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From compliance to competitive advantage: Graduates, graduate recruiters and social media. @MartinEdmonson

August 25, 2010

I was interviewed the other day by a journalist who wanted to know whether this social media stuff was in any way relevant to graduates and graduate recruiters. He had just seen the Penna Barkers survey ( ) and phrased his question to me with considerable scepticism about whether this Social Media stuff was actually of any relevance.

The reality is that Social Media and Graduate recruitment are becoming increasingly intertwined, and that issues are emerging on both the candidate and employer side that neither are prepared for.

On the employer side we are regularly speaking to graduate recruiters who are in various ways using Social Media in various phases of their recruitment process. Most commonly SM is deployed in the attraction phase, or as a part of the validation/selection phase.

Interestingly though, many of the larger blue-chip graduate recruiters are remarkably conservative in their use of Social Media. At the recent AGR (Association of Graduate Recruiters) conference it was interesting to see that the only people using the Twitter Conference hashtag (#AGR2010) were recruiters and other support organisations. At that same conference, a large grad recruiter giving a talk on Social Media explained that they had to get sign-off for every tweet on their corporate account, which somewhat restricts the chances of genuine engagement, and suggests the classic mistake of using social media as a broadcast marketing channel..

If they were to engage more deeply, graduate recruiters may find that they are able to use SM very positively at many stages of their talent management process. For example, many graduate recruiters experience issues with late dropouts, and this could be tempered by regular contact, updates and engagement using Social media.

From the graduate perspective Social Media is a double-edged sword. On the candidate side, there is a growing realisation amongst grads that they need to ensure their digital footprint shows them in a good light, and avoid leaving a negative web imprint that harms their job chances. The smart move as a candidate is not to view this as a compliance activity, but rather to take the many facets of SM and use them to your job-hunting advantage.

Anyway, the reason I raise most of these points is that we will be covering these, and many more in the Graduate track at TRU Manchester ( on the 8th and 9th September. So, if you are intrigued by the coalescence of graduate recruitment and social media, or are an expert in it, come along and add your thoughts to the discussion.

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