Social media works well for advertising store job opportunities, says Liz Morrell

When it comes to advertising job vacancies retailers are increasingly turning to social media to promote their roles and find new staff. And though it may be in its experimental stage it is a market that retailers should be aware of because it offers a number of advantages, from being low cost to the immediacy of impact.

New Look recruitment manager Lee Evans says the fashion retailer has 142,500 fans on Facebook and 3,500 followers on its New Look careers Twitter feed - meaning both channels are important sources for proactive potential employees interested in the fashion retail brand.

He tweets occasional vacancies on Twitter and believes it is something that retailers should be doing more of. “I will put the odd role up there but it has to be something relevant to the audience. I am unlikely to find a lingerie buyer on there for instance,” he says.

For the retailer though, Twitter and Facebook aren’t big recruitment channels in their own right, he believes they will become so and that they are already important.

“It is more of a communications channel at the moment but it would be naive to ignore it because we have a sizeable number of people following us. It’s not to be sniffed at,” he says.

He says it is also something he would like to see stores do more of to help to advertise and manage local recruitment drives.

At the Metrocentre in Gateshead Twitter is an important recruitment channel to manage local vacancies. Mike Adie is a JobCentre Plus manager based at the centre and is working with Gateshead Council and owners Capital Shopping Centres to help support retailers through the recession with job-ready training and employment trials and the Twitter feed has developed out of the department’s work in the area.

“We are a rapid response recruitment team,” he says. “If we are working with an employer within the centre we will take their vacancy and put it on our Twitter feed Metrocentrejobs. Our research shows that 70% to 80% of 18 to 24 year olds use social networking to do some sort of job research and for a lot of retailers that is the age bracket they are targeting.” He and his team then match CVs to the relevant retailers and pass them on.

He says posting the vacancies on Twitter has a number of advantages from immediacy to relevance of audience. “From a retailer’s point of view we are targeting a certain audience and it’s a faster way of communicating than putting something in their window. It gives them a better choice of recruitment,” he says.

Social media will grow in importance in the recruitment market but as the Metrocentre example shows it is one that probably works best on a regional or store level.