The authors are co-hosts of Brazen Careerist’s upcoming Social Recruiting Bootcamp: Engage. Connect. Hire, an online bootcamp featuring top experts and corporate trendsetters. Find out more about the bootcamp and how to sign up.
Social recruiting is nothing new, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. The best part is you don’t need to have “guru” or “strategist” in your title to succeed with social recruiting, despite what the gurus and strategists may tell you. But there is a lot to learn to do it right.
Social networks — including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter — have become core components of any solid recruiting strategy. Indeed, survey after survey shows social recruiting tops the areas where recruiters plan to spend more time in 2012.
But just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re going to find your company’s future project leader or inspirational manager in 140 characters. Like accomplishing anything on social media, social recruiting is about strategic engagement — not one-hit wonders — and conversation rather than broadcasting.
Here are five things to remember about social recruiting, whether you’re new to the block or a social media pro:
1. Keep up with latest trends — or risk falling behind
The social media landscape changes fast. Just when you think you’ve mastered Facebook or could get your PhD in LinkedIn, the companies roll out major updates that nullify certain components of your strategy. Fortunately, those same updates can also make you much more effective.
So spend some time keeping up with the latest trends in social recruiting. Dedicate a portion of your re-certification hours to social recruiting training and look for certified courses online that are typically more cost-effective and time-efficient for you and your company.
2. Don’t just jump in — think first
One of the most common reasons companies can’t figure out whether their social media efforts are worthwhile is because they don’t have a strategy. How can you know whether you’re meeting your objectives if you haven’t outlined them? The same is true for social recruiting. It doesn’t have to be a 30-slide powerpoint, but you need some sort of plan.
Before you post all your jobs to LinkedIn, join groups, create a “Jobs” tab on your Facebook page or run a Twitter campaign to promote your careers section, spend some time thinking about your objectives and goals for social recruiting, how your tweets and Facebook/LinkedIn status updates will help you meet them, and how and when you will measure your progress. It will be much easier to measure your efforts and calculate your ROI if you have a strategy up front.
3. Use Facebook’s flexiblity to your advantage
One of the easiest and least intrusive ways to utilize Facebook for recruiting efforts is to add a home for your career offerings on your company Facebook page — and there are a variety of options, some that cost money and others that don’t, to help you do that. Indeed, Facebook is one of the most flexible platforms for social recruiting.
For instance, the IRS maintains a simple recruiting page on Facebook that generates a great deal of comments and interaction every day. Companies like Citi and Intuit have also integrated job postings into their Facebook page, which gives them added visibility to candidates who might not venture to the corporate website. A host of new job board apps like Work for Us and LinkUp make it easy to add these features to your page.
If your company is large, consider establishing a separate Facebook page just for your recruiting team. A great example is Intuit’s Facebook page, where they host chats, videos and podcasts to encourage potential candidates to apply for open positions.
4. Have conversations, don’t just blast
Twitter has become a go-to place for job seekers who are looking for the inside scoop on new job openings. That means if you’re a recruiter or employer, you should make sure you’re right there with them.
First, participate in live online conversations where you might meet potential candidates. #HireFriday, created by Margo Rose, is one such chat created to help job seekers connect with recruiters. You can participate in the chat every Friday by simply following #HireFriday via Twitter search, responding to comments and questions, and tagging your comment with #HireFriday. #Jobhuntchat is another popular live conversation between recruiters and job seekers, and tools like Hootsuite and Tweetchat.com make it easy to the follow threads.
Second, if you’re tweeting about jobs and open positions, make sure your profile description uses relevant keywords so job seekers can easily find you. Mention “recruiter,” “careers,” “jobs” or “human resources.” Think about which keywords candidates might use to search for you, and keep it simple. Being clever or over-complicated can hurt your cause.
Always remember, Twitter is a vehicle for conversation, not a megaphone. Connect with other thought leaders in the recruiting space, and share relevant content even if it doesn’t have your brand stamp.
5. Use Linkedin for more than search
Most recruiters are aware of Linkedin’s expensive search tools. Sure, they’re helpful, but not required.
Here’s another way to find candidates with specific skills (for free): use LinkedIn’s new Skills section. You can only enter one skill at a time (hopefully LinkedIn will soon allow users to search for combined skill sets), and the search results will show people with those skill sets who are most closely connected to you. Since the results identify people in your network (up to third-degree connections), it’s easier to find an “in” who will introduce you to potential candidates.
In addition to listing people in your network, the new skills search also shows the largest Linkedin groups for people with these skills. If you’re looking to post a job that reaches this market, join these groups and share a link to your job posting.
Want to go beyond search? Think about where your target audience may be, and go there. Are you a recruiter for technical positions? Drupal gurus? Marketing or PR positions? Join industry-focused groups and make substantive connections with members. Post relevant articles, engage in discussions, comment on and “like” status updates. Be active!
With social recruiting, you’ll get out of it what you put in. Spend the time to think about what you’re trying to achieve, actively engage on your networks and be creative about how you reach out.
Remember, the skills that made recruiters successful before social have not changed. Networking, listening and communicating will prove your success — one tweet or “like” at a time.
Whitney Parker (@whitneymparker) is Vice President of User Experience and Ashley Hoffman (@ashleyhoffman) is Director of Marketing and Communications at Brazen Careerist. They reguarly host online bootcamps to help people learn new skills to find a job they love. Find out more over at BrazenU.com.