Why do students REALLY turn to social to learn about employers?

Why do students REALLY turn to social to learn about employers?


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Over the last year, I have spoken with hundreds of HR and career center professionals connecting data that informs them of what global student talent finds most attractive in employers and their careers.  When we think that the millennial talent population will make up 75% of the workforce over the next 10 years, it’s becoming more important for employers to get the message right when recruiting this demographic of talent. When asking US students, “Which channels do you use in general to learn about potential employers,” 67% looked to the career site before any other medium in 2015. But year over year, social media continues to climb the charts in popularity. In 2016, it ranked the #1 way in which students find out more information about an employer. Have you ever asked a student why they use social media to learn more about an employer? I think you’ll be surprised by the answer…

Rewind to about a year ago… I’m sitting in Universum’s annual Employer Branding Conference in New York City with over 100 employer branding, campus recruitment and career center pros. A panel of students from New York University were brought in for the final session to share their thoughts about their futures. The Moderator asked a question that had everyone on the edge of their seats, “How do you use social media to learn more about employers?” A young woman was quick to take the microphone. She talked about how she had already locked in a job at a prestigious bank in operations, but why she chose that employer over others was fascinating…

When she saw the content on the career site matched what the bank’s employees shared with her at the career fair she attended, she was more than pleased to see such alignment. But was this really true? Was this the bank’s real culture? She didn’t have the opportunity to spend a day in the life at this bank, and the offer wouldn’t stand forever. How could this student find out what it’s truly like to work for this employer? If there were other current employees shared similar values and career goals as this student? She turned to social media hoping to find the answer.

Sure enough, she found what she was looking for. Authentic stories from employees sharing why they chose to work for this employer. Actual photos of employees in their day to day operations that showcased the diverse culture this bank spoke so much about. The content brought to life the Bank’s value proposition that was stressed to this student the first time she interacted with this company at her university’s career fair. The messages were consistent across multiple channels, with each medium serving its own purpose for educating this, and certainly other, future employees.

So why do so many companies continue to treat social media like a job board? A replica of their career site? Or potentially more damaging, not use it at all? I’ve heard a variety of answers throughout the year, but one thing’s for certain…you are likely losing top talent to competitors if you’re not reflecting your true internal identity on social.

About Brian:

Brian Smith is the Director of Partner Relations, North America at Universum. Prior to leading Data Collection in the U.S. and Canada, Brian was a Key Account Manager, where he was responsible for connecting Fortune 1000 partners with Universum’s market intelligence and digital employer branding solutions. He has a passion for extracting insights from Universum’s data that helps companies make strategic, data-driven decisions when it comes to attracting target talent.

About Universum:

Universum is the global leader in employer branding. Founded in 1988, its goal was to improve communication between students and the employers who want to recruit them. Today, Universum’s mission is to help employers excel in recruitment and retention by ensuring improvements to their employer brand. Universum delivers a full range of services in research, strategic consulting and communication solutions that enable employers to better understand, attract and retain current and future ideal employees. Universum is a trusted partner to over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, and co-operates with more than 2,200 universities worldwide to conduct research on the career and employer preferences of top talent. Universum surveys over 1,500,000 students and professionals worldwide on an annual basis. For more information, go to www.universumglobal.com


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