What is the ROI of Social Recruiting?

By The Recruiting Division

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In “Sustainable Staffing,” Theo Rokos and Greg Rokos quote Dr. John Sullivan saying “social media tools are one of the top most powerful recruiting tools.” He claims that 95 percent of all social media recruiting occurs on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Candidates who come in through social media are typically more interested in and involved with a company’s business, values, and brand than those coming in through other avenues, simply because of the participatory nature of social media. They may be following your company on Facebook or Twitter, be in some of the same Linkedin groups or Google Plus circles with employees of your company, or you may have found them through a social aggregator that matched your position’s keywords to keywords on their resumes. Yet for all of the apparent value of social media, calculating the ROI is not an easy task.

What is Social Recruiting, Really?

Social recruiting is a term that encompasses a variety of social media avenues for sourcing and recruiting candidates. It may just be a blog post on a company’s website that mentions they need five more customer service representatives to expand their customer service department. It could be an alternative to or in addition to job board postings. Or it could be a strategic plan to develop corporate profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that are managed by marketing and human resources to build an employer brand and support the corporate culture. Some social recruiting methods may not have much cost at all, such as a recruiter’s Twitter account used to announce job openings; while others, such as a LinkedIn Recruiter subscription, may be a significant expense.

What’s the Real ROI?

John Zappe found himself in discussions of the value and ROI of social media in recruiting at a recent ERE Recruiting Conference & Expo. Recruiting leaders discussing social media acknowledged it as a marketing and promotional tool and remarked that the real value of social media in recruiting is as a channel of influence for branding and reputation building. When companies get active in social media, they have an ongoing series of opportunities to engage candidates, start conversations and get known, and that reflects in an increase in quality candidates and hires.

It’s Hard to Quanify, But Try

You may think it’s difficult to calculate the Return on Investment of social recruiting, but it’s a worthwhile recruiting metric to develop. The easiest way to start is to look at your number and cost of hires for the year before your company created a business Facebook page or Twitter account versus the numbers for the year of social media engagement. How many applicants came in from the newspaper ad or job board posting and how many came in from the Facebook post about your search for new sales reps? Subtract the cost of getting set up on Facebook versus the cost of a newspaper employment ad or a job board posting.

Now you’re getting an idea of social recruiting’s return on investment. By measuring which social media recruiting tasks and activities are the most productive for your organization, you can better decide which ones to focus on. Develop metrics such as number of candidates per social media profile (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), number of quality hires per type of recruiting campaign (traditional, social media, retained search), and number of recruiting hours per type of recruiting campaign.

Returning to John Zappe’s experience at the ERE Recruiting Conference & Expo and recruiting leaders’ discussions of social recruiting: they were generally in agreement that social recruiting saves agency fees, produces higher quality candidates, and contributes to talent pipeline development while requiring constant effort and is somewhat difficult to track. But they all agreed that “you can’t not be there” (in social media) because you can’t be competitive if you aren’t. 

Andrew Greenberg is the founder and managing partner of Contract Recruiter, a leader in On-Demand recruitment solutions.

Image Credit: Recite


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