the reality of today.  There are,  of course, today recruitment agencies as well as private companies that are getting more than 15% of their new hires through social networking, it is realistic to say that social networking recruitments will be responsible for 10% of the new hires in the future.  The traditional method will continue to exist and possibly regain their strength.

The full survey can be found at:

http://www.executivesonline.co.uk/about_us/reports/social_networking

Do you have a success story and want to share your secret on how to get recruited via social networking,  I would love to hear about it.