Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to optimize social media to recruit talents

Your company’s reputation and brand are not enough to attract or retain a talented and skilled workforce. An innovative, future-oriented organization must build a smarter workforce.

Flying back home from a conference recently, I was engaged in an interesting although argumentative conversation with the person sitting next to me. An HR executive in his late 40s for a law firm, he told me he was caught in a generational fight with younger associates on how to recruit and maintain talents in his firm. He argued that the reputation of a company, combined with the high number of job seekers vs. a global slim job offering should be enough to find the right talents. I replied sarcastically that as much as most job postings are no longer publicly advertised in various platforms (newspapers, online job platforms such as Monster and CareerBuilder), and that more than 80% of positions are filled by referral and networking, the same logic also applies to job seekers. The new generations entering the job market no longer respond to tens or even hundreds of job postings. On the contrary, through online and live networking, job seekers are able to narrow down their search and apply to the very jobs and companies that appeal to them, not relying merely on a company’s reputation.

As job or talent search is a matter of supply and demand, it is easy to assume that more job seekers than jobs means that companies should not have trouble finding the right talents, should they? Interestingly, 65 percent of global companies are having problems finding employees with the skills they need. A recent report lists talent shortage as the #2 risk for businesses globally. The evidence is clear. The need for superior talent is increasing and organizations across the globe recognize that the best candidates are worth fighting for. The question is: how does your organization attract, retain and empower the right talent for the right position at the right time?

Your company’s reputation and brand are not enough to attract or retain a talented and skilled workforce. An innovative, future-oriented organization must build a smarter workforce.

With Generation Y entering the job market massively, and next-in-line Generation Z being raised on social media, companies must go beyond “just” having an online presence. A robust social media strategy will not only help your company develop brand awareness, but will also help recruit talents, gather customer insights, maximize customer service and retention.

Recent social media stats show that more than 60% of adults are connected to one or more social networks, while 23% of online time is spent entirely on social networking activities.

Online recruiting must be integrated in a company’s marketing strategy. A solid plan, a target audience, metrics and data are all required for effective social recruiting. With the introduction of Brand Pages on Facebook, your organization isn’t any different from those selling a product — instead, you're advertising a place of work.

Through brand management, content creation and engagement, candidates and employers alike see the value of social interaction for talent acquisition. It’s instantly measurable and targeted to something that older processes simply can’t match.

How can your company actually use social media for recruitment purposes? To answer that question you have to break down social media by channels.

LinkedIn for sourcing

The world’s largest professional network is what first comes to mind when speaking social media and careers. 43% of all LinkedIn users are based in the US, with 61 million users. Your business can use LinkedIn in several ways. There is the Company Page where you can share updates and LinkedIn users can follow your company to stay informed. This is completely free but at the moment few businesses have actually claimed their pages.

IBM tops the rank in the US with more than 580,000 followers, who are likely to be good future recruits or know people to recommend for jobs at the company.

Another useful tool on LinkedIn is running a group around a topic. Groups on LinkedIn serve as discussion forums and a place to exchange useful information. HP has successfully built a community of followers that drove significant increases in brand awareness and advocacy.

Then there are of course personal profiles on LinkedIn. The key to success here is to engage your employees. Your own workforce is the best place to start adding followers – after all, they’re your biggest advocates. Encourage them to create and complete LinkedIn profiles – once they include your company name, they automatically become followers of your Company Page. Ask them to include a link to the Company Page in their email signatures.

LinkedIn is extremely useful for sourcing and approaching new talent. Good recruiters navigate through the LinkedIn database using their upgraded accounts, 3rd party tools and networking skills. You won’t find user profiles with more professional information than on LinkedIn, making this a primary tool for any recruiter.

Facebook for brand awareness

With 158 855 340 monthly active users in the United States, FB has become to most used social medium. Companies are using Facebook to discover talent but are not hiring directly from the site. However, they are creating FB pages and promoting them, as well as jobs, through the Facebook Ads platform. Recruiters are using Facebook groups, advertising and their corporate Facebook careers page in order to source candidates. For instance, Marriott’s Jobs and Careers page has an application that lets a job seeker run his own Marriott Hotel kitchen, which increases their page engagement and attracts more people to “like” the company.

The goal here is not to hire talents through Facebook, but rather use FB as an additional channel to LinkedIn or Twitter to increase your brand exposure, share information about the company’s value, career opportunities, benefits… in short – share why your company is a great place to work!

Twitter to keep the conversation going

With 140 million users in the US, Twitter has positioned itself as the second-biggest social networking site after Facebook. The optimal usage of Twitter while recruiting talent is to use it as a conversation tool. This is a great way to keep your followers engaged, spread your story, share updates. You can answer candidates’ questions, wish them good luck for interviews… 

You can also use Twitter to post job entries through your own accounts, use third party companies, such as Tweet My Jobs and Twit Job Search, to promote your listings…

Encourage your employees to tweet about their (positive) experience working in your company.

By having individual Twitter accounts for recruiters you will humanize the whole process and give applicants a single point of contact.

YouTube for more branding

The world’s largest video sharing community and second largest search engine is all about branding. Everyone consumes content from YouTube but we still see very few companies producing videos for recruiting purposes.  Some applicants want to read articles, others want to speak to current employees, some love watching videos about ‘A day in the life of [insert job title here]‘. Companies like UPS have successfully used YouTube for large recruitment campaigns where they show what it’s like to work for that company. UPS also proved that every employee within a company has a story to be told, by leveraging these stories on video you make prospective applicants feel like they know your employees already.


Social media doesn’t need to be the absolute center of your recruitment strategy, but it would be ill-advised to ignore the trend completely. 

In HR and recruitment strategy, social media should be used to develop your brand across multiple channels, share your company’s story, empower your employees to spread their positive experience working for you, engage your followers and potential hires. 

These channels are changing and advancing the ways we approach finding the best talent and taking it to a more personal, open and collaborative experience

What do you think? Does using social media mean less work for recruiting, or just more effective implementation of traditional ideas?

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