Social Recruitment in Hospitality: #HelpWanted

By Miranda Kitterlin, Ph.D. Assoc. Professor, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, FIU | March 16, 2014

Co-authored by Carole Dodge, Director of Employee Services, Lynn University

Let's take a moment to travel back in time. The year is 2005. You probably had (or wanted) a pair of flare jeans, an obsession with American Idol, an mp3 player packed with singles by Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, and the Black Eyed Peas, and, of course, a list of top 5 friends on your MySpace page. Now fast forward to 2013. You probably lost that mp3 player long ago (if not, it may be time to upgrade), and you probably have not have logged into MySpace in years. But if you're one of the 500 million people around the globe who use Facebook, social media is probably still a significant part of your life.

Having revolutionized our method of communication, social media networks play major roles in both our personal and professional lives. Faced with the constant challenge of seeking and finding top talent, the use of social recruitment can be a valuable addition to any company's tool box, and the use of social recruitment is becoming widespread in companies across the globe. In fact, according to a Harvard Business study, organizations who do not adopt social media for their recruitment needs will be out of business in the next five years.

With regards to the lodging industry, many originally viewed social media as an investment in guest attraction. Recent studies show, however, that at least 50% of hospitality industry recruiters rely on this platform in their recruiting and selection process. The use of social recruitment was listed in the HCareers top predictions for hospitality trends in 2013, and some studies posit that employers must adopt this practice in order to remain competitive in their hiring practices.

Recruiters and HR professionals who are not using social media defend their choices by saying that they prefer the traditional method. However, with the tech savvy generation of workers gradually replacing their previous generations, the definition of "traditional" is apt to change.

One can easily rattle off the strengths and opportunities provided by the use of online recruiting: shortened time to fill due to the increased and accelerated information flow, reduced recruiting costs, advancement of employment brand, and the opportunity to cast a wider applicant net, just to name the obvious few. The use of social media sites also provides an added benefit of two-way marketing communication between companies and potential applicants, as both entities can create web-based profiles to showcase themselves to one another.

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