Ernst & Young has seen the number of graduate applications increase by 20 per cent this year as a result of its successful graduate recruitment strategy on Facebook.
Seeking to differentiate the firm from its competitors, in February 2008 Ernst & Young became the first professional services firm in Australia to launch a Facebook page. Today, the sponsored page has accumulated more than 12,000 fans.
"Graduates are overloaded with traditional forms of marketing such as brochures, advertising and email. While these have their place, building your employer brand isn't about shouting the loudest, it's about communicating in a way your audience will respond to," said Margie Kwan, Ernst & Young's employer branding senior manager.
"Ernst & Young's number-one channel for graduate recruiting is word of mouth, so it made sense for us to position ourselves where graduates communicate. Through becoming a fan of our Facebook page, graduates are personally endorsing us to their peers."
Recruiting as many as 500 full-time graduates a year, Ernst & Young needs to ensure it receives a high volume of applicants, but Kwan said attracting the right candidates was the main reason for opening the firm up to graduates on Facebook.
Speaking ahead of the Social Media: A Recruitment Revolution conference to be held on 3 December in Melbourne, Kwan said it was important to understand the process of engaging in a two-way dialogue with graduates.
Through Facebook, Ernst & Young provides a window into working with the firm by posting video case studies and facilitating discussion boards where students have the opportunity to ask questions and speak with people who are undertaking a career program with the company.
Even though incorporating social media into an existing recruiting strategy can pay off, recruiters are still approaching with caution.
"An inhibitor for recruiters when it comes to adopting a social media strategy is understanding how to go about it. The key is to have a clear purpose when developing your online presence," Kwan said.