Accenture plans to recruit 50,000 people this year, with 40% sourced through social media and websites such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
In the UK, Accenture decided to set up its social media recruitment initiatives in-house with existing workers developed as experts and used to train others.
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The UK operation is using sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to help it fight the war for talent, says Suzy Style, Accenture's head of recruitment.
Style says social media enables a business to build relationships with professionals who could at some point be the perfect employee.
"Currently there is a war for talent and we believe an organisation's ability to develop long-term relationships with candidates will become part of their competitiveness," says Style. "The recruitment industry has changed and our sourcing strategy has changed.
"Social media gives us the ability to build networks with people and find niche skills we might not nornally see."
She says the company will continue to use traditional recruitment methods but needs to broaden its net. Social media helps ensure it can reach all potential recruits and as a result have better choice.
Accenture decided to retrain staff that demonstrated a good understanding of social media. These staff then became the trainers of larger groups of staff. Style says the company had to set this new strategy up in a short period and it chose not to buy external consultancy. "We had people that could become experts quite quickly and roll out this training to others," she says.
What Accenture UK is doing:
1. Monitoring CVs on social networking sites Twitter and LinkedIn.
2. Making Accenture jobs available for application on social media platforms.
3. Creating and building qualitative talent community with long-term two-way relationships.
Already there are clear indications of where different social media vehicles fit in recruitment.
So far, Style says it is becoming clear that LinkedIn is a good way of building relationships with high-end consultants and Twitter is good for developing contacts with graduates.
Within the 50,000 wanted recruits, Accenture is looking for a diverse group of employees, including telecom consultants, finance experts and software specialists. Style says social media is particularly good for recruiting technology consultants because they tend to be in existing networks.
Social media is growing as a recruitment tool. LinkedIn recently announced that although it has been offering recruitment services in Europe for two years, it is increasing its focus on and investment in these services. LinkedIn said the number of job postings and applications triple in the past year.
One of LinkedIn's customers, Microsoft, has had success looking for people with niche skills to fill roles on short notice.
It is clear that social media and recruitment are comfortable bedfellows. Recruitment companies, businesses and jobseekers can all benefit from its use. If used successfully in Accenture's current recruitment push, where it will run alongside traditional recruitment, it could become an industry benchmark.