In spite of the high rates of unemployment, virtually every HR exec laments the lack of good candidates.  This is true whether looking for drivers, artisans, service staff, professionals or knowledge workers.  The right people are simply not available?

The recruitment landscape has changed significantly in recent years with “active” jobseekers simply posting their resumes on a job board and waiting for the phone to ring – and ring it does.  Any candidate or recruitment agency will tell you they almost instantly start receiving phones calls & very often 1st interviews are set up on the same day.  The good ones go quickly and the rest remain in circulation, hence no shortage of candidates – just a shortage of “good” candidates.

Whilst we cannot argue against this shortage of skilled resource, it would be incorrect to jump to the conclusion that they don’t exist. To get a competitive advantage companies need to “Fish where the fish are” and build recruitment channels that get their jobs in front of potential candidates while they are still “passive” job seekers.


Where are the Fish?

Social media and the internet provide fantastic platforms to target potential candidates and deliver a value proposition that is closely tied to your brand.  A job well presented at the right moment in time is not just a job – it becomes an opportunity!



The total number of FB users in South Africa is reaching 4 969 640 and grew by more than 146 820 in the last 6 months – 31% are between 18 & 25 yrs. old & a further 30% are between 25 & 35 years old (www.socialbakers.com).


The Hardrock Café has a fantastic case study where they used only FaceBook to hire 120 people for a new store they opened in Florence, Italy.  The stats are as follows:

  • 10,222 fans on the page in 4 weeks – that means they not only got their message out there but more than 10 000 people were actually interested in the value proposition.
  • 4000 job applications received for positions from waiters & barmen to accountants.
  • 600 interviews completed over 3 days – these were scheduled by the candidates themselves in FaceBook as an event.
  • 120 Hires at a total cost of less than 10% of the budget.
  • The majority of applicants that were declined have remained fans and would like to be considered for future positions.


In February 2012 Company X based in Johannesburg placed an advert on Facebook for a fairly uncommon skill set.  The advert generated almost a million impressions and importantly 324 clicks. The total campaign cost just over 2000 Rands.


Linked In

South Africa ranks as the 14th biggest LinkedIn country with a total of 1 837 150 users and is growing by more than 2000 users per month. (LinkedIn stats)

L’Oreal’s employs about 66 000 people globally and recognised that the 15 000 employees that were already on LinkedIn were their primary ambassadors, all of whom already had a network.  “The best employees refer the best candidates,” and LinkedIn have a recruitment solution which allows companies to target job opportunities at their employees networks. One internal recruiter claims to have made 90 placements in less than 5 months using only the LinkedIn network.

Dixon’s Retail in the UK reduced their use of outsourced recruitment agencies from 95% to 4%



There are more than 1.1 million Twitter users in SA generating 2.47 million tweets per month.  An estimated 40% of twitter users are only observers, 81% use the platform to talk with friends (think referrals) and 22% actively search for jobs. (Portland Communications.com)

The big deal with Twitter is that it has been adopted so widely by the millennial generation – those who are “Always On”.  Twitter is about referral and about “instant” – they get & share information continuously.  If Facebook is for people you already know – then Twitter is for people you would like to get to know better.


Job Portals

There are a multitude of paid and free Job portals; some portals sell their search services exclusively to recruitment agencies, while others are happy selling these privileges directly to corporates. The down side of Job boards is that they only target active candidates and candidates apply for multiple positions so corporate recruiters really need to work fast. Job boards also create quite a lot of “noise” due to the fact that many unqualified candidates apply.  The up side it your jobs get to a lot of candidates.

Recently Company Y placed 15 adverts on one of the larger job and received in excess of 4000 views and 60 applicants per week.  A free job board on a niche site has been generating on average 300 job views a week and one or two candidates, however the quality of these candidates is much better.

Company Career Portal.

A leading Jhb based IT company recently implemented a career portal linked to their website and with remarkably little advertising they have had in excess of 1600 direct applications in the 1st 5 months, a year later they have an average of 400 applicants per month.  There were obviously direct applications prior to this, however never to this extent and none of them were aimed at specific vacancies.