Is Social Media Killing the Placement Ad? And Should It?

With so many companies using the social web these days, do they need to place ads to find new employees or can they just tap into their social networks? Sure, there will always be those specialized or high-level searches that require a recruiter. But, for the kind of openings you’d place an ad for five years ago, can you get better results just using social media now? 

Recently, one of the young account executives at the marketing firm where I work left for a new job. With the connections and channels our social media and PR team had, along with the company’s social network, we decided to try finding the right person using just social media.  We wrote a description of what we were looking for and posted it on The Yaffe Group Facebook page. Then we tweeted that link out via our company Twitter account. 

Along with using the company social media channels, a small group of us sent out the link via our own Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Oddly enough, we didn’t use LinkedIn, the traditional job search social network. Within a short amount of time, we got 34 qualified resumes, did five phone interviews, four in person and found our perfect hire. She said she discovered the position through a friend who saw the job posted on Facebook. She hasn’t been here a week and she’s already written a blog post about the experience.

Using social media brings in social media savvy people. In our case, we were looking for someone who had social media skills. It wasn’t an integral part of her job, but we want all our new people to be able to use and talk social with our clients. So, maybe it worked well for us because that was part of the requirements.

 The last two people we brought into our company before this were found through social media as well – but they were a social media strategist and a public relations person. They were also people I had met in real life at social media events, after connecting virtually. However, I don’t know if I’ll ever see the point in placing another placement ad, when we’ve had such success finding great people through social media channels.

The pros for using a mix of social and traditional ads. Some of the people I’ve talked to say there are reasons to still throw a placement ad in the mix. It depends on what kind of position you’re looking to fill, how technical it is. Not everyone is on social media and not everyone is online. And if you don’t have a very big social network, you may not have enough connections to use this method. There’s also the argument that you need to post it for Equal Opportunity reasons.  

Then there’s the “uncover every stone” approach. “I think you need to cast your net as wide as possible. Depending on the position, there are some specific job boards which are very good,” says HR consultant Susan Raemer-Rodriguez.

What do you think? I believe we got the best person for the position using our social capital without spending any money on placement ads. A lot of people in our networks let us know they were passing along the job post to someone else – so word of mouth reached those who were not connected to us or using social media themselves.  Have you tried this method? Share your stories in the comments below.


Photo by Don Shall <>