Internet Marketing 

Social Recruiting: Cases and Future of Recruiting in Japan

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook started to popularlize in Japan recently, first in marketing and PR. Lately a few companies started to leverage social media in recruiting as well.

In this article, a few examples of how social media are used in recruiting new graduates by Japanese companies are introduced.

1. Case 1: Honda

When it comes to using social media in marketing such companies as UniQlo are mentioned but when it comes to using social media in recruiting new graduates, Honda needs to be mentioned.

Honda’s case is a good example to show that social media such as Facebook can be an excellent tool to communicate with new graduates around the globe with minimum cost with thorough preparation such as developing and cascading operation guidelines and encouraging employees to regularly participate.

1) What is the stance of the company in leveraging social media?

Honda has posted in their website on March 11, 2011 in Japanese saying that the company is to leverage social media, especially Facebook (and including Twitter, YouTube and UStream), to deliver information about the company online worldwide, thus the company is to open their official account of Facebook and Twitter.

Honda has been leveraging social media before March 2011 in recruiting; the company pened a Facebook Page in December 2010 called “Waigaya” for recruiting new graduates. Waigaya is the term expressing Honda’s corporate culture of everyone freely being able to express their opinion regardless of career, age etc. Facebook is the tool to realize Waigaya online.

2) Why the company decided to leverage Facebook in recruiting new graduates?

Waigawa concept has been implemented offline in the real world a few years ago in recruiting new graduates; employees (recruiters) have been meeting face-to-race new graduates and freely exchanging opinion which helped new graduates better understanding the company. However, the implementation offline in the real world exclusively would limit candidates who can benefit from Waigaya, geologically etc. This is why the company decided to implement it online leveraging Facebook.

Chat function of Facebook is used at a specific time that is decided beforehand in proactive online discussion and information/opinion sharing. The company says that there are few unhealthy comments and constructive discussion is taken place attributing to the fact that basically anonymous user is not accepted on Facebook. The company also says that there are even accesses from Japanese students studying abroad.

2. Case 2: Trenders

Trenders is a Japanese marketing company that recently became hot with the announcement that the company is to adopt “Facebook allocation” in new graduate recruiting for new graduates who are to join the company from April 2012 (i.e. recruiting started in the autumn of 2010 and offer made in Spring 2011), exclusively for active Facebook users i.e. students with over 200 Facebook friends.

1) What is “Facebook allocation” system in recruiting new graduates?

It is a system in which new graduate candidates active on Facebook (with over 200 friends) are allowed to skip earlier processes including attending the first seminar in which company information is provided, resume screening and the first interview. This means that the candidates that meet the criteria can directly start the process from the second interview if they choose to do so.

2) Why the company decided to adopt “Facebook allocation” system?

It is because according to the official announcement made after the adoption, “students with high social competency seemed to have high real communication competency as well”. That is, students with high social media literacy tend to be active in real world communities and/or have studied abroad meaning international experience. In addition, students who proactively obtained information leveraging social media were mostly highly evaluated in interviews regarding proactive self expression.

As a result, the company concludes that they succeeded in recruiting excellent new graduates with the “Facebook allocation” system.

3. Case 3: Gulliver International

Gulliver International is a Japanese leading company specialized in buying and selling used cars. The company has been leveraging Twitter.

The company opened a website aligning/co-related with Twitter called “G!G2012”. This is an online community for people whose Twitter accounts are opened to share information and exchange opinions. Such Twitter accounts were opened for multiple HR recruiting mangers, employees who recently joined the company and new graduates who had given the offer.

4. The author’s final thoughts

It is amazing how social media drastically started to spread in the past two years or so and although still only a few innovative, leading companies online, some companies started to leverage social media in recruiting new graduates since autumn 2010, opening the door to social recruiting. The trend is likely to speed up; in an article of Nikkei, a leading newspaper in Japan specialized in business and economy, it was mentioned that some new graduates started to say “we better be on Facebook because it seems that many HR recruiting managers are interested in knowing who are on Facebook”.

The author sees great potential in social recruiting, in recruiting new graduates and mid careers because it opens opportunities for candidates to interact with employees of the companies they are interested in other than HR recruiting managers. Also it allows HR recruiting managers to follow up during the recruiting process and after the offer is given.

Social recruiting requires “openness and transparency” both for the companies (potential employers) and candidates (potential employees), as well as developing and cascading guidelines of leveraging social media (in recruiting) for companies.

Last but not least, it is quite possible that social recruiting may trigger paradigm shift in recruiting and job hunting, and in job market mechanism.

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