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Social Media Recruiting: What About Blue Collar?

Posted on January 21st, 2013 by

As we know, Social Media has completely changed white collar recruiting. LinkedIn has blown a hole in the traditional executive recruiting model. But LinkedIn doesn’t do a lot for you if you’re looking to hire third-shift welders or over-the-road drivers. And at a time when there are 600,000 open skilled manufacturing jobs, it’s time to rethink how we find manufacturing workers.

First of all, getting a job via social media has become a very accepted thing. According to a 2011 Jobvite study, 16 percent of those unemployed and looking, employed and looking, or employed and open to a new job said “an online social network directly led to finding their current/most recent job.” (The previous year, only 11 percent gave credit to social media.) Of these 22.1 million Americans, 78 percent attributed their job to Facebook, 42 percent cited Twitter, and only 40 percent cited LinkedIn. Clearly, LinkedIn is not the only game in town. For one, Facebook is just bigger — a billion people is a big user base. Also, people visit it much more often than they visit LinkedIn.

Put another way:

  • 48 percent of job seekers performed a job seeking activity on Facebook; 26 percent performed a job seeking activity on LinkedIn.
  • 16 percent of job seekers got a job referral on Facebook; 11 percent got one on LinkedIn.

So Facebook clearly is helping a lot of people get jobs. And knowing as we do that LinkedIn is where the white-collar community finds jobs, it’s a fair assumption that a lot of those job seekers using Facebook are not white collar. And according to Forbes, today it’s not clear that LinkedIn can (or wants to) extend itself to hourly workers, blue-collar workers and non-professionals.

So faced with the fact that LinkedIn is focusing on the top of the market (which is understandable and profitable), 2/3 of companies now recruit through Facebook and more than half (54 percent) use Twitter to find new talent. Another finding from Jobvite is that 1/3 of respondents see more employee referrals, which tend to lead to the most valuable hires.

Let’s just look at the numbers for a second: Industry data shows people have an average of 150 social network contacts, so a company of 100 could have a social recruiting reach of 15,000 direct contacts, and 2.25 million second-degree connections.

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, now that LinkedIn has cracked the white-collar recruiting puzzle, more recruiters are coming to Facebook as a result. “It’s catching on but not competing quite yet,” notes Curtis Midkiff, SHRM’s director of social strategy and engagement.

In the end, he stressed, your social networking choice should be tied to the type of job you’re looking for. LinkedIn, he said, is the “suit-and-tie network,” and people looking for professional jobs in traditional industries are probably making a good call to be on there.

For positions in healthcare or manufacturing, and generally more blue-collar jobs, Facebook is gaining interest from recruiters as a way to find applicants. The site is also gaining popularity with employers looking to fill seasonal jobs, such as UPS looking for holiday drivers, Midkiff explained.

UPS’s Jobs Facebook page often includes posts about job openings, and the page now has more than 36,000 likes. A post from earlier this year stated: “UPS is hiring Sales professionals!” The post included 70 comments and a company official even answered questions of Facebook users interested in a sales job — a big difference from the black hole so many job seekers face when they apply these days.  Hiring managers may also be looking to sites beyond LinkedIn if they want to connect with younger workers.

So what should you do if you’re looking to recruit blue-collar workers via Social Media?

  1. Start by establishing a meaningful presence on Facebook and Twitter. Most B2B companies won’t ever sell anything from their Facebook pages, but they certainly can attract workers. As the target segment for this effort is potential hires, make sure you show people why someone good would want to work at your company — happy faces, information about your strength and security, and useful job listings. Cross-posting job listings from other recruitment sites is a great idea.
  2. Build your audience by starting with friends. Ask your employees to “like” the page. They won’t all do it, but it can get the ball rolling. Ask your vendors and customers too. Every recruiter knows that the best hires are a good cultural fit. And your employees, vendors and customers are the most likely to share your culture.
  3. When you do have a job listing (a) link to it on your Facebook page, and (b) ask your employees, vendors and customers to share it (within reason of course). As the numbers above show, the average Facebook member has 150 friends. If 100 people share that listing, and even a few of their second-degree friends share it, you can reach (a) a lot of people who (b) should easily understand your company and its culture. Last of all, they’re accountable — when you have a personal connection to the company, you’re much more likely to be a good employee, rather than let down a friend.
  4. Consider referral bonuses if they fit with your culture. The Jobvite survey notes that roughly 2/3 (65 percent) of companies seek to increase employee participation in recruiting by offering referral bonuses; more than 1/3 offer rewards of more than $1,000.

As white-collar America goes through radical restructuring, times are good for skilled manufacturing workers. Don’t miss out on recruiting the best to your company.

photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

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Adrian Blake

Co-Founder at SMC
Adrian began his career in the television industry, leading the international growth of Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central. Adrian has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. from Harvard.

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One Response to “Social Media Recruiting: What About Blue Collar?”

  1. […] a step-by-step guide on how to recruit using social media (there’s our white paper and a few other blogs for a better picture), it will get you started on the right track to stronger […]

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