Social media is becoming more and more important in recruiting, and no one knows that better than Tony Restell. As the founder of Social Hire, Tony specializes in leveraging social networks to deliver recruiting results. He laid out for us the new frontier in finding the right employee for the right job.
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How important is social media to recruiting, and why?
Social media is hugely important because it gives recruiters a long-term competitive advantage in attracting talented candidates to their business. Historically, businesses have had to advertise in order to reach the candidates with their business needs. When the advertising spend dries up, so too does the candidate’s interest in their business. Social media has completely changed this dynamic. Companies can now build their own audience or readership by adopting the right social media strategy – and therefore generate candidate interest in their business without the same reliance on paying to advertise to other people’s readerships. But what is critical is that many recruiting brands are building up a lead that it will be very costly for their competitors to claw back at a later date.
How can job boards make better use of social media to promote the jobs they have available?
The best thing a job board can do is to make their profiles super-valuable for the types of candidates they want to attract to their site. Make candidates really value what your business shares, get them into the habit of clicking on your updates and resharing them with their own followers. Then intermittently include updates that entice candidates back to your site to check out all the latest openings that have been added. But let them search and find the jobs most suited to them from the job board itself.
Can social media “backfire” in the job hunt?
For candidates, social media can certainly “backfire” if there’s anything on your social profiles that causes the recruiter to question your professionalism or that doesn’t tally with what you’ve stated on your resume. Nowadays, you should assume that your social profiles will be looked at every bit as much as your actual resume and cover letter, so you should invest in cleaning them up and perfecting them accordingly.
As for employers, my recommendation would be to brainstorm as a team all the likely scenarios that you may be faced with such as a disgruntled former employee or a candidate unhappy at lack of communication, and then to devise what your responses should be in each of these scenarios. This way there is a consistency in the way you treat candidates and also you reduce the risk of someone responding inappropriately “in the spur of the moment” when confronted with a situation on social media.
Should employers leverage the social networks of their employees to get the word about jobs out, and what’s a good way of doing it?
Social referrals are certainly an increasingly important part of the hiring equation. Companies have historically always preferred applicants who come to them referred by an existing employee. Historically they’ve been shown to be more likely to join the company, to do so in a quicker timescale, for less cost and ultimately to remain with the business for a longer period of time. Social networks have made it possible for employers to reach out to a larger number of its employees’ contacts and in a manner that’s far more efficient. However, the best approaches will be those where individuals have been selected as fits for an open role and then approached by the individual that knows them, which I would recommend above just sharing job openings on your employees’ social network.
What are some misconceptions about recruiting and social media you often see?
The single biggest misconception out there is that social media is free – and so recruiting on social media is also free. The reality is that success on social media requires a significant investment of time. Time to find and engage with an appropriate audience. Time to research and find the content that will make your social profiles valuable to that audience. Time to build up relationships with influencers in your industry. Time for your social presence to grow to the point where it’s actually strong enough to start generating applications and hires for your business.
In the recruiting industry, there are huge numbers of people who have wanted results overnight or without being prepared to invest the necessary time to get them. These are the people who sign up to have their jobs auto-posted to their social profiles. These are the people who are always looking to sell on their social profiles without having first invested in building up a relationship and developing trust with the candidates and recruiters they would like to be working with. These are the people who give up on social media and who you hear saying that social media just doesn’t produce results in recruiting.