Finding talent in the age of social media

Card image cap

The recruiter is dead, long live recruitment. The shockwaves reverb across Sandton coffee shops halfway through draft Facebook posts asking candidates to apply with an email titled "Front End Developer". Shaken, but not deterred, yet another CV branded with the Pac-Man-like stain of an overzealous coffee drinker, what remains of the barista's artwork reveals a scary truth; it's their rear ends that are on the line.


In 2017, 79% of jobseekers were likely to use social media for their job search. The percentage of companies using social media to recruit increased from 56% in 2011 to 84% in 2016, with a further 9% planning to do so in the future. A study from the Aberdeen Group revealed that 73% of millennials found their last position through a social media platform. Combine this with the fact that some (very busy) guy named AI is being touted as the future of recruitment, the way companies hire has, and will continue to change.


So why leverage your hiring approach via the juggernaut that is social media? For one, it's where your next hire is set to spend a combined time equivalent to 5 years. 58% of consumers use social media to follow brands; a candidate obtained through these means has therefore either expressed a direct interest in your company, or has browsing habits that relate to your business or industry (remember AI). Advocacy and word of mouth leads to trust, with recent surveys indicating that up to 65% of respondents would consider a job opportunity if they heard of it via a social connection. People generally favour recommendations from friends and family over those obtained via any other form of marketing, advertising or promotion. Lastly, social means passive; those not actively looking for a job (although often the best fit for a role). "But hey, if a good opportunity comes along, I'll consider it."


But let's be honest, in the age of 'what's in it for me', it's seldom you achieve brand advocacy and word of mouth for free, right? Everyone has that tipping point where, for enough of an incentive, even your most social of employees would be willing to interrupt their timeline of #blessed, #catsofinstagram and #beachplease with a job post for your business. Whatever the amount, compare that to the reach you might achieve via paid media spend. Stick with me here as we crunch some numbers (and make some assumptions)...


The average cost of 1 000 impressions on Facebook is $7.34 (or R106, c'mon the ZAR). Assume you're willing to offer an incentive of R1 000 to your team and your business has 20 staff with on average 800 followers/friends each. Let's throw in your business page which has say 2 000 followers (but due to Facebook's punitive approach to sharing page posts, a reach of only 200). Because Tim in accounts and Steve in IT aren't social butterflies, while Stacey and Bonang are (social eagles), let's assume only 80% of your team share the love to their timelines. Relying on my Calculator app, that's 13 000 organic impressions on Facebook alone. To achieve the same promoted impressions, you'd need to commit $95.42 (or R1 384) to Mark Z. Throw in the potential organic reach of shares to LinkedIn and Twitter and it's obvious why it makes sense (and saves cents) to consider this a viable option when next hiring. Who knows, for R2 000 perhaps even Stacey and Bonang would consider a share to their 10 000 combined friends/followers; let's not pin our hopes on Tim and Steve.


Crayon Social has formalised this approach and developed a platform whereby employers can add and incentivise their team, encouraging them to share the employer-specified job ad to their social networks. Resultant referrals are tracked and assigned to the original sharer of that post, providing a credible link between an existing staff member and a candidate hoping to join the team. Fast-forward a couple of days, Bonang has taken New Guy out to lunch as thanks for earning her the incentive fee; as the cortados arrive they can't help but notice our recruiter still sitting in the corner, shuffling through CVs.


While Crayon is itself a recruitment platform we aim to do things differently in everything we do. Visit us at to find out more about our latest offerings - Crayon Social and Crayon Lite. For the old-school approach, Crayon Talent is our fully outsourced solution where we manage the process from beginning to end (at 1/3rd the cost of traditional recruiters) using personality data and other techie things along the way (we haven't hired AI, yet). Check out our online presentation here.

Note: No recruiters were harmed in the making of this article