By Andy Summer, Managing Director, Monster.co.uk

The way we search for jobs is constantly evolving and has historically been shaped by major technological developments. For example, in the nineteenth century the railways opened up new frontiers, driving candidates to out-of-town jobs. But recent history holds clues too; we don’t have to think back too far to a time when CVs were sent by post and we simply didn’t have the world of possibilities brought to us from the dot-com boom.

With 97 per cent of UK millennials on Facebook and 500 million tweets sent globally every day, it is clear that the rise of social media is the latest catalyst for the next big change in the job hunting process. We check our mobile phones on average every 20 minutes and social media is ever increasingly important in our day-to-day lives, helping us stay in touch with old friends, telling us about breaking news, and even advising on the best local restaurant to choose. It’s only natural that recruiters are beginning to tap into the social media phenomena and recognise the benefit it can bring in matching the right candidates to the right job.

Much like the typewriter brought us CVs, social media is having a big impact on the way we secure the best job opportunities. There is now a range of tools available to recruiters that utilise social media to help reach the most relevant candidates in a more personal way than has been previously possible. Thanks to technology, the recruitment process is becoming much simpler for both recruiters and candidates.

The hunt for the best job and the most suitable candidate has evolved so that we can now take a job opportunity and send it via social media to targeted recipients. It’s effectively working the crowdsourcing model in reverse. Rather than waiting for an individual to make a positive decision to join a crowd, social media helps recruiters identify both active and passive individuals who could be part of that crowd. Of course the idea isn’t to entirely automate the selection process, but rather to introduce efficiencies for the recruiter and help ensure passive candidates are aware of job opportunities available to them. Potential employers can share relevant and interesting vacancies in real-time, allowing users to receive the notification on-the-go and in a bite-size chunk rather than being overloaded with detail.

By reaching out to a pool of passive candidates, technology of this kind allows recruiters to interact with those who otherwise may not consider a particular opportunity. This can be especially ground-breaking for sectors that are dominated by one particular type of candidate. For example, last year women accounted for less than a fifth of the UK’s IT workforce and yet there were over one million related jobs advertised. Making a wider range of suitable candidates aware of a job via social media may well form part of the solution to filling shortages such as these, avoiding talented individuals self-filtering or waiting for workers to decide to look for their next move.

As online and offline lives continue to merge, and more and more candidates are sourced via social networks, it’s crucial that businesses identify how innovative social media technology can be and the positive impact it can have on their recruiting strategy. Making sure we’re harnessing the tools at our fingertips will help ensure we’re connecting the right people with the right jobs, wherever they may be.