A recent report claims most HR directors consider social media platforms to be ineffective as recruitment tools.
Since then, other experts have argued that this is largely because these tools are used ineffectively.
The debate looks set to continue, but one thing is for certain; businesses intending to employ social media for recruitment should start by building a strategy that can lead them through the process.
Using social media for recruitment can seriously reduce your recruiting costs, increase your reach and allow you to access a broader range of qualified talent. It doesn’t even require an overhaul of systems as the platforms have already been created, ready for organisations to make the most of them.
However, for the most part social media should be used to complement traditional recruitment methods and shouldn’t be relied on to replace them. Creating an integrated strategy can lead to unbeatable results.
The first point – and it is a key one – is to design your social media strategy in the same way you would any business strategy. You will need to consider every opportunity, and potential pitfall, no matter how unlikely they seem. After all, it’s impossible to avoid pitfalls if you don’t anticipate them in advance.
When going through this process, ask yourself, should we be “doing” social recruiting at all? Where do we start? And once you have decided which route to take, how will you measure your progress and continue your success?
Debating the best platform is an article in itself, but each of the main contenders, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, has positive attributes. No matter which platform you focus your efforts on, the foundations of your strategy will remain the same:
Researching potential hires
Researching your potential hires through social media is extremely useful, and can provide you with the information you need to successfully approach a candidate.
If you take the time to view a person’s visible social media profiles you will be able to make a more targeted approach, one which will appeal to their interests and explain why they would be a good fit for your company. Appeal to a passive candidate on a personal level and you will be more likely to catch their attention.
One issue, as far as research is concerned, is discrimination. This is easily avoidable and is something that most companies shouldn’t be worried about as their general hiring processes are designed to be fair and ethical. However, if you do have any concerns regarding discrimination, or of being accused of it, the simplest thing to do is seek legal advice.
Aside from that, ensure that anyone working on recruitment keeps thorough records of how they discover candidates and the criteria they apply when hiring them. You should be able to prove that the decisions you make are unbiased and consistent with advertised roles.
Devise an engaging career site
Remember, an effective social media strategy doesn’t end on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn. Once you have gained the interest of a candidate they will want to research everything they can about your company. The best place for them to do this is you corporate website, or even better, your career portal.
There are certain things candidates always want to know, so it’s important that they can find the information easily, and without frustration.
First and foremost, what does your company actually do? Strip down the jargon and explain your product/service, what you stand for, what the culture is like and what advancement opportunities are available.
The more information the better as far as a candidate is concerned. You want them to be engaged, and an interesting career portal will help you achieve this. This initial engagement is one of the most crucial moments for job seekers.
Another way connect with candidates using your career portal is through a blog. But if you go down this route, remember it needs to be updated regularly. Your blog is a window into your company. It gives you a personality and leads to feelings of trust for your candidates but it requires commitment to grow and flourish.
People expect to be able to find out what it is like to work for a company and they respect the companies that make that process easy for them. Blogs can do just that.
Measure your success
An ROI calculation for social media is something that is in great demand. While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, the success metrics that you use for other media can easily be applied to the social sphere.
There are plenty of performance indicators to consider, but the ones you choose will depend on the answers to the question you asked at the beginning of the recruitment process – how do you define success?
Is it an increase in visitors or visits to your website? How many fans or followers your platforms have generated? How many click throughs your LinkedIn or Facebook ads have received? Or how many candidates each platform has successfully sourced?
Keep platforms active
Once you have started down the path to social media recruitment, you need to keep your platforms active. Leaving accounts to languish is a mistake made by many companies, and for prospective candidates, this can be a huge turn-off. It may seem like a lot of effort but luckily there are a lot of tools available to help you with this.
A quick Google will reveal more, but Tweetdeck, which works across the three key platforms, is a great place to start. They can help you upload new content without having to go to each site individually.
Whether you already have a social media strategy already in place or not, the fact is that social media is changing, and will continue to change the recruitment landscape. Some HR Directors believe it is ineffectual at the moment – I guarantee they will change their minds.
By not leveraging social media for recruitment you risk not being able to tap into the vast network of qualified and well-educated professionals, who now look to social media, and not necessarily offline recruitment agencies, to help them take their next career step.
Nicholas Roi is managing director of SaaS-based talent management applications, SilkRoad technology