You’ve been told time and time again how important social media is to recruiting and sourcing candidates. If you’re not convinced yet, here’s even more fuel for the fire:
Identified, a professional social scoring analytics firm, estimates that its clients who efficiently use social media for recruiting have lowered hiring costs in one year by as much as 25 percent.
Sounds great, right? But what if you don’t have a social media presence? Or if you do, how do you know you’re recruiting effectively?
If you’re on your own, here’s what HR and recruiting experts recommend to start:
Tip 1: Import your existing contacts
“The great thing about Facebook and Twitter is that you can import your contact list to find people in your network already on these networks,” says social media consultant Richard Dedor (@RichardDedor).
Once imported, your existing contacts are your base for social recruiting efforts.
Tip 2: Tap into well-connected employees for advice and networks
“Take the most networked of your employees and talk to them about how they build and manage their network. Try to enlist them as an advocate for the company to attract new candidates. Ask them what would be the appropriate way to engage their network to get referrals,” says Dan Arkind, CEO of the applicant tracking system JobScore.com. “What you’re trying to figure out is how to appropriately message them.”
You can’t just ask your rockstar contacts to connect you with everyone they know, says Arkind. Instead, ask to sit down at their computers and look at their social networks. Identify key people and strategize ways to approach them.
Tip 3: Encourage top employees to join talent communities and promote your company
You want all your employees who are active in social media to help your efforts. If you have a great company culture, that won’t be a problem. If not, consider enticing them them with financial incentives, suggests Lauren Smith (@Laurn_Smth), Marketing Director for Ascendify Social Recruiting.
While all employees’ social participation is desirable, focus initially on the best.
“Those people are likely to be harder workers (to look good in front of friends), more loyal (to stay with friends) and a better fit culturally (because it’s made up of their like-minded friends),” Smith says.
Tip 4: Build detailed public profiles
Create a well-written profile with lots of keywords and contact information. It seems simple, but the social landscape is strewn with half-written profiles with non-existing or outdated contact information.
Tip 5: Humanize your professional profile
When you reach out to someone via a social network, the first thing they’ll do is look at your profile.
“If your profile is professional and you can portray that you are an expert in your field, this person is going to feel much more comfortable working with you,” says Dearth.
You can add human elements without compromising professionalism with a friendly picture, some personal notes, or links to other platforms like your blog and Twitter.
Tip 6: Have a recruiting presence, not just a sales presence
Your everyday social communication will help build that brand perception, but it should also exist as basic information on your company’s “About” page.
Tip 7: Hang out in your industry’s niche network
“Whether it is finance, construction, engineering, or as specific as workers with specific credentials, skills, or certifications, social recruiting is one place where one size does not fit all,” says Evan Lesser (@ClearanceJobs), Managing Director of ClearanceJobs. “Niche networks do what Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can’t do – they speak the same language as its members and are designed to fit the unique traits of their audience.”
To determine that niche network, ask your industry’s rock stars where they hang out online.
Tip 8: Use monitoring applications to listen
Even if you already know where to begin, continuously tune in to key conversations in your space. Simply follow key search terms using any of the endless number of social media monitoring applications.
“As a result of listening, you will have learned quite a few things: where potential candidates might be found in your industry, what they are talking about, and who else, if anyone, is trying to engage them,” says Becky Carroll (@bcarroll7) of the Petra Consulting Group.
Tip 9: Help others by sharing content
“Social recruiting should ideally be about people helping people. The more you genuinely help people, the more visibility you get. The more visibility you get, the more you are able to help people,” says ClearanceJobs’ Lesser.
This is core of social media and social recruiting, and it’s how you build and feed your network.
“By building your personal brand on a network, you gain the trust and respect of its members, and your hiring messages will then hold more weight,” Lesser reiterates.
“Don’t feel pressure to always develop original content,” says Ascendify’s Smith. “Simply retweeting articles and videos that might be relevant to your followers is a fast and easy way to stay active and even garner more followers. Often times, people will follow you as a ‘thank you’ for retweeting their content.”
Tip 10: Start on networks you’re already familiar with
If you’re not connected to any group and just want a friendly starting ground, begin with groups with which you already have an association, like a high school or college alumni association, advises Andrew Scarano, VP at TCI-SEARCH.
Even if the group isn’t your core audience, Scarano noted, “It isn’t who you know. It is who do the people you know know.”
Sometimes you’ll be surprised at your discoveries. Karen Biscoe, Founder at Green Search Partner, was able to identify a strong engineering candidate from her online poetry group.
“Something about his prose made me think, ‘Ahhh…the structure of his lines sounds very engineered…hmmm, I wonder,’” she said.
Tip 11: Tackle only one social channel at a time
“Pick one social networking site and focus on building up your connections. Trying to tackle all of them at once will be too overwhelming,” suggests Shana Farnsworth, Delivery Manager for Randstad Technologies.
Tip 12: Be a professional online stalker
“More often than not, if you pick up the phone or send an initial intro email, it won’t get answered. But if you find a way to connect outside of that, you have a better chance,” says Patricia Kenyon (@RecruiterPattiK), Corporate Recruiter for Volt Workforce Solutions. “This is where the professional stalking comes into play.”
To connect with key people, join their groups online, comment on their blog post, or respond to a comment they’ve made. Then intentionally run into them at networking events and comment on your online connection.
Tip 13: Include social media links in your email signature and business card
Just like phone number and email address, it has become commonplace to include links to your social profiles. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, include what’s relevant to you or your company – Skype name, Pinterest page, etc.
Putting that information at people’s fingertips makes it easier to find and follow you, says Viral Workforce’s Doueck.
Tip 14: Get buy-in from the top
To achieve your social recruitment goals, you’re going to need help. Get upper management’s approval to find people you can trust. They can help post about company culture and drive interest through active social engagement.
Also, be cautions using your personal Facebook and Twitter accounts to broadcast jobs. You will need your company’s buy-in and access to company social accounts.
Tip 15: Determine your public voice and persona
“Standing out from the crowd means being able to come across as authentic, genuine, and transparent,” says Matt Charney (@mattcharney), Senior Manager, Online and Social Media Brand for Cornerstone OnDemand.
That requires building an appropriate tone for social communications – for you as an individual and for the entire company. Charney says, “That voice should both represent your company’s values and brand because, as externally facing, they’ll have to augment, rather than contradict, your existing marketing efforts.”
Tip 16: Stay consistent with your social recruiting efforts
“The main threat to social recruiting success is inconsistency,” said Sal Loukos (@Sal_Loukos), Sourcing Team Manager at Seven Step. “To avoid this problem, internally we’ve instituted a social media calendar to ensure our recruiters have a systematic and consistent social activity.”
“People who follow you on social networking sites may lose interest if you are not regularly posting either updates or helpful articles,” says Randstad Technologies’ Farnsworth.
In addition, take a look at the analytics resulting from your efforts and adjust accordingly.
“You need to track your day-to-day realizations based on the content type shared, the social channel, and the outcome,” says Loukos. “This will help you reevaluate your social activity and edit your social actions based on your results.”
Tip 17: Ramp up your presence on Twitter
- First, create a Twitter handle with your company name.
- Or, if your company is a large enterprise with several departments, consider different handles for various parts of the business (e.g., @company_marketingjobs, @company_accountingjobs, @company_engineeringjobs)
- Ask employees to follow your Twitter accounts.
- Follow your talented employees.
- Follow major industry publications.
- Follow your competitors.
- Search for and follow the industry leaders in the areas you’re recruiting.
- Retweet good articles, but don’t just hit the RT button. Add your own verbiage and let your opinion come through.
- Tweet why you like working at your company.
- Create lists to keep track of the people you follow (e.g., “Developers,” “Designers”)
Tip 18: Conversation is key
If you want people to pay attention to you, pay attention to them. One of the best ways to engage in conversation is through a comment, retweet, or a question. If you’re looking for a response from someone, the best way to get it is to simply ask.
“People in this industry love to be asked questions and will go out of their way to pay attention to those who are interested in hearing them speak,” says RJ Owen (@rjowen), Customer Insight and Design Research Lead for EffectiveUI.
Conclusion: Social recruiting doesn’t happen overnight
Social recruiting is a two-way dialogue with no a time limit, explains Paul McDonald (@BuildASignHires), Talent Acquisition Manager for BuildASign.com. “Some of the people may fit an immediate need, but some may require a long-term, ongoing conversation until an appropriate role becomes available, or until the prospect is ready to consider a job change.”