Social Recruiting: How Ernst & Young Paved the Way

One of the first social media recruitment marketing campaigns ever launched was by Ernst & Young back in early 2006. Facebook had just introduced the first version of what is now a Brand Page. It was called a “Sponsored Group” – and Ernst & Young was one of the first few Brand Marketers to buy one.

Ernest & Young Careers Group - social media recruiting I had joined Facebook as part of the early sales team, and it was my job to start the recruitment advertising vertical. Ernst & Young was our first clients. I led this partnership with them for the next few years. In talking we learned, “one of their biggest hiring needs was competing effectively to recruit top college graduates.”

It was clearly an important strategic decision and they were willing to accept the perceived risk of a new medium. I remember thinking at one point – what a brilliant move –  yet also quite surprising that a traditional professional services firm would be one of the first companies to ever launch into social recruiting.

But launch they did! This sponsored Ernst & Young community group engaged college students pursuing business degrees. They were very successful and received a ton of accolades for their innovation (including a mention in the book, Groundswell). They interacted with students to answer questions, offer advice, set up interviews, and coordinate on-campus events.

And here’s the real benefit: they did this all through one national two-way media channel that their entire US collegiate target audience could join (remember back then Facebook was only college students, but had approximately 90% of them in the US). The Wall Street Journal described it as “trying to reach them in their natural habitat.” And equally as important, a channel that almost anyone else wouldn’t care about either – so it was very focused. Imagine how efficient it was to centralize this effort.

The Ernst & Young Careers page still exists to this day, but now they have dozens of them – focusing on different country markets and business verticals. It has expanded in all directions – just like it has for every other Brand and Marketer. In my opinion, however, the core value remains the same: engaging a targeted community in a fairly open dialogue that subtly influences both potential candidate and employer.

Social marketing is all about enabling the consumer to participate and carry a brand’s message. For an employer, this “Branding” is what potential candidates think of your company. This is very powerful and today involves many channels (social media sites, blogs, search engines, etc).

Further, today there are additional tools which leverage social data to improve matching people to jobs and jobs to people. When social media is used the right way (respecting privacy, appropriate dialogue, etc), it is so much more efficient for everyone involved.  The right job for the right person at the right time – that is what social media recruiting can do for savvy employers.


peter-yewell Peter Yewell is the Founder & CEO of GeneratorLab, makers of  NeedleHunt  – the open graph search engine for Talent.  Previously, he was one of the first 100 employees and part of original sales team at Facebook. He developed and led partnerships within recruitment advertising and also built the first sales channel partnership at Facebook, which focused on employer branding.

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Peter Yewell Founder & CEO, Generator Labs
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