Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – it seems that we’re surrounded by social networks on all fronts. In the recruitment world, “social” recruitment is a topic that garners a lot of interest. I recently spoke at an HR event on the subject – and, at two of my sessions, the fact there was standing room only leads me to believe that no one has yet got a handle on it.
So what is it? One definition of being “social” entails a two-way conversation where both parties get to know each other a little better.
In most situations, I would say that the term “social media” lives up to its name. People share personal moments in Twitter that criss-cross the world in seconds. Facebook memes spread like wildfire to brighten up everyone’s day and with its blogging platform, even LinkedIn is becoming more social. When people engage with other people, social media is at its best.
My view is that “social recruitment” has jumped onto the social media bandwagon somewhat. Yes, it uses social media to provide a structure, but social recruitment is not yet at a place where enough meaningful dialogue is happening between companies and potential recruits.
The information mostly flows in one way only.
Employers use the social media channels as a loudspeaker, blasting out employer branding messages and job ads with such regularity that it seems that half their company is recruiting. Hiring companies spend 90% of the time perfecting their messages, their brand “voice” and growing an immense “talent pool” that they forget that this talent pool is made up of individuals that they may wish to recruit one day.
You would think that an important part of the process is to engage with these individuals in an innovative manner – taking them on a journey with your brand while at the same time learning about their aspirations. It seems obvious, but so few companies are actually doing it.
A tweet asking people to send resumes isn’t groundbreaking. A few pictures of your office with people playing pool isn’t going to set the employment world on fire. Even making the effort to share some of your employee’s blogs won’t be enough to tip the scales in your favour (although that is at least something).
Companies that are serious about true social recruitment have to get involved in the conversation, not boring the listeners into submission with endless updates. When a prospective employee understands that they will be listened to by a real company employee who is sitting behind the social media façade, success will follow as sure as night follows day.
The biggest problem for candidates is that they feel they send their resumes off into a black hole, to be swallowed up by the ATS system and spat out into the rejects pile. What would happen if this problem were addressed by social media? What if there really was some sort of “candidate service” function that actually communicates with them? It could give them advice, it could share how and why other candidates were successful. It could listen to the people who want to work there, rather than turning their back.
They might not get the job still, but they would love the company for engaging, and they would certainly tell their friends about the good experience.
Who has ever heard of a candidate experience “going viral”? No one. It isn’t surprising – it is a great shame, but not surprising. We need to realize what social recruitment should look like and do it properly or not at all.
Wouldn’t it be great if you were the first?