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Social Media and Graduate Recruiting: Q&A with Sedef Buyukataman

Social media has allowed us to move to a more proactive model of recruitment where we are not just filling specific roles but we’ve been able to build communities of potential candidates who are interested in career opportunities with Cisco. 

Sedef M. Buyukataman, University Relations Manager European & Emerging Markets, Cisco

How has the use of social media changed the way Cisco recruits candidates in Emerging Markets and Europe?

We can now provide candidates with a better view of what we have available today and what position will be coming up in the future.  Social media facilitates conversations and by using tools like Facebook, for example, we can connect at a more personal level and address candidates’ questions directly and also create a broader community. 

Our hiring managers and graduate program alumni are able to join the conversation and this helps them better connect to their target audience to understand the market pool out there.

What is one example of how you use social media to recruit and what have been the outcomes?

Our Facebook community is a prime example of this.  We have an ongoing challenge of attracting females into IT careers (both engineering and non engineering backgrounds). For the month of February we ran a banner ad to target female college students (ages 18-26) in some of our key hiring countries in Europe.  The purpose was to bring more females into our community and make them aware of the types of roles we offer. 

Over the four week period we saw over 300 new females join the group and our overall demographic of female members went from 17% to 24% in this target group.  The ad only cost us 5K USD but the return is that we have more access to potential female candidates so we can show them Cisco’s commitment to Diversity and the portfolio of career opportunities available to women in IT.

What tips would you give others about using Facebook or other tools?  Anything that is unique to Emerging Markets?

I would say across the board that that you get out of Facebook exactly what you put into it – you cannot have a static page with generic information you must tailor to what your audience is looking for – believe me they will tell you when they like or don’t like what you post! 

Keep your communication constant and consistent, answer the questions in a timely manner and you’ll find yourself with a very active community. 

For emerging markets specifically the population needs as much training as possible in career development skills.  We’ve done a few VoD’s on How to write a CV and Interview Skills and have received a very positive flow of feedback.  With an absence of “Careers Services” functions at many universities, the market is eager for learning in the “western” expectations in the recruitment process.  They’re grateful for the learning and it leaves them with a very positive feeling about Cisco.

Any final thoughts?

We launched the Graduate Recruitment fan page in Oct 2009 (the 21st to be exact) and with the exception of the Diversity ads we ran in February, we haven not spent a single cent on advertising,

The group has grown virally through our contacts and personal networks the membership on the global page is well over 4,000 from across the globe and if you add our regional page members into the mix well over 6,000 overall.  All these people are potential new candidates for the next generation at talent at Cisco.  When we post a job, they’re eager to apply!

How are you using social media to attract candidates in Emerging Markets?

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1 Comments.


  1. It is great to see how social media can level the playing field for women. Thanks for sharing these interesting observations about attracting women to Cisco’s facebook site.It is also interesting that you get out of it what you put in, just like most things you have to work at it. But social media is providing an alternate route for people to become engaged that may not have been possible before.

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