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Friday, September 19, 2014

Social Media Recruitment is a Fallacy

There is no such thing as successful recruiting via social media. This is why so many companies think that they get a poor return on investment (ROI) when their talent acquisition team uses social media to advertise jobs.

There is such a thing as using social media to successfully brand your company and grow your pool of talent organically.

So, how can talent acquisition teams successfully use social media to source and build their pipeline? First, management has to recognize that growing the company's employer brand via social media is a long term game, especially if the company is in a niche market. It's an arena where you get what you give. 

It's also important to recognize that everything you think you know is probably wrong. For example, what do you think the most popular website is for job seekers right now? LinkedIn, right? Wrong. (Sorry, LinkedIn). According to Jobvite's 2014 Job Seeker Survey, it's Facebook.

Some suggestions for growing your talent pool by growing your company's employer brand on social media platforms:

If you are leveraging LinkedIn
  • Join groups that your talent will most likely be using. Participate in those groups. Ask questions and see who gives you answers (and then, of course, research those people and go from there). Engage the users. Also, answer the questions of others. 
  • Social media networks respond positively to people and companies who reach out, instead of just trying to advertise themselves. Publish long-form posts that will appeal to your pool of talent (how to do that successfully is a topic for a different post). Look at who comments and likes your articles. Connect with them. Now you have expanded your network and can source directly from that group or get referrals from them.
  • Don't forget to respond to or to like the comments that people make in response to your posts - remember, social media success is dependent on your level of engagement!
  • Make sure that you have an active and complete company page on LinkedIn.

If you are leveraging Twitter
  • Research the hashtags that are most frequently used by your talent pool or that have to do with the geographic location where you want to find talent. Now you have two choices: use those hashtags in your tweets, or find the people who use those hashtags and do further research to see if they are the fit that you are looking for (or might know someone who is). 
  • Don't just tweet out links to your job openings. No one will follow you. In fact, you might lose followers if that is all you tweet. Tweet interesting articles. Retweet other people's tweets from your industry. 
  • Use Bitly to make your long links short so that you can say more within your 140 character limit. Bitly also lets you track clicks on your links and see what source they came from. 
  • Lastly, and counter-intuitively, don't follow everyone who follows you. You want to have more people following you than people who you follow - it just makes you look better. It will also reduce the noise in your Twitter feed. Follow those people and companies who might tweet something relevant to you.

If you are leveraging Facebook
  • Create a careers page. You can create a separate careers page, or make it a sub-page of the company page. I recommend the latter, so that you can use the main page to engage readers.
  • The best applicants come from referrals. Referrals usually come from friends and family. Guess which social network has the highest concentration of friends and family, according to Mashable and every other industry resource out there? Make sure that your whole company participates in sharing company news and jobs. Their friends and family will like the careers page and the company's network of active and passive candidates will expand as this goes on and on.
  • Create quizzes, contests, and engaging content to engage your audience.
  • Post employee experiences.

If you are leveraging Google+
  • Boolean search, baby. You can boolean search the profiles of the 540 million active monthly users, which is something you can't do on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Build and keep track of your pipeline with Google+ circles and communities. You can also use this to tailor your communications to different groups of talent.
  • eMail prospective talent, even if they haven't listed their email address on their profile!
  • Create a Google+ company page.
  • Host a Google+ hangout. Connect your company's top influencers with your followers via awesome video conference tools!
Still not generating the talent pool that you were hoping for? Get inspired! Be creative! Create a referral contest and offer an awesome reward, like cold hard cash. For example, challenge the social media community to refer qualified candidates to an opening that you're having a hard time filling. Whoever submits the refers the applicant who gets hired will be awarded $2,000.

Have you had successes or failures recruiting on social media? Is there a trick you wish you'd known from the beginning? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below so that we can learn from each other!

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