Hiring with Social Media – What Are You Waiting for?

By Michael Palmer

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It seems like just yesterday I wrote an article about the evolution of recruiting and how, for all the changes in technology and demographics recruiting hadn’t really changed all that much (at the time), save the need to actively attract talent. It was June 2010. In the years that've followed we’ve seen more evolution, our world has gone social, our roles in recruitment are becoming more sales and marketing focused than ever and our employment brand has become paramount to our ability to attract, engage and hire. 2010 was the beginning of the end for job boards, and though most of the big boards are still around, it’s become rather apparent that they’re not nearly as effective as they once were. For those that haven’t made the leap and are continuing to “post and pray” on job boards, the efficacy of their recruitment function has undoubtedly declined.

Trepidation abounds.  

I see many organizations that are struggling to figure out how to realign their recruitment functions and how to embrace social media. They know that they need to enter the arena and have likely posted a few roles on LinkedIn but are stumped when as to how or where to begin in earnest. It can be overwhelming and frankly a little intimidating. In response to the concerns and trepidation, nothing happens, nothing starts and the chasm between where we are and where we need to be grows more vast, the challenge seems all that much more insurmountable. I once had a golf instructor that when asked, “What’s one thing I can do to improve my game?” replied, “Start playing at a younger age”. I trust the metaphor is appropriate?

There seems to be mindset (at least amongst the HR and Business leaders that I speak to) that recruiting with social media is nothing more than a new job board. Although positions can be posted on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, this is still “post and pray”. If you don’t have an underlying strategy to market and manage your brand, leverage your employee’s referrals, you’re only scratching the surface.

Why dive in?  

So let’s scratch a little harder. According to Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey, 73% (the number one answer) of those surveyed plan to increase their investment in Social Networks to attract talent. Referrals came in second at 63%. I’m willing to bet that social media will, in many cases, power those referral programs.

How can we leverage social media networks?  Apart from posting jobs, how can your organization leverage social media??

Showcase employer brand. 

Of the big three (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter), it is both easy and cost effective (often free) to create a page that highlights your organization and your employment brand. Though it’s easy to have a page, it’s more important to keep a regular stream of relevant content. It does take a commitment to build a following but the return manifests itself with candidates (and potentially customers) that are more knowledgeable about and interested in working for your organization. Promoting your posts, especially ones that are created by you or your company, is an inexpensive way to reach a wider audience.

Search for candidates. 

Though LinkedIn is the clear leader and has the potential to disintermediate third-party recruiters in many industries, Facebook and Twitter can also be a fantastic place to find, reach out to, and engage candidates.
Generate employee referrals. There are some pretty cool tools on the market and some Applicant Tracking Systems (such as Jobvite), which are built with the intent of leveraging social networks to engage your employees to share your roles and drive employee referrals. Your employees are likely on social media and assuming they are engaged employees, you’ll see a dramatic impact from any investment in this area.

Vet candidates (pre and post interview). 

There’s a lot of information out on these networks that may pull you towards or push you away from any given candidate. LinkedIn has recommendations on candidate’s profiles that can be used as preliminary references far earlier in the process. Let’s face it, there are some hires we might avoid using these tools as well…

Monitor and address employment brand issues. 

Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com and a number of other sites provide venues for current, prospective and past employees (and anyone else) to rate your company. In many cases, these sites provide a window to help you improve your employment and candidate experience. Managing these experiences and the message will do wonders to help you attract the best and brightest candidates to your front door.

Are you ready?  If you haven’t yet taken the plunge in earnest, what’s holding you back? Last month I wrote an article entitled, “You’re not on Social Media? Wanna Bet?” where I surmised that if you don’t think you have a presence on social media, or don’t have a strategy, one will be provided for you. Like a court appointed attorney, you may not be getting the best defense. There is no time like the present to enhance your ability to attract, engage and hire. Mark Twain said it best. “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”

Michael helps organizations align and optimize their talent acquisition processes with their overarching business objectives. This includes conducting training, recruitment, social media and candidate experience surveys, implementing processes, systems, tools and teams in order to attract, screen, recruit, select, and onboard engaged employees. Follow him on twitter @hireinsite


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