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Online Recruitment Magazine Feature: Advice on social media recruitment strategies

By Lauren Mackelden, Features Editor, Onrec Magazine

By Lauren Mackelden, Features Editor, Onrec Magazine

Social media is supposedly the latest must-do in online recruiting- but is it really? Shockingly, the latest survey by career community Glassdoor showed employers really don't use it that much – in fact 73% of employees say their employer does not promote their employment brand on social media or they are unaware of their efforts. They also found that around 1 in 10 employees secured their most recent interview from an employee referral, so no social media there then! Glassdoor perceives a big opportunity for employers to turn up the volume on social media and to build employee awareness of their recruiting efforts – they say the outcome could dramatically increase the number of employee referrals and the quality of candidates. So here's some advice from those in the know on how employers could really get their social act together and achieve some impressive results.

In Britain,  David Henry, VP of Marketing for Monster UK & Ireland,  recognises the industry's  embrace of the potential of social media, saying: “We’re now starting to see more organisations tapping into the opportunities and advantages that social channels present. For most businesses, the rising popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites presents a great opportunity." However, as with many online tools,  Henry acknowledges proving return on investment (ROI) can be difficult, saying some businesses are being put off by the fact that figures showing jobseekers are influenced by a variety of social channels, not just their social and professional networks, are hard to come by. He says: "For anybody using social well, it will form part of an integrated strategy not a standalone recruitment source.  Without sophisticated attribution modeling and tracking, placing an ROI on the activity is challenging.  However when done well, and as part of a well thought out, fully integrated plan, social media can have great results in recruitment.  Monster in fact successfully recruited its own social media manager via Facebook." Henry points out that applications like BeKnown on Facebook allow brands to develop a presence in the professional networking space and can be used to tap into Facebook’s large audience reach – that's 30 million people in the UK and 800 million people worldwide!

Henry says that first and foremost it’s about content: "To start and contribute to a conversation, you have to have something meaningful and relevant to say.  It is important to set clear goals for what you want to achieve and why you want to do it." He warns that  sometimes businesses seem to use social for social's sake, rather than because their target is actually there and wanting to hear from them. Finally, Henry states that it’s important for businesses to understand the increasingly blurred lines between marketing and recruitment. "The increase in social media engagement means that all areas of a business need to take one tone of voice and act in an authentic manner online.”

CWJobs  is certainly responding to the trend towards social media by currently undergoing a process of migrating the content generated by its Twitter feed towards providing valuable insights about the industry to help and inform jobseekers.  Their director Richard Nott  hopes that by building the brand’s reputation online as experts in IT trends, job seekers will know to come to them to search and apply for the very best IT roles. In this  sector, this approach has added benefits for recruiters too – Nott says "In attracting jobseekers with IT insights, the candidates coming to us are already more engaged, on top of the latest trends and are ultimately more likely to be quality candidates."

As has been the case with online recruitment generally, America seems ahead of the game regarding social media. Chauncey Archer, Managing Partner of sticky IT declares "Social media is here to stay. Most of our clients here in the States are using it in some capacity in their business strategy." Archer believes "Social media is another source to build credibility about your company, while providing a branding opportunity through imagery to project a consistent look and messaging to further your brand.  You want clients and candidates who are researching you to see a unified, consistent message everywhere they turn.  It builds trust, legitimacy, and confidence in your operation." Archer also suggests the great component of social media is that it is a completely opt-in medium, as people have to choose to follow or connect with you:  "This makes for a more legitimately interested network for you to communicate to – thus vetting client companies and candidates who are serious about your firm."

Archer's company, Sticky IT has seen Twitter and Facebook to be more candidate friendly channels – ideal for posting job postings.  "The quick job posts and teasers capture attention and stay top of mind in the feeds.  Facebook is a particularly great medium for internal recruitment.  If you are looking to grow, highlighting your company’s culture and team events on Facebook can solidify your place as a premier employer and help you net talent for your own flourishing company." However,  Archer says LinkedIn is proving to be more of a client medium at the moment.  "Posting blogs from your website or other useful industry related articles will help you flex your expertise in the minds of employers." Archer sees Youtube as a mix of both.  "Since this is the most visual communication - the video can help you tell your story to all audiences in a very personal, insightful way. Video job orders, recruiter video bios, and office tours can all be great ways to paint a more vivid picture of your company."

A possible reason for less awareness of social media is that employers must constantly create fresh and engaging content.  As Stéphane Le Viet, CEO of  Work4 Labs comments, there is more to 'social recruiting' on networks like Facebook than simply creating a compelling brand and broadcasting your jobs. Le Viet believes the 'if you build it, they will come' mentality only works if you give people a reason to come. According to Le Viet, the best marketers know that you only sell your products or services when you can prove that those products or services will provide value to your customers’ lives; so why should 'selling' your careers or your talent pool be any different for your potential candidates?

"For example, when a national transportation company needed to quickly and affordably fill several hourly driver positions, it turned to Facebook. Without the marketing allure of a big-name consumer brand, the transportation company knew that it would have to rely on more than name recognition or exciting promotions to find and source its candidates. Using Facebook ads that targeted users who matched the trucking company’s desired profile, the company drew users to the career page--and then kept them there with engaging content that was designed specifically for those potential candidates. 

The trucking company was able to increase its “likes” by 13x, building a talent pool of both passive and active candidates who came to the fan page because it was designed not to appeal to the masses, but specifically to the people the company wanted to employ. Those users became fans (and many became applicants), because they felt they were receiving value from the way the company chose to engage with them." Any company can build a fan page, says Le Viet--but in order to convert fans into candidates, it must learn how to properly market its corporate culture, its message, and its jobs." 

As you get started with social recruiting, here are a few quick tips from Work4Labs  to keep in mind: 

  1. Establish a consistent brand message. (Know what you want to say and why you want to say it.)
  2. Define your target audience. (Know who you’re speaking to and why you’re speaking to them.) 
  3. Tailor your brand message for your target audience. (Meet your audience on its terms.)
  4. Keep the conversation going and provide more information than just a list of your open jobs. (Build engagement by building relationships.)

Le Viet concludes that from trucking companies to fashion retailers, the future of recruiting is decidedly social. "It’s not a matter of if you put your jobs on platforms like Facebook, but when. But in order to be successful with your social recruiting strategy, you must make your Facebook career site into more than a fan page--have conversations about what your candidates care about, and turn the page into a home for them, to which they want to consistently return for information, for entertainment, for your company culture, and, ultimately, for your careers." 

To read the full magazine, click here