Recruiting isn’t an easy job. To find the best candidates, you’re constantly calling and emailing, attending conferences, studying industry trends, and trying to anticipate your client and company needs. It’s even more challenging for technical recruiters, who must keep up with changing frameworks, languages, and hardware development while continually hunting for candidates who don’t always want to be found.
And somehow, in the midst of all this, you’re supposed to figure out how to make social recruiting work because, you know, everyone in the tech industry is on Facebook, Twitter, GitHub, and other platforms.
Take heart, though: Social recruiting doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you keep things in perspective. “Social media is just another way for recruiters to practice their craft,” observed Torin Ellis, a diversity and recruiting strategist in Baltimore. “It’s got to fit into your foundational recruiting skills. I still believe in the phone, but social media lets me get in front of more people.”
For Ellis, social media is something you simply build into your routine in an appropriate way. Defining “appropriate” is the tough part, since it takes a degree of experimentation to determine which channels align closely with your audience and which tools help you use those channels to the greatest effect. But, he added: “It’s less about the skill, and more about the will.”
So let’s get started.
Your First Steps
Don’t complicate things for yourself. Emily Ceskavich, the Orlando, Fla.-based social media marketing manager at Social-Hire.com, a social marketing agency serving recruiting teams, recommends beginning with one channel so you can be consistently active.
“Find tools that will allow you to cut down the time you’re spending on things that can be automated or better organized than copy and paste, so you’ll have more time to focus on high-impact activities such as engaging your audience and building relationships with the influencers they already trust and hold in high regard,” she said.
Day-to-day, this means spending your time networking in the communities your candidates are hanging out in—such as industry tweetchats, blog communities or tech sites such as GitHub or Stack Overflow—or finding upcoming conferences via hashtags. “It’s better to start with 15 minutes every day and work your way up rather than start with an hour and find that it’s too much for you to maintain,” she said.
Ellis agrees. “Grab one channel for 30 days. Learn its nuances. Take notes, measure your activity, then re-calibrate,” he said. After that, you can decide whether to stick with the channel, add another, or look for new avenues entirely. Because social media is ultimately about engaging, Ellis suggests using Twitter as your first platform, then adding GitHub when you’re ready.
Tools Make Life Easier
As Ceskavich mentioned, an important part of integrating social recruiting into your workflow is tools. While there’s a wide range available, she particularly likes these:
- Buffer allows you to schedule your posts in advance. Ceskavich termed it “a great ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ tool,” and it works with Pinterest and Instagram accounts.
- If you use Buffer, BulkBuffer streamlines the process of inputting content by allowing you to add more than 100 pieces of content into your queue via .csv or text files. “Instead of having to add them in one-by-one, you can upload to multiple profiles across multiple social media networks at once, which cuts down a lot of time,” Ceskavich said.
- Hootsuite offers scheduling features, but it’s also useful for monitoring multiple social media accounts. “Instead of having to log into each profile, you can set them up in Hootsuite and then respond and engage your audience in the platform,” Ceskavich said.
- Audiense is a tool for getting the most out of Twitter. Ceskavich particularly likes how it allows you to discover new Twitter users using Boolean search and filters such as activity level and other criteria. That helps you avoid wasting time engaging or following accounts that aren’t relevant, she noted. Its analytics and tracking features let you measure the growth and performance of your content.
As with any other recruiting method, getting the most out of social media takes time, thought, and experimentation. Just how much time you should devote to it will depend on how much success you have with it. We already know that tech pros are active in social media, but the only way to determine its personal value is for you is to begin experimenting and see what kind of results you generate.
“I can’t say I’ve made lots of placements through social media,” Ellis observed, “but I’ve built a reputation as a trusted and transparent resource. That makes relationships easier to build.”
In the end, your success will depend on using your target candidates’ channels in an engaging way. Pick a channel, jump in, track your results, and adjust your approach accordingly. That’s how you’ll discover where social recruiting fits into your workflow, and how much priority you should give it.