It’s natural to wonder if trends really live up to the hype. Nowhere is this more apparent than in social recruiting. Some say recruiting has always been social, others say social recruiting wastes valuable resources and still more quibble about the true definition of social recruiting at all! Some have even concluded that the practice of fielding your candidates through social is a waste of time. In this case, we don’t think the argument sticks. Here’s why:
Blaming the Social Tools
One of the arguments in the Katrina Kibben’s (@KatrinaKibben) article is that creating a separate social media profile on Twitter or Facebook for your jobs page is unnecessary, since most people looking at those networks aren’t looking for jobs there. This is partly true, but social media isn’t limited to those networks, and across the board, people are looking for jobs on social media. They’re just not reaching Twitter. They are, however, looking at Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+, each for different reasons. They look at Pinterest to learn about companies they first may have heard about on Google+, and then apply for jobs on LinkedIn. In fact, many candidates do a search for hashtags around popular jobs (or like this young woman) use Twitter to alert executives in highly visible companies about her desire for the gig (read this story, it’s excellent!)
It’s difficult to keep track of those particular metrics — how many people who applied on LinkedIn first saw an ad on Pinterest, for example? But they’re all important to getting more candidates, whether we can track the numbers on these outlets or not. And while having a company Twitter account dedicated to jobs might be considered a waste, it’s also not difficult to do relative to other forms of recruiting. Social recruiting is still a powerful asset for many companies, but like most tools, it’s about how you use them.
Social Helps Centralize
One point we do agree with Kibben on is how powerful of a tool Glassdoor is. Their new Company Updates system helps candidates keep tabs on companies they’re interested in. Companies want to get as many eyes on their job ads as possible, and so creating multiple outlets for candidates to stumble on jobs is important. By creating various accounts on social networks and responding to the ways they interact with each other (as we mention above), you can create a funnel that leads them to your job site. This helps you centralize your sourcing process while also casting a wider net.
So maybe Twitter doesn’t work as a recruiting tool in every instance. There are other networks that make up the social web too. Facebook exposes companies to a huge pool of candidates, LinkedIn has professional histories around white collar workers and Twitter is a great search engine for promising professionals in nearly every field. But that’s the tip of the iceberg with social recruiting, what about professional networks like Behance for creatives, StackOverflow for coders or any number of smaller niche professional social networks.
If you’re recruiting where everyone is looking and interacting (actively or not), you’re more than likely to get more candidates. As long as you’re sending them all to the right place at the end of the day and it isn’t costing you thousands to maintain those accounts, there’s little harm in doing so. In fact, it’s likely to help net you candidates you wouldn’t have otherwise found and increase the visibility of your employer brand along the way, something every recruiter SHOULD want.
Social Recruiting Scales
Besides the main point, one particular suggestion we see often is to keep candidates in the loop by replacing social share buttons on job ads with live help chat boxes. As Kibben explains:
"Even if that’s a lower level associate, intern or even an office manager, they can probably answer most questions about what it’s like to work at a company and what to expect from the hiring process – which is WAY more social than, say, a row of buttons prompting them to tell the entire world that they’re looking for a new job."
It’s true that being able to connect directly with someone at the company during a job search would lead to more engaged candidates. The issue with this approach, however, is that it does not scale; at larger companies, representatives would be inundated with questions about the job from the multitude of candidates applying for every position. Only 2% of candidates get interviews with the companies they apply to, and with good reason. For many companies, becoming this familiar with candidates at the first stage of the process isn’t feasible, even if it’s only fielding questions.
In terms of social referrals, the numbers are clear. Using your employees as ambassadors to find your next great hire only gets better when you add social into the mix. And yes, we get to count that as part of the social recruiting benefits. SHRM’s Mark Feffer cites the CareerXRoads Report on Source of Hire saying:
"What’s changed is how these referrals are generated. Today, the reach of every employee has been extended through social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook—so much so that Gerry Crispin, principal and co-founder of CareerXroads and co-author of the Source of Hire report, says, “It’s hard to imagine that a social connection isn’t involved” in most of the referrals represented by that 20 percent. In fact, he believes that number may understate the reality, since many times a social referral may be reported as having come from another channel. For example, a recruiter might label a hire as being from a direct source when in fact it resulted from a LinkedIn connection’s network."
It would be nice to have the chance to become intimately familiar with every candidate. But at larger companies, it just doesn’t work and can negatively impact candidate experience if mishandled. Career fairs and other methods of recruitment aren’t going away just because social recruiting is the current trend, either. Social is a powerful tool that can help your talent funnel, and it scales perfectly. So no, social recruiting is NOT a waste of time.
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