The True Effectiveness of Social Media as a Recruitment Channel in September 2015

If you pay attention to recruitment news, then you've no doubt read many articles promoting social media as a recruitment channel. Attrachting passive candidates through social channels is discussed daily on social platforms. Some claim to already have had great success, other claim it is the future of recruitment.

But how effective is social media as a stand-alone hiring channel right now? In September 2015 we took a cross section of our clients and measured how many new candidates registered on their careers sites. To measure channel effectiveness, we grouped the results by candidate source:

  • affiliate sites (including pay per click ads)
  • direct traffic
  • email
  • job boards
  • organic search
  • social media

The results surprised even us.

The statistics show a clear divide between the three most popular traffic sources (job boards, organic search and direct traffic) and the fringe channels. Social media provided the lowest number of unique candidates.

Things to consider

  • As recently as 5 years ago social media was not a channel at all, so it has grown remarkably in a short space of time. If this chart showed the percentage of channel growth, it could well be reversed.
  • Both social media and affiliate channels contribute a few percentage points towards organic search ranking.
  • Direct traffic as a candidate source leaves us with some possibilites about the true source. From browser caching to search engine autofill, it is difficult to know where the candidate first heard about the careers site.
  • The report does not consider multi-channel registrations. these occure when the candidate encounters more than one channel channel on their jounrey to registration. Social media could well be a touch point for many candidate journeys.
  • The report is quantitative not qualitative. We have not assessed the quality of candidates from the respective channels, only the volume.


So what conclusions can we draw? That social media is not providing anywhere near the volume of candidates as job boards is clear. But when we ask 'why?' we begin to get the crux of the issue. It may be that investment in social media advertising is still relatively low compared to online job boards. It may also be that successful social recruitment, in all its subtleties, requires a vastly different strategy to other online channels.

More Top Resources

1. [Whitepaper] Facilitating Internal Mobility in Large Organisations
2. [eBook] Planning Your E-Recruitment Strategy
3. [eBook] Guide to Designing the Perfect Careers Site
4. [Brochure] Guide to Faster, Smarter Recruitment
5. [Datasheet] Dashboards for In House Recruiters


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