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Using the internet to recruit is one of the most cost-effective, targeted ways to source a vast pool of talent. If you haven’t done so already, your online recruiting plan should also incorporate a social networking strategy. It is an additional means to source and vet candidates. This article focuses on several ways you can use social media as part of your recruiting plan.

By now, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should be part of your recruiting vernacular. These are highly visited sites where you can tap into engaged users who share information including job leads. Building a wide-spread professional network is easy to do. Think of social media as a virtual Rolodex. Instead of reaching out to prospective job candidates and peers at physical events, you can connect with a large, captive audience online.

LinkedIn is an excellent social networking tool. Since user profile pages summarize career experience, searching the site’s vast database can help uncover qualified candidates by area or specific industry. Pages are also set up to include additional information, such as education and recommendations; providing more details on a prospective candidate’s skill set. Recruiters can tap into LinkedIn’s industry networks to source candidates and connect with peers. You can buy job postings to drive qualified leads, or announce openings for free in your status box.

Facebook is another good tool. Along with access to a vast pool of potential candidates who have their own Facebook pages, many businesses, organizations and other interest groups create their own pages. Again, you can find talent through searches, or make notations of job openings on your profile page. Like LinkedIn, Facebook also offers an ad service which can be used to create job postings.

Twitter, known as a micro-blog, is more of a news emporium. Followers connect with other users based on areas of interest. The best way to use Twitter is to “Tweet” about available jobs. You can also connect with people, groups, organizations and networks of interest by “following ” them, or drive “followers” to your Twitter account.

While there are numerous social media sites, the ones above are the most widely used. They are – for the most part – free tools, but do require an investment of time to post, monitor and respond to leads. This time investment, however, is a good way to expand your reach so it is worth adding social networking to your existing recruiting strategy.

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