Social media recruiting is an effective way to make direct connections to savvy individuals and attract employees that fit with your company culture and core values. In fact, in a study conducted by the recruiting software platform specialist Jobvite among 800 HR and talent acquisition professionals, 89% of U.S. companies said they would recruit through social media, up from 83% the prior year. Furthermore, two thirds of the respondents confirm that they have successfully hired a candidate through social networks. With a rating of 7 out of 10, social media ranked fourth in terms of the quality of applicants, behind referrals, internal transfers and direct sourcing but before a company’s own career site.
With over one billion users on Facebook and 200 million on LinkedIn, to give only two examples, social media is undoubtedly a space where the talented applicants are connected and connecting. Combined with available survey results, these figures confirm that social networks give companies a means of proactively reaching the best people to fill vacancies. Below are some key best practices for launching a social recruiting program at your company.
Targeting the Right Social Sites
The social media space is vast, with new platforms, like Pinterest or Highlight, launching regularly. For companies willing to engage, just being present is not enough. It is imperative to think as a unique employer brand. Instead of simply latching on to the rise of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube, a little target marketing is required. Regularly published figures on social network traffic are a good place to start. For instance, LinkedIn is the best site to reach executives experienced in international business; while for a younger and less highly-qualified target group, as well as localized recruiting in distribution or industry, Facebook would be a better option.
One of the best ways to connect with candidates with specific skills is to tap into “interest groups” or professional communities. Whether as a group within a big social network, or completely independent, they bring together experts with experience in a certain sector or with specific know-how. These represent ‘niche’ social networks. In the United States, they exist for a wide range of career groups, from federal employees to healthcare workers. Similarly, certain niches are geographical, for example Viadeo in France, Xing in Germany, Orkut in Brazil.
Developing Your Own Community
Depending on what capabilities are needed, how specific the required skills are, or how competitive the job market is, existing interest groups are limited sources of quality candidates. But companies can attract target potential employees by developing their own communities. A specialized blog, a collaborative forum or a job information site can offer an authentic place to exchange opinions and share experience. The curious will discover the company there, while specialists can compare and contrast their skills and even introduce themselves to your recruiters.
To be visible online, these community forums must make it easy for interested visitors to find them: optimizing search engine visibility, using relevant keywords, and creating links from the corporate site and career websites and the company’s page on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Running communities means abandoning the traditional patterns of communication. The point is not to advertise vacancies. It is all about being proactive, engaging potential candidates in dialog early on and forming a talent pool with an eye on positions that might not even exist yet. Community management around the employer brand is therefore emerging as a new activity for recruiting professionals and some HR departments.
Employees Get Social
Methods to enhance a company’s image online are gradually emerging. Activities do not need to rely on recruitment experts or HR departments alone, but can also engage existing employees to create momentum on social sites. Employees with access to social networks are in an ideal position to act as ambassadors for their company. It may even be in their own professional interest.
Terry Terhark, a recruitment industry expert and my colleague at The RightThing®, an ADP company, often tells clients that one of the best ways to start engaging employees as company ambassadors is to “identify key individuals that get the objective of the brand, are socially savvy and can provide the passion and personality that can help enhance your employment image.” As Terry notes, “Keep in mind that there is no standard method for finding the right people, and look across all departments and positions to maximize results.”
It’s also important to create a firm set of guidelines to help employees keep the message consistent, factually accurate, and appropriate. Ensure employees are properly trained before giving them the official “green light” to represent the company and track and monitor activity. From there, establish an on-going dialogue to help feed key messages and gather feedback on a regular basis.
New HR roles
The employer brand is everyone’s business. Clearly, using social media pushes boundaries and creates new roles for HR teams. In particular, it is up to them to choose which social media platforms they want to use and to create optimal conditions for a sustained, dynamic online representation of the company and its employer brand. Naturally, the results of a company’s “digital” strategy must be measured. Consultants agree on the need to take time to set it up and make minor readjustments before rushing into using indicators. Yet once a strategy has been in place for a while, the number of spontaneous applications sent in by people who have discovered the employer’s brand online or were attracted by it, is a sure sign of social media recruitment success.
This article originally appeared on the ADP@Work Blog.