The use of social media for networking purposes seems to be going from strength to strength as the more tech-savvy advisers use various portals as their primary lead generation tools.
But what about a role for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other sites – no longer a young person’s fad – in recruiting staff, or indeed boosting a professional profile?
Candidate quality is said to improve significantly when social media is used for recruitment and a level of engagement with social networks at a corporate level indicates a more modern culture, one that is increasingly likely to attract fresh talent.
Phil Calvert, founder of LifeTalk, has been keeping a close eye on specialist recruitment firms’ use of Twitter and thinks they are missing a trick.
“It needs more than just banging a job ad out on Twitter via an RSS feed. There is little human interaction and no conversation,” he says.
With a noticeable rise in job ads for paraplanners lately, Calvert thinks social networks could be used for recommending former colleagues and discussing the culture of previous employers.
Coast Specialist Recruitment senior executive consultant Karen Halliday believes the use of social media – LinkedIn in particular – is the future for recruitment.
“Things have changed a lot,” she says. “Particularly for more senior jobs, around which we see a lot more activity via LinkedIn, it has become much more acceptable to explore candidates’ profiles in advance.
“With the different packages available, you can contact a lot more people directly.”
She adds many people are networking directly via social media, speeding up the process through better targeting. Often much of the interview process is complete before an employer and candidate have met face to face, using Skype, for example.
“This helps geographically as well because people can be vetted for jobs in parts of the country that you may not otherwise operate in.”
Towry encourages its advisers to build strong LinkedIn profiles, demonstrating their expertise and experience, to connect with both personal and professional contacts.
A Towry spokesman says: “It is important with LinkedIn to show the financial solutions that you can offer people, not just saying what your job title is. For example, advisers may use a subheading along the lines of ‘Helping clients to manage their wealth and make the right decisions about their financial future.’ This demonstrates a passion for what you do, rather than just writing the title ‘Wealth adviser’.”
Director at Social i Media Anna Marsden trains recruiters and companies on their social media strategy. She says with around 80 per cent of LinkedIn users not actively seeking a new position, it is already a cse of fishing in a richer talent pool.
“These people are likely to be happy and successful in their current roles but could be persuaded to go elsewhere.”
She adds while recruiters can better refine their searches, utilising premium packages to create “one massive CRM system”, individuals can maximise their impact via their LinkedIn profile alone.
“As a specialist in financial services, make the most of the ‘rich text’ functionality,” says Marsden. “You can now blog and add links to relevant articles, pictures and videos. This will help you stand out from the crowd.
“Personalise your URL, giving yourself better search engine optimisation when people are looking in your field.”
Her final tip? “Protect your contacts. You’ve spent years building up a network of hundreds, or even thousands, of people. Don’t share it with your competitors.”
Sam Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
Paul Richardson, managing partner at Concept Financial Planning
We’ve got a blog and we can put the job ads on there when we are looking to recruit. With the right building blocks in place, you have a channel through which to flow your information all around the world. Why wouldn’t you use social media? You could go through recruitment agencies and the like but ultimately you want to match the employer, and the job, with the candidate. It depends who you are looking for but you need to be seen to be “hanging out” in the same forums as those you wish to attract. It’s not just about Twitter; it’s about LinkedIn and other social media.