Why Your Social Recruiting Strategy Is Failing You

Why Your Social Recruiting Strategy Is Failing You

Michael Altiero

social recruitment best practices2015 is gearing up to be an important and game-changing year for recruiting. With Google giving mobile-friendly sites a boost in searches and more millennial candidates searching for jobs online, the way recruiters engage and attract top talent is changing. One such example is social recruiting.

Why is social recruiting important? For starters, 14.4 million job seekers have used social networks to find jobs, and 73% of companies have successfully hired a candidate with social media. While these numbers are fine and good, they mean absolutely nothing if recruiters don’t know how to use social media for recruiting—which seems to happen more often than not.

Why is that the case? When it comes to social recruiting, there are generally three perspectives that come into play: the candidate perspective, the recruiter perspective, and the overall company perspective (beyond the recruiting department).

These three perspectives are all connected to the social recruiting strategy and impact the candidate experience—and where problems arise is when one or more of them do not align.

The Candidate Perspective

The vast majority of millennial job seekers are on social media. They use it to both actively and passively search for positions. When it comes to the job search, they expect to be able to use social networks to aid in their hunt.

This means that prior to ever applying, they anticipate being able to find your company and current employees on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and most other social sites to get an idea of the company culture and to see if they would be a fit.

That being said, it is in the best interest of companies to be active on social networks. Not having a presence in the social-sphere will raise red flags, and may cause potential candidates to look at other opportunities, and even worse, possibly even lead them to write negative reviews on sites such as Glassdoor!

Candidates also want to connect with employees at a company they are applying to so they can network, and maybe get a referral. When was the last time you went for a job interview, and did not look up your interviewer on LinkedIn? The fact is, in today’s digital world, this has become a standard job search practice. If your employees (especially recruiters!) are not on social media, you may be in danger of missing out on talent.

The Recruiter Perspective

When it comes to recruiters, social media is a grey area. Some recruiters understand the value in social recruiting and are very active on social networks engaging and attracting talent. Most, however, have no idea how to use social media and are lost when it comes to using it to benefit talent acquisition. Why is that the case? To me, it boils down to two different viewpoints on social media in recruiting: Some recruiters/HR executives see value in social media, and others believe it is a waste of time.

I think the reason why you see this disagreement on social recruiting stems from the way recruiters and talent acquisition teams use social media. You generally see two ways recruiters use social.

The first is by engaging and interacting with candidates, in hopes of building relationships with candidates, possibly even before they apply for a position. The second, which pains me every time I see it, is essentially the complete opposite of the first method. Tweeting/posting only job reqs and ignoring the social aspect of social media.

If you are using method number two, there is a reason why you are not seeing any results, and why your higher-ups view social recruiting as a waste of time. The ONLY way to be a successful social recruiter is to understand the candidate perspective and the importance of relationship building.

Steve Levy, an HR industry expert and influencer, says it best: “Social recruiting is about engaging and interacting, NOT retweeting, liking or thumbs-upping. It’s not a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, but one aspect of developing a long-term relationship built upon trust and honesty.”

The Overall Company Perspective (Beyond HR)

This is the most complex perspective, as it generally involves a lot of moving parts and a lot of decision makers. I list it on here because many times this perspective is the one that hinders HR’s ability to properly and effectively utilize social recruiting.

The problem tends to be that companies fall into two categories: those that embrace social media, and those who are afraid of it. Many companies are worried that using social media can hurt their brand and can cause potential backlash if not used correctly. If a company as a whole dislikes social media, chances are HR will feel the blow, because even if they want to be active on social, company policies or views may restrict them from doing so.

But all is not doom-and-gloom when it comes to companies and social media. Many do embrace social networks and use them to increase the reach of their brand. This viewpoint trickles down to HR, where many companies now require recruiters to have social media knowledge and profiles. Most even sponsor social training for HR and provide social media best practices and guidelines to help recruiters and employees. These are companies that understand the added value of social media. Not just from a recruiting standpoint but from a business perspective.

Aligning Your Social Recruiting Strategy

The key takeaway I’ve noticed in my time in social media and talent acquisition is that in order for any organization to benefit from social recruiting the company perspective and HR perspective must be aligned. If they’re not, it is very hard for social media to make a difference in recruiting.

When the company and HR are on the same page, candidates see the outcome. They can find and network with employees on social networks, and use social media to get an understanding of the culture of the company they are thinking about applying to. To sum it all up, when the business and HR are on the same page with social media, the candidate experience is improved, and you see better recruiting results.
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