#JOBS #CERN - hashtags for your career

Last year, CERN’s HR Department leapt ahead of the curve in recruitment techniques by moving into the social media scene. Their success is in the numbers, with applications for CERN jobs increasing significantly.


Not long ago, jobseekers had but two tools they could use to find work: a red pen and a recent newspaper. Nowadays, recruitment services are going right up to their virtual doorstep: posting announcements on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media spheres. The CERN Recruitment Service launched their social media profiles in October 2010, breaking into this new way of recruiting well before many other companies and organisations.

This move into the social media scene was driven by needs in the CERN community. “In conversation with Department Heads, we found that the ‘sourcing’ of candidates required real improvement,” explains James Purvis, Head of the Recruitment Programmes and Monitoring (HR-RPM) group in the HR Department. “In other words, we needed more applicants per post and we needed them for a variety of jobs.”

Although social media is but one branch of the new recruitment strategy, the team is coming at it from every possible angle. “We’re posting regular videos on our dedicated Youtube channel, and we’ve even integrated videos into our vacancy notices to bring them to life; we also have official Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, allowing jobseekers to incorporate their search for work into their social and professional lives,” says Michel Guye-Bergeret, CERN Recruitment and Sourcing specialist.

As a result of the new strategy – of which social media is key – applications for CERN positions have increased.  “Two years ago, we would typically receive 50 applications per vacancy; now we often receive upwards of 300 applications,” says Michel.

While social media has proved successful for CERN Jobs, its global use in recruitment is still in its infancy. Hoping to share techniques and best practices with other recruitment experts, the HR Department organised a day-long round-table seminar. Dubbed the “accidental conference”, the seminar became a smash hit in the recruitment industry before it had even begun. “As soon it was announced, we started receiving a remarkable amount of feedback,” says organiser Catherine Nederman from the HR Department. “In the end, we had over 50 participants attending – including the Head Recruitment Officers from the European Parliament, L’Oreal, and the World Health Organisation – and over 400 professionals participated via a live webcast.” Furthermore, Sara Wyke, CERN recruiter and Web 2.0 technologies enthusiast, ensured that the event was closely followed on Twitter where it reached over 120,000 people with regular tweets posted throughout the day. 

Social media was the topic for the seminar’s morning sessions, opening with a speech by Robert Cailliau, co-creator of the World Wide Web. During the sessions real-life experiences were presented alongside statistical data. “Last year, a survey demonstrated that 10% of job-seekers used Facebook to look for work,” says James. “In 2011, the survey showed a jump to 17% and it’s only expected to grow. We have already found that twitter is driving a significant amount of traffic to the CERN jobs site.” With the web presence of CERN Jobs growing with every click, expect your next job offer to begin with a hashtag.

by Katarina Anthony