Facebook and Twitter not the place for graduate recruitment

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter should not be used by employers to recruit graduates, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has warned.

A survey of more than 1,400 graduates conducted by recruitment firm TMP Worldwide and jobs board Target Jobs revealed 70% do not want businesses to use social networking sites to “sell” graduate vacancies. A further 73% of respondents felt graduate employers should keep their recruitment sites separate from their social networking sites.

Carl Gilleard, AGR chief executive, told Personnel Today: “Employers should use social networking sites to communicate, to raise awareness, and to get messages across but they shouldn’t use them as a selection or pre-selection tool, especially out of the blue with no prior contact with the graduate. There’s a line to be drawn; you have to listen and understand the market you are trying to engage with.”

Bob Athwal, head of graduate recruitment at energy firm RWE npower, agreed that social networking sites should only be used by employers once a candidate had been hired.

He said: “Social networking has a part to play in the recruitment process but not in the attraction and selection process. [Social networking] is more about the ‘on-boarding’ once a job offer has been made and the graduate wants to communicate with the company via Facebook and Twitter to talk to current employees and get company updates.”

AGR research also revealed 98% of employers met their graduate intake targets for 2009 with one-third planning to increase their intake next year. Despite this, Gilleard warned it could be two years before the graduate recruitment market fully recovered.

“I have looked back over previous recessions and falls in the graduate recruitment market and I haven’t found an occasion where it was as brief as a 12-month drop, it was nearly always a couple of years before things start to improve,” he said.

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