By Alex Pitts, Applause IT

As any HR or recruitment consultant will tell you the most popular time of year to increase your staff ratio is during the summer. This is also the busiest time of year for job seekers as you have a wealth of new graduates ready to make their impression on the real world after all those years of studying.

This may seem like the ideal scenario on paper and give the impression you will be able to pick and choose from all that availability. Unfortunately life never quite works out like that and many SME managers’ report that their recruitment process has been pretty woeful. It's worth pointing out that one of the main factors in this is the fact that they are up against the big boys with their massive recruitment budgets and tempting packages but the methods you choose to advertise your vacancies also plays a part.

Most SMEs, understandably, forgo the usual recruitment route and post their vacancies on several of the numerous online job portals. Unfortunately, as far as that hot new fresh off the press talent is concerned these are largely ignored. Those who are actively searching will be sticking to specialist sites while those exploring their options will not be actively pursuing many leads. Another problem is that this is where the people head who need to secure their next fortnight's benefit by proving they are actively seeking work.

Yet another problem with these sites, as if the above wasn't enough, is that they are passive. You post, you wait, and are unable to take any positive action of chase up promising leads. So where does this leave you? Social media that's where. You need to be where the candidates are to attract their attention and as far as SMEs are concerned that is social media platforms.

Twitter, LinkedIn and, dare we say it Facebook, are the prime hunting grounds during the summer months for new blood. They bring with them a huge range of benefits including cost effectiveness with even sponsored ads more often than not ending up being a fraction of the cost of other, more traditional methods of recruitment.

Another bonus is that you have a practical guarantee that the people you are targeting are going to see your vacancies. One way in particular of doing this is to use the targeted advertising available on Facebook which allows you to refine your search right down to the age and social demographics of who you are looking for.

The third reason, and some say most important, is that you are engaging with people on a platform where they go to communicate and actively seek information. In short, you are catching their attention when they have their guard down. There are numerous studies which show how much more receptive to new ideas or opportunities people are when they are relaxing as opposed to being actively engaged in specific activities, and job hunting is no different.

You are also being afforded the luxury of interacting with potential employees and being proactive. On LinkedIn, for example, you no longer have to sit back and just see the people who have viewed your vacancy as a statistic. You can view their profiles and, if you like the profile of an individual, message them and see if they are interested in your role. You can also advertise on a pay per click basis on LinkedIn, targeting based on job titles and locations ensuring you reach only relevant people.

By reaching out to potential candidates through social media you are greatly increasing your chances of snaring the best possible candidates who may initially have thought they were destined for a different role. You can also offer those who took it for granted that their niche would be leading down the corporate career path an alternative direction they may not have even considered.