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Bill Boorman

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An introduction to social recruitment with Bill Boorman


Social recruiting – myths, legends and a take on reality from Bill Boorman, social recruiter and TRU Events unconference organiser.

You’ve probably heard a lot of noise about social recruiting. From the champions to the naysayers, everyone has a view. With so much written about theory, and what ‘social’ could do, and so few real case studies, it’s hard to know which way to go. I don’t profess to be an expert, but I have spent quite a lot of time looking at social recruiting, and for what it’s worth, here are a few myths, legends and realities to help you find your way:

Myth: Social media is free

While many of the applications and channels, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, are free or low cost, you’re going to need to invest plenty of time and resource in to learning how to make the social channels work for resourcing. You’re going to need to spend plenty of time identifying contacts and then filtering them into a worthwhile network. You also need to spend time being interesting and creating posts that will promote you in the right way. None of this is free.

Myth: Social recruiting is the silver bullet

Social recruiting will not solve all of your recruitment problems. If the right talent is hard to locate using traditional methods, it won’t suddenly get easy. Social recruiting is really about social sourcing. That’s using social channels to locate and attract potential employees, and to promote yourself through employer branding to make people want to work for you. You need certain things to succeed at this. You need, for example, to be a place where people want to work. A good blog or Facebook fan page will not make you an automatic destination of choice. It will, however, give you a platform to talk about the good things you do and get others to do the same. If you’re a good firm, people will say good things and this helps. If you’re a poor firm, don’t expect people to come knocking at your door.

Myth: If you build it they will come

Forget Kevin Costner, he didn’t work in HR. Building a website, blog, fan page or opening a Twitter account will not bring candidates to you automatically. You will have to target and bring people to you. That means keeping all your channels current with plenty of activity. With so much choice of fan pages, Twitter followers, blogs to read and LinkedIn connections, if you don’t create regular and interesting comment, you won’t attract people to you or get them to stay connected.

Truth: Most people are not active in social media channels

That’s actually accurate at the moment, but the numbers are increasing. More people are making social media an active influence on all of their life, and their choice of job is no different. People trust names they recognise and respect. Social channels give you the outlet to get known by the people you want to know, provided you are active, current and providing good content. By staying away from social channels, you are closing off this route. I’d rather keep all routes open to finding the best talent, even if the percentages are smaller. Blend traditional methods with social recruiting into one recruiting strategy.

Myth: It’s a legal minefield

There are quite a few lawyers that see fear over social recruiting as a potential goldmine. That means that there are lots of scare stories doing the rounds. It’s also a convenient way for the naysayers to put in blocks. In reality, there have been very few legal problems that have come about as a result of using social channels for recruitment. The best way to overcome this fear is to get involved and find out for yourself. A clear policy and guidelines incorporating the usual legal points over areas like equal opportunities, discrimination, data protection and the like will prevent any future problems. It is no different to any other communication channel like email. The same simple rules apply.

Truth: Social media channels will continue to grow in popularity and use

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and the other social channels will not be dying any day soon. The business case for using social channels to compliment your recruiting strategy is strong and will become more and more integral to the recruitment process. It won’t go away if you ignore it and you could well be missing out. If time is an issue, look at using interns (or twinterns as they are known!) to do your network building and to post regular content. We have implemented this successfully with a few clients recently. Take a good look at what is working now and what your competitors are doing, and most importantly, get the right guides to help you understand it. A lot of their material is available free via their blogs and websites.

Kick start your connections

The four people I recommend looking at in the UK (along with me) are:

Matt Aldermetashift

Matt has been in and around social recruiting since the early days and has a strong marketing track record. Matt is recognised as one of the pioneers and publishes real case studies from around the world to highlight success stories and best practice.

Andy HeadworthSirona Consulting

Andy publishes a hugely popular blog ‘Sirona says’ that contains lots of gems on best practice and introductions to new applications and techniques. Andy comes from a recruiting background and has a good track record in large volume sourcing and recruiting via social channels. Sirona help with implementation and delivery from strategy to blog writing.

Peter GoldHire Strategies

Well known blogger and ultra-marathon runner Peter has long championed direct sourcing and using technology for talent attraction. An ex-recruiter, Peter promotes tested techniques and is the author of the ‘Corporate Recruiter’s Handbook’ which gives practical advice and support in learning social recruiting as well as running hugely popular workshops across the country.

Paul HarrisonCarve Consulting

Paul runs engagement consultancy Carve and is the champion of listening before engaging with plenty of experience of recruiting and operating social media campaigns business to business.

You will find any of the above approachable, knowledgeable and very willing to help if you’re thinking about social recruiting. These four would be a good place to start your connections.

Be the ambassadors of your employer brand.

Bill Boorman
You can get in touch with Bill on Twitter: @billboorman or email him in the old fashioned way: [email protected]



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