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How did most of your applicants find you? Did they use a job board or did they walk in and ask one of your team members for an application? More and more employers these days are leveraging their social media outlets (Twitter account, Facebook page, YouTube channel and LinkedIn page) to drive brand awareness and applicants to their businesses.

The hiring process hasn't changed much over the past few decades in our industry, as hourly employees historically applied for jobs in person. In our industry, job boards emerged around 10 years ago in earnest and up until recently seemed to be one of the preferred methods of bringing in applicants. Yet, in the last couple of years, more and more applicants in our industry find out about a company's brand and mission through a company's Twitter account or Facebook page. Employers are now beginning to leverage this traffic and divert it to available jobs on their company website.

I frequently visit with numerous employers every month and continue to hear more and more about applicants finding out about jobs through an employer's social media outlets; especially in the fast casual and quick-service segments where social media runs rampant. With high turnover rates in our industry, employers are often unable to track the effectiveness of their job board spending and produce any measurable ROI.

Applicants complain about job boards requiring them to register to even look at a job posting. Frustrating the Gen X, Y and Millennial crowd is a sure way to lose their attention. In essence, job boards targeting hourly employees are ineffective and dying a slow death. I predict that by 2016 job boards for the restaurant industry will be obsolete as employers continue to leverage and invest in their social media outlets to drive brand awareness and traffic.

So what new solutions will take the place of job boards for hourly workers? The trend continues to accelerate to social media coupled with back-end talent management solutions that filter applicants for employers. This filtering allows employers to 'tunnel' to the right candidate. It makes sense when you realize that 75 percent of Millennials and 30 percent of Baby Boomers have created a profile on a social networking site. (Source: Pew Research)

And with an estimated 2.8 percent of the world's population online at any given time (Source: OCLC Research), the free cost of using social media outlets like Facebook to recruit becomes a no-brainer. Just look at Monster's recent launch of BeKnown at the annual Society for Human Resource Management show in Las Vegas this past weekend. The new tool leverages Facebook's API for networking to applicants. Job boards fear social media and are looking for ways to pivot their business models in an attempt to leverage more and more of the movement toward social media.

Since the NRA's 2011 Industry Forecast states that the restaurant industry is expected to employ 14.1 million people by 2021 – an increase of 1.3 million jobs over the 10-year period – the time to seek out and embrace new ways to reach tomorrow's employees is becoming more and more apparent with the rise of social media and talent management.

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Nate DaPore
Nate DaPore, PeopleMatter President and Chief Executive Officer As the spirited leader of PeopleMatter, Nate is passionate about providing team members, including his own, with a rewarding workplace experience that values creativity and innovation.
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