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More than 1/3 of employers are using social media to attract and engage new hires, according to a survey by Careerbuilder.

Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are gaining in popularity for employers who require broad-reaching tools to access a media-savvy consumer base. In addition to basic recruiting, employers are also leveraging these sites to rebuild their crumbling infrastructure that took a hit from the recession.

The survey reports that 35 percent of employers use social media to promote their company. One-quarter (25 percent) of these employers said that they are using social media to connect with clients and find new business, while others are using it to recruit and research potential employees (21 percent), or strengthen their employment brands (13 percent).

The survey was conducted among more than 2,500 employers between May 18 and June 3, 2010.

Twenty-nine percent of organizations with 500 or fewer employees said are using social media to promote their companies, followed by 38 percent of companies with 501 to 1,000 employees and 44 percent of companies with more than 1,000 workers. Comparing industries, leisure and hospitality topped those surveyed with 57 percent saying the use social media to promote their business, followed by IT, (48 percent), retail (43 percent) and sales (41 percent).

When it comes to managing social media strategy, 43 percent of employers report that their marketing department handles social media outreach, followed by public relations (26 percent) and human resources (19 percent). One-quarter (25 percent) of employers have 1-3 people communicating on behalf of their organization, while 7 percent report that 4-5 people handle the work. Eleven percent said that more than six people communicate for their company via social media. Fifty-seven percent said they didn’t know.

Workers report that they are turning to social media sites for more than connecting with friends. They’re also using social media to research companies and jobs. Workers who come across company pages on social media sites shared what they would most like to see, including:

  • Job listings – 35 percent
  • Q&A or fast facts about the organization – 26 percent
  • Information about career paths within the organization – 23 percent
  • Evidence that working at the company is fun – 16 percent
  • Employee testimonials – 16 percent
  • Pictures of company events – 12 percent
  • Video of new products/services – 10 percent
  • Company awards – 9 percent
  • Research or studies that the company has conducted – 9 percent
  • Videos of a day on the job – 8 percent

Workers also shared the biggest turnoffs when encountering a company via social media, including the company’s communication reading like an ad (38 percent), failure to reply to questions (30 percent), failure to regularly post information (22 percent) and removing or filtering public comments (22 percent).

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