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How Milkround used social media to engage with generation Y graduates [guest post]

Posted: 06 Sep 2011 02:21 AM PDT
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Graduate recruitment has seen considerable change over the last few years, and was one of the big casualties of the recent recession, as companies cut budgets and hired less. To survive in this space companies have had to embrace change and be prepared to do things differently.
Today's guest post is by Anne-Lise H. Johnsen, from the No.1 graduate recruiting site Milkround. They have had to really look at the way they engaged with companies and graduates, and chose social media as a way to do this.
Anne-Lise explains what they have done at Milkround to use social media to aid their graduate recruiting strategies:
"Our mission at Milkround has always been to assist students and graduates looking for internships, placements & graduate jobs. Throughout the last year we have realised social media has a place in recruiting, and even as a job board we can provide a valuable service through this channel. Over the last year we have introduced successful social media initiatives, however we are also realising our candidates need to be informed about how to make the most of social media when job hunting.

In April we created a survey to investigate our candidates social media knowledge and how they use the constantly-evolving tool. Less than a third said they use social media tools to promote themselves to new employers, while four out of five said they would be more pro-active if they had more guidance in how to use social media tools when searching for jobs.

As a result we introduced a new tool to our own communications mix: presentations direct to students. Throughout the spring and summer term, I presented on the topic of How to use Social Media in a job hunt at several universities and fairs in the UK. Students and graduates were intrigued when they realised Facebook and Twitter were actually tools they could use when searching for a job, but they seemed confused. They did not know how to start using these tools for something else then updating their statuses, befriending old classmates or tagging themselves in pictures. This confusion reached a new level when I mentioned LinkedIn. Every session I asked, Who has heard of LinkedIn?. Usually 1/10 raised their hands. This was a scary finding. In a tough jobs market, many young job seekers dont understand how to use social media tools to their advantage, and are not making the most of one designed specifically for job hunting.

In a bid to help teach students and graduates how to find work through social networking and move away from just how many likes, followers and connections weve made, Milkround places an emphasis on engaging with our social community. We now have a better understanding of what our community needs and seeks from us. We want to give students and graduates career confidence, and one way of achieving that is through focusing on engagement to prevent them from feeling more confused and lost in a competitive market.

We have seen more companies use social media as a way of promoting their opportunities. New career-focused Facebook Pages pop up, Twitter jobs feeds are created and some look for graduates on LinkedIn. However, at the pace this is evolving, candidates are struggling to keep track. Because the current students and graduates are of the Generation Y they are assumed to know and understand every aspect of social media. The reality is that the Generation Y can also feel lost in the circus of technology: many of the Generation Y, and also possibly future Generation Z, have not been taught the elements of social recruiting. It means many of the efforts from companies, job board and agencies are going unnoticed. Were doing what we can to ensure they are rising in prominence and graduates dont miss out on their dream job."
Thanks to Anne-Lise for sharing what they they are doing at Milkround, to help graduates make sense of the world of work and social media. It is clear that there are several key factors they have focused on at Milkround - those being engagement, building a better sense of community and communication. These are all intrinsic to being successful when looking to use social media effectively in recruitment (aka social recruiting).
If your organisation has embraced social media as a way of differentiating your market position, then (as long as it is recruitment focused of course) email me with your story and I can feature it here on the blog. Don't be shy - others won't even have started using social media yet, and these stories help people on many different levels.
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