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Tap Today’s Best College Graduates via Online Networking

Tap Today’s Best College Graduates via Online Networking

May 4, 2012

By: Connie Blaszczyk, Managing Editor, Resource Center

The social media tidal wave has changed the way we think, interact, work and play. And nowhere has its impact been greater than with the emerging workforce.

This group that includes college graduates and who are often referred to as Gen Y have embraced social media in every aspect of their life – including their work environment and career development.

As social media recruitment evolves, one thing is clear: employers will need a clear social media strategy as well as a carefully-considered social media policy to engage Gen Y workers.

To find out more, we spoke with Tom Chevalier, Product Marketing Director for BeKnownTM, Monster’s professional networking app for Facebook.

Monster: What picture emerged of today’s college graduates from Monster’s recent Emerging Workforce Summit? Why has the college grad demographic become so critical to our future workforce?

Chevalier: At Monster’s social summit on Educating and Engaging the Emerging Workforce, keynote speaker and Gen Y expert Dan Schawbel pointed out that today’s emerging workforce (18-29 years old) are extremely tech savvy, collaborative, flexible and passionate, adding that they will play a key role in driving employee innovation. Gen Ys are critical to the future workforce as they will make up 75% of the global workers by 2025.

In addition, Gen Y is becoming more entrepreneurial for multiple reasons: barriers have lowered to starting a company, while it is more difficult for them to find internships and professional jobs with little professional experience.

Ryan Paugh, a Gen Y thought leader and community-building expert, believes that entrepreneurship is the solution America needs to help the current job market.

He is a strong advocate of youth entrepreneurship as both a solution to unemployment and underemployment and urges the government to do more to support entrepreneurs.

Monster: What are the expectations of today’s college graduates regarding their future employment?

Chevalier: A theme expressed by those in attendance was that today’s college graduates expect to have an impact within their organizations starting on day one. Gen Ys  are often extremely driven and hungry for success, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit to create the “next big thing”.

Gen  Y talent is more focused on meaningful work and will leave an organization if they do not feel fulfilled by their contribution or don’t believe in the work they are doing.

With that, they have different values than today Gen X and Baby Boomers. They are changing the everyday values of work-life balance as a meaningful job; they seefreedom and access to social  media as more important than salary increases.

Monster: How can employers do a better job of meeting those expectations?

Chevalier: Employers should effectively onboard new hires to leverage the emerging workforce’s passion and energy while concentrating on retaining their talent. According to Schawbel, Microsoft estimates the cost to replace each Gen Y employee is $24,000.

Monster: How important is social media in reaching this demographic when it comes time to recruit?

Chevalier: It is extremely important for employers to engage the emerging workforce demographic where they live and breathe — online, using social media.

Currently, there is a social network mismatch. Keynote speaker Dan Schwabel cited Jobvite’s 2011 Recruitment Survey, which reported that the majority of job seekers (almost 80%) are on Facebook, while less than 60% of recruiters are on Facebook.

It is important for employers close this gap and be where the job seekers are. Employers need to enable recruiters to connect directly on social media, like Facebook, with a separate profile dedicated to careers.

Monster: How are today’s college grads incorporating social media into their professional lives?

Chevalier: Social media is a major part of college student’s personal lives and they are experts in using social media. They are not as comfortable using social media in their professional lives and are currently learning how to better integrate social into their job search.

Monster: Are today’s universities helping guide young grads in their social media usage and participation?

Chevalier: Colleges and universities recognize the importance of social media and the need to educate the emerging workforce.

Kristin Mattera, adjunct professor at Suffolk University, teaches a social media class to juniors and seniors. At Monster’s Social Summit, Kristin presented how to transform social media training to real work outcomes, which is a main focus of her class.

College/university career centers are also using social media to reach their students and alumni while educating students on their use of social media in a job search.

Marilyn Santiesteban, assistant director of graduate and alumni career services at Bentley University, discussed career services in the social age during the event.

Bentley organizes various workshops to try and get the word out to students that employers are using social media too — not only to recruit students for employment via professional networks, but also to screen candidates, based on their online social profiles.

Of course, educating every student about the proper social media usage is a concern of college/university administrators. It remained a theme among the career services professionals at Monster’s Social Summit.

Monster: Has social media changed the way companies now shape their company branding strategy? What are the key elements that a company should have in place for their social media strategy?

Chevalier: Using social media is a must for company recruitment/branding strategies. Todd Van Hoosear, Principal at the PR agency Fresh Ground, explained that successful social recruiting programs involve community, content, conversation and conversion.

Todd added that these 4 C’s are the cornerstones for companies building a branding and recruiting strategy using social media.

More and more employers are utilizing social platforms to extend their employer brand and distribution network of job postings, while providing the opportunity for candidates to directly engage and get an inside look at the company culture.

Facebook has turned into a viable place for professional networking. The time spent and active engagement on Facebook dominates time spent on other social sites. The younger demographic and specific industry sectors like nurses and others are not on LinkedIn, but they are on Facebook.

However, keep in mind that with the increased popularity of recruiting through social media that social should be considered an “AND,” not an “OR” solution, and should be integrated as a part of a company’s overall recruiting strategy. Social media should never replace the traditional methods.

Monster: What advice do you have for employers who are looking to engage this demographic via social media?

Chevalier: It is important to give your recruiting team a voice on social media that’s separate from the corporate brand within social media sites.

Career-focused social profiles at your organization enable students and alumni to ask questions about the employment process, understand your corporate  culture and learn about your recruitment process. Have a communication strategy in place that focuses on being transparent and genuine.

Finally, as we’ve successfully seen with BeKnownTM, Monster’s professional networking app for Facebook, it’s essential to encourage the participation of employees and recent alumni in your social media strategy, as they are the best company ambassadors and will show potential candidates a genuine insight into your organization.