With the competition increasing for top talent, social media has become an essential tool for sourcing and recruiting the best candidates. More than 90 percent of recruiters now use social networking platforms to identify, recruit and retain ideal employees. The benefits of using social media extend beyond access to a broader pool of talent, whether a business is searing for contract workers or permanent hires. For companies that take advantage of this strategy, the value and ROI can be significant.

Higher quality candidates
Many companies report an increase in the quality of candidates sourced through social media networks, for several potential reasons. People actively engaged in social media tend to be more tech savvy and knowledgeable about current business trends. Candidates who are referred to hiring managers by current employees are more productive employees and stay longer at a company.

Lower costs, higher return on investment
Sourcing and recruiting candidates via social media sites is less expensive than traditional search methods, such as job fairs or newspaper advertisements. Many social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are free to set up, and HR services companies can take advantage of LinkedIn's premium talent search tools for a relatively modest price. In addition to cost savings, the return on investment can be significant. In a 2013 Jobvite survey, 60 percent of companies estimate the annual return on investment for recruiting a single hire via social media to be $20,000 per year while 20 percent report an ROI of $90,000.

Competitive edge
Social media can give HR outsourcing services and staffing agencies insight into potential candidates and the hiring managers who have hired them to find suitable employees, which can give them a competitive advantage over other recruiting firms. Finding connections between candidates and hiring managers may result in greater candidate-to-employee conversion rates. Shared interests, former employers, volunteer organizations, academic backgrounds, personality traits and online social groups provide common foundation between the hiring manager and candidate, which can lay the groundwork for a successful interview.

Shortens hiring time
Social media recruiting techniques can shorten the time-to-hire. First, through social media hiring campaigns, recruiters can communicate with potential talent better and faster, and candidates can respond immediately, which can foster a good relationship. Second, acceptance rates are higher among applicants who share common interests, values or work styles with a company or hiring manager, which means the vacancy will be filled more quickly.

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