Social Recruiting - Is Your Neck On the Line?

By Tony Restell

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Are you responsible for making hires in your business? If so, you'll want to consider whether you're sufficiently engaged in social recruiting - because your career may depend on it.

Social Recruiting - is your neck on the line?

Here I'll present some compelling reasons why social recruiting needs to be part of your recruitment mix. I'll also share why I think other recruiting channels are far from dead (contrary to media hype). Lastly I'd like to share a neat report for those of you wanting to gain a better understanding of social recruiting and how it can be implemented in your business.

What Is Social Recruiting?

I'm very conscious that social recruiting may need a little defining here. But there's also the danger this article could get swallowed up tackling that topic alone. So for the purposes of this article, let's describe it simply as recruiting using social interaction technologies that have only become mainstream in the last years. These are the myriad different ways that recruiters can engage candidates today that simply were not in existence just a few years ago.

5 compelling reasons why social recruiting needs to be part of your recruitment mix

Using social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Xing, Google+, Jobvite, Social-Hire and Meeteor, recruiters are now able to:

- Research markets and draw up candidate shortlists in ways that historically were the preserve of headhunting businesses [so eroding the foundations on which recruiting businesses have been built]

- Directly approach shortlist candidates via social channels, an approach that a proportion of target candidates will be receptive to [eroding the recruitment agency business model further]

- Share content and insights about a company, essentially becoming publishers and broadcasters [meaning every staff member has the potential to be an employer brand ambassador]

- Build up a following of engaged prospective hires, who are likely to be more receptive to a recruiter's advances whenever hires are needed [such that recruiters have a pool of talent they can draw on without the need for incremental spend]

- Dramatically increase the effectiveness of referral networks, so that a higher proportion of hires can be sourced from employee recommendations [increasing the likelihood that effective hires are made]

The upshot is that employers can now make more direct hires than before - and source a higher proportion of hires from referral networks. Cost per incremental hire is reduced; more passive candidates can be proactively targeted; and the likelihood of successful long-term hires being made is increased.

Other recruiting channels are far from dead

Believe the media hype and you'll be picturing a world where recruitment agencies disappear and job boards are living off scraps of business for the remainder of their existence. Employers now have all the tools they need to source direct, so how can these other channels survive??

I remember the exact same things being said way back in late 1999, when I was working on the concept for my first job board business. Job boards would be the death knell of recruitment agencies. We all know that that hasn't come to pass - and I imagine just the same will come to pass in the coming years too. Here are some reasons I see no imminent demise for recruitment agencies and job boards:

- Social recruiting is extremely resource intensive and so far from being a cheap option. The major corporates we see really leveraging social media for recruiting purposes are hiring enormous in-house teams to resource these initiatives. Building and nurturing a Twitter following takes a lot of resource. The same goes for Facebook and Google+. LinkedIn too is extremely effective but also costly, once both the licence fees and time investment are fully accounted for [Note: do not go down the social recruiting route in your business without having secured a significant resource commitment]

- It is far far quicker to ramp up recruiting volumes by increasing job board and recruitment agency spend than by ramping up social recruiting efforts. This will become increasingly apparent as the hiring market rebounds. Also of critical importance is the risk of social recruiting. For it requires the hiring of additional permanent recruiting team members to ramp up social recruiting returns. By contrast, using job boards and recruitment agencies is a transactional arrangement. They can be turned on and off, with low exit costs for the employer. Which do you think an employer will be inclined to do when faced with a short-term hiring upturn but longer term uncertainty about the economy? [Note: don't go mothballing those recruitment agency and job board relationships just yet]

- You can't beat a phone call! I've heard lots of anecdotal evidence of employers having to pay out recruitment fees on candidates they themselves had already directly approached on platforms like LinkedIn. How come? Many candidates are just more likely to respond favourably to a personal call from a recruiter than to an approach coming via electronic channels. There's more personal chemistry; greater scope for the candidate to be sold; more opportunities for them to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed [the implication being that social recruiting can only ever deliver a fraction of the hires that would have been achieved with a recruitment agency's resources put behind the same campaign]

Free Social Recruiting Report

This blog came about thanks to Jennifer Saddler, who kindly sent through a report she's just published called "Social Recruitment - How to Use the Internet to Find Great Employees". It seems a great resource to share with you - but equally we didn't feel we should really be publishing something on this topic that didn't contain at least some of our own insights as to what's been happening in the recruitment / social recruiting space.

So I hope my thoughts above have both inspired you to read the report; but also to approach the whole topic of social recruiting with a degree of realism that is lacking from some of the recent media coverage. 

Social Recruitment Guidebook from Jennifer Sadler

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