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  • Social Media: A Study in Utility or Futility?

    December 12, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions

    TAGS: technology, student attitudes, surveys, social media, spotlight

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    In her op-ed in the November issue of the NACE Journal, Mary Scott, founder of Scott Resource Group, writes that misinterpreted data can result in missteps among employers trying to connect with college students.

    Recent NACE research soundly supports that of Scott. For example, the 2018 Student Survey found that, in general, social media is one of the least popular job-search resources among college students. Just 40 percent of respondents reported using social media in their job search, and few of those who have used social media in this pursuit found the primary platforms especially useful.

    Those using social media in the job search were asked specifically about three social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Among these respondents, LinkedIn was the most frequently used (72.7 percent), followed by Facebook (50.5 percent), and Twitter (25 percent). However, none were deemed especially useful: Just 36.9 percent found LinkedIn useful, while event smaller percentages saw the utility of using Facebook (15.7 percent) or Twitter (6.8 percent) in their job searches.

    These realities have not stopped employers from featuring social media as a key part of their efforts. In NACE’s forthcoming 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report, 80 percent of responding employers indicate they used social media as a college recruiting tool. And its use is growing: Among employers who reported used social media, 67.2 percent specified an increase in use within the past year, while merely 3.1 percent noted decreasing its use.

    What is the return on this investment of time and resources in this tool that college students, themselves, have said they don’t particularly use or value in the job search? Among employers who reported using social media—meaning those who have invested time and other resources in it—more than half (55.2 percent) reported no substantial change in their recruiting results.

    Writes Scott: “It is students themselves who identified the notion that employers are ‘trying too hard to be cool’ and consistently push back against the commonly held assumptions that they are attracted to employers’ use of social media, texting, video, and virtual tools…What this illustrates is that the seemingly dogmatic belief that what students use in their personal lives is therefore how they want their recruitment experience to unfold is simply wrong.”