Using social channels such as Facebook and Twitter for graduate recruitment has become the norm in a crowded marketplace for talent, but few organisations have been able to “crack” how to use social recruitment for more experienced hires. For these kinds of senior appointments, with the possible exception of hi-tech companies where potential candidates of all ages are very active on social channels, the right people can be hard to find, often work globally and are potentially not even looking for new roles. With many organisations still spending big money on agencies and headhunters to find the right people, is it realistic to expect that if a proportion of this spend were diverted to a social recruitment strategy, this could achieve similar or better results for lower cost? What can social recruitment do that traditional recruitment can’t?
Myth #1- Experienced hires aren’t using social channels
It is probably true that the 35-44 age bracket is the biggest audience on social channels, but statistics only tell part of the story… social recruitment for experienced hires requires a very different approach to hiring younger graduates.
Experienced professionals are indeed using social channels to keep up to date with their peers and industry, but they are attracted to content that delivers relevant information that is focused and easy to access. Well-designed apps with curation capabilities are one way to showcase content to potential candidates on the move. Building profiles of who you are targeting, their interests, and what differentiates your organisation is another part of the puzzle that can help you understand what existing content, if any, could be used as part of your strategy.
Know your channels
Just because you can use different social channels doesn’t mean you need to use them all for every campaign. LinkedIn tends to be the place to keep in touch with professional contacts and access content, and is therefore usually at the centre of an experienced hires recruitment strategy; but other channels also count. Company Facebook pages are an anonymous place to find thought leadership, and get an “inside scoop” on company culture and events. Some firms use YouTube as a part of a strategy to highlight the culture and the calibre of staff – for example, Cisco’s YouTube channel is a example of great content, easily searchable both by relevance and popularity. The key to a multi-channel approach for experienced hires is to understand which profile group you are targeting, and being present in places these people are known to congregate, including boring old industry forums and groups as well as more exciting social channels.
Myth #2- “Our brand combined with a social presence will attract the right people for the right job”
The larger the company, the harder it becomes for even the most eager candidates to not only find the right job within the right service line, but also to find someone in HR or the business to speak with.
Make it easy for the right people to find you
Companies are starting to use LinkedIn functionality to “deconstruct” what they do by explaining what each product line or service group does, and linking each group or service with local opportunities by geography; both Microsoft and IBM provide great examples of this approach. Increasingly, we are seeing companies link recruiters to jobs on LinkedIn, allowing experienced hired to skip the painful process of applying into a “faceless” organisation, only to hear months later whether they are successful or not.
Find and use your social objects
Whilst traditional online recruitment has focused on promoting the employer brand and providing practical information about the roles on offer and their benefits, online social engagement enables firms to expose more surface area that might be of interest to different candidates. For example, firms that utilise lots of data or mathematical models in their work might share examples of these to attract people who are passionate about data, or firms that employ scientists might share some of their work directly to attract other scientists. What are the social objects in your company that might stimulate engagement among potential experienced hires, and how can you use them?
Lead with real people- not glossy photo shoots
Seeing the “face” behind the brand, linked to a real person, is one of the major benefits of social: creating intimacy at scale. Using employee testimonials, videos and blogs to address expectations about the experience and calibre of a team and management, as well as practically what the role involves, is very effective. BP and L’Oreal employees share their experiences of working at an organization (company page and YouTube respectively), while others have developed “employee ambassadors”, where a select group of employees are active across Twitter and Facebook to answer questions and share experiences.
Maximise the power of social influence
If somebody comes across an interesting role, even if they themselves are not considering a career move, how can you make it easy and delightful for them to share this with their network? Using the power of social recommendation can be a powerful way to reach your target audience; in fact, the observation that more people find jobs through their weak ties in social networks than through strong ties (family, close friends, etc). How can firms facilitate this sharing and benefit from the social influence of recommenders? This should be a key element in building a strategy that goes beyond the existing online ecosystem of the firm and its recruiters.
The objectives of experienced hire social recruitment vs graduate hires could and should be different. Social recruitment for experienced hires is all about a longer-term campaign to engage and build relationships and cultivate potential hires. Without a social strategy which goes beyond likes and followers to focusing on what social recruitment can deliver that is additive, to who and why, the focus very quickly goes back to short term and tactical.