Successful recruiters know what job seekers want – the most qualified candidates.
And for job seekers, finding a job is increasingly about who you know (versus only what you know). Though job boards are still a popular source, only 15 percent of job seekers were hired through job boards, according to a 2014 U.S. News and World Report. (But that was 2014... I wasn't able to find a more recent data point however from what I hear those numbers don’t appear to have changed much since then.)
Networking – whether that’s via the company’s employee referral programs or social media – is where much of today’s recruitment is occurring. According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, more than one-third of organizations have begun targeting smartphone users for recruitment, and 84 percent are using social media to do so. Match those numbers with 57 percent of job seekers using social media to research employers and job openings and it’s clear that companies need to invest in social recruitment.
What Is Social Recruiting?
I know this might sound like an old conversation, but the reality is that organizations aren’t taking full advantage of what a social recruiting strategy can bring to their recruitment efforts. Recruiting from social media isn’t as simple as posting your job on Twitter and waiting for applications to start rolling in. It requires forethought and execution. Here are the seven key considerations when developing your company’s social recruiting strategy:
1. Build an agile recruiting team. A common statement I’m hearing from recruiters is “We have ten days to two weeks to engage with a candidate or we’ve lost them.” According to the digital marketing agency, Meshworking, an organization’s recruiting team must have clear roles and responsibilities from the outset, and they must have the agility to move quickly. In addition, companies need to ensure that they have honest discussions about their social recruiting goals.
2. Select the right platform for your message. Posting on every social media site isn’t typically a good idea; different social media sites involve different ways of communicating, and they cater to different audiences. Do your research about user demographics, then pick one or two sites to drive traffic to. The fewer sites you drive traffic to, the easier it is to maintain them and keep the content relevant to your intended audience. But, this doesn’t mean you can never change social sites (see #7).
3. Create compelling content. Speaking of content, knowing who you’re speaking to and what skills are important for the job you’re hiring for allows you to craft the right message in the right way, to better resonate with your intended audience. A simple link to a job posting can garner some interest, but it’s important to remember that the current unemployment rate is lower than it’s been in decades. Fewer people looking for jobs means they are more willing to shop around for the right job, and it’s incumbent upon employers to “sell” job seekers on their companies.
4. Focus on your company’s “wow” factor. Another recommendation that Meshworking makes is for organizations to emphasize the “wow” factors of their company. Ask yourself, “What’s the company’s mission statement and values? What makes the company unique? Has the company won any awards?” Combining this kind of content with employee testimonials can build both a sense excitement and transparency, which can attract job seekers to your company.
5. Test your online application process. It’s important to make sure the company’s application process works the way you think it does…and the way it’s supposed to. If an applicant clicks through to a social media post and lands on a career website that’s clumsy or slow, you’re likely to lose many potential applicants. According to a study from recruitment company, Appcast, recruiters can boost conversion rates by up to 365 percent by reducing the length of the application process to just five minutes or less.
6. Evaluate candidate fit. First and foremost, organizations need to be careful about using social media for unfair hiring or bias. There can be advantages in connecting with job seekers on social media. Organizations can see what kinds of topics applicants talk about, what their interests are, whether they behave professionally and who they’re connected to. Of course, none of this is a substitute for an in-person interview or skills test, but a social media profile can provide supplementary information to round out the candidate’s profile.
7. Use metrics to measure success. It’s important to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your social recruiting strategy. Decide when you start and how you’ll measure ROI, then track that data as you pursue your social recruiting strategies. Common metrics include number of applications received, number of interviews conducted and, ultimately, number of candidates hired along with their retention rates.
Let’s face it. Recruiting is hard. And with new sources proliferating, it can be confusing to know how to master all of it. Social media is still popular and growing. Organizations cannot abandon social recruiting – especially not now! So, dust off that old social recruiting strategy, grab your recruiting team, and update your social goals. Your organization can’t afford to ignore it.