27 September, 2014

Telecom firms relying on social media to hire talent

Prakash Mehra, a 39-year-old telecom professional, was looking for a change and sent his resume to several companies. He got a call one morning from a human resources (HR) executive at a potential employer, who said his LinkedIn profile did not match his CV and that he needed to update it. Mehra eventually got the job.

HR executives at telecom companies are increasingly using social media sites Facebook and Twitter, apart from professional networks such as LinkedIn, as reference points in the recruitment process. According to analysts, hiring through social media is expected to grow by more than 50% this year from 2013.

A critical factor behind this trend is generation-next's comfort and adaptability with social media, says Ashok Ramchandran, Vodafone India's HR director.

MTS India, the Indian unit of Russia's Sistema JSFC, recruited 40% of its employees through the social media this year, up from 22% in 2013, according to Tarun Katyal, the company's chief HR officer. Other hiring channels used by MTS include 29% through referrals, 24% through direct recruitments and 7% through external consultants. The company has over 2,000 employees.

The availability of profiles of people on websites allows employers to get to know a lot about candidates before an interaction, according to Amit Das, HR head at Reliance Communications, the fourth-largest telecom operator in the country, which has about 9,000 employees.

Experts say that this gives employers a fair chance to review how well a candidate will fit into the organisational culture, which is a critical factor in talent retention. Updated statuses and work profiles on network sites provide recruiters information that helps them to reach out to the right people for a specific job, they add.

"Benefits with using social media are the availability of a large pool of professionals, easy references and acknowledgements, cost savings and ability to do analysis and an ability to find trends in hiring," says Anne Birgitte Kverum, Uninor's HR head.

Other advantages include identifying candidates for succession planning, building employee engagement, due diligence on prospective recruits and also finding ways of building job roles and responsibilities in keeping with trends and industry alignments, she added.

There is also a branding element involved in social media hiring.

"When companies hire through social media, it allows them to promote their employer's brand through this tool," says Shiv Agrawal, founder of HeadHonchos.com. Sandeep Gandhi, Aircel's chief HR officer, agrees.

Telecom sector's hiring increased 36% in August from a year earlier, according to the Naukri Job Speak Index.