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Ask Haley: Will Social Media be the Death of Staffing?

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Q: A recent issue of Staffing Industry Review says that social media may otherwise kill need for staffing companies due to its ability to bypass agencies allowing clients to directly talk to potential employees. Do you find this true and what do you suggest we do to become more “social media savvy” to control this action?

A: Don’t close the doors to your firm just yet!

Over the years, there have been several new technologies that were supposed to be the “death of the staffing industry.”  First it was the Internet. Then job boards. Then VMS (Vendor Management Systems). And now it’s social media.

Well, the good news is that none of these things have killed staffing so far, and in my opinion, they won’t in the future either.  So, why do I feel this way?  Simple. As a staffing firm, you provide a very valuable service to bridge the gap between employer and employee. Social media does nothing to change this value.

What is your value?

  • You help companies find talent faster. Social media can’t do a better job than an experienced recruiter.
  • You give companies more flexibility. Companies can’t staff up and down with direct hires as efficiently.
  • You help companies save money by giving them flexibility, and reducing hiring and personnel management costs.
  • You help employers manage hiring and personnel management risks, a benefit they lose with direct hiring.
  • You provide companies with the RIGHT people. Your role as a talent evaluator is critical, and so far, no technology has been able to replace a staffing firm’s ability to vet candidates.

These are just a few of the reasons why social media, and direct hiring by employers, will not replace the value staffing firms deliver.

But does this mean you don’t need to worry about social media?

No, it doesn’t.

Social media already plays a big role in the staffing industry, and that role is going to continue to increase in the coming years. Social media has already greatly improved most staffing company’s ability to find talent. LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to find people with the skills your clients demand.  Facebook is just in its infancy as a recruiting tool, but it is proving to generate faster responses to job posts than any other source, including company websites and the big job boards. And staffing company blogs are playing a big role in attracting both employers and job seekers to company websites, which is dramatically reducing sales and recruiting costs.

So what can your firm do to be more social media savvy?

(Insert Haley Marketing sales pitch here!)

In all seriousness, I’d invite you to watch the webinars we have done on social media marketing (see below). I’d also suggest you read the book Social Boom by Jeffrey Gitomer.  In terms of some specific ideas, you should consider the following:

  • Developing a web strategy to integrate your site with social media, and turn your website into a online “hub” for sharing content, improving search engine rankings, and attracting employers and job seekers.
  • Learn as much as you can about using LinkedIn for direct recruiting, and as a tool to develop and nurture relationships with HR professionals, executives and front line supervisors in your local market.
  • Experiment with Facebook.  Create a company page and customize it to allow you to promote jobs and create more interaction with your temps and placed candidates.
  • Post jobs to Twitter.  I think the jury is out in regard to the value of Twitter for the staffing industry, but you can use it as a mechanism to promote local jobs at little to no cost.
  • Develop a strategy for “listening.” This refers to using social media to see what’s being said about your firm.  Use tools like Google Alerts and Yelp, to see what people are saying about your company (be sure you know how you want to respond if you find an unhappy temp complaining!).

I hope these ideas help.  And if you want more specific strategies for your firm, please call us at 1.888.696.2900.  Here are the webinar links I mentioned:



David Searns

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