Thursday 9 July 2009

Social Recruitment: Companies Try It, Largely Like It

While many recruiters believe social channels like Twitter hold great potential as a way to source talent, some of them feel such channels don't yet fulfill their promise. Yet a number of companies already use them in their recruitment efforts. Four of them shared their experiences with me:


The Australian recruiting company decided to add social channels to its regular mix of job boards, print advertising and word-of-mouth referrals when it realized how many of its own employees used such channels. Its first coordinated campaign, in 2008, involved recruiting 100 candidates for a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company seeking enthusiastic employees, says Peoplebank Chief Operating Officer Peter Acheson.

The positions were listed on LinkedIn and Facebook, in addition to being advertised in more traditional media. They led to a micro-site created especially for the campaign, designed to emphasize a “fun, high-energy theme up front and center throughout the entire candidate experience."

The result? Acheson says Peoplebank attracted a larger-than-expected number of applicants, “particularly from the high-performing, dynamic types of people that we were seeking to fit in with this company’s culture.”

Enhanced speed and reach are the primary reasons to use social channels, Acheson says. Twitter is especially useful for attracting contract workers, because it allows them to respond quickly to postings. "That’s a real advantage in contract placements, where we’ve often got a client who needs to find IT skills quickly."

Many people who follow Peoplebank on Twitter also retweet its postings and/or encourage contacts they think might be interested in such jobs to follow Peoplebank. "People who are in our LinkedIn or Twitter groups can easily send our messages to people they think would be interested in them. It just gives us another channel to reach our candidate markets.”

Acheson says companies must be able to trust their staffs to conduct themselves in a professional manner on social media channels. “It isn’t a major problem, as we have a high-performing team already. If anything, it’s another reason for investing in skills development that empowers staff to take the initiative in spreading the company message in clear, compelling, appropriate ways.”

Blue Door Consulting

Because it was seeking candidates with social media expertise for an associate marketing consultant position, Blue Door Consulting decided to post the opening only on social channels. A job description, with unique URL, was posted on the company’s site, and included in a blog post and on the site’s home page via an RSS feed. It was also featured on the company’s Facebook page and on individual employees’ profile pages, tweeted several times on Twitter, and promoted on LinkedIn via several networking organizations including a University of Wisconsin group.

The effort yielded 39 applications, says Heidi Strand, a partner in the marketing consulting firm. The quality was more impressive than the quantity, with Blue Door interviewing eight candidates and offering the position to one of them. Considering Blue Door “spent nothing but a small amount of time posting the position,” Blue Door was more than satisfied, she says.

Social channels are especially effective for companies like Blue Door, seeking candidates with strong communications and technology skills. “For our position in particular, this was a true benefit; we were seeking individuals with these skill sets. Would it be as effective for a company hiring a press operator for the shop floor? Probably not. Social media channels are not yet for every job posting or company,” Strand says.

LinkedIn yielded, by far, the most page views for Blue Door’s listing. Strand thinks LinkedIn has established a stronger reputation than other social channels for professional networking. “My sense is that LinkedIn will continue to grow as a tool for recruitment and should be considered in any recruitment plan at this time. However, by itself as a company’s sole recruitment tool, it is probably still insufficient.”


Three-quarters of interactive marketing agency Organic’s job listings now appear on social channels, while only a quarter are on job boards. Social channels help Organic target a more relevant audience, explains Tracy Cote, the company’s executive director of talent. “Folks who are ‘friends’ with or who follow our employees or our company are interested in or attached in some way to our industry already. Candidates who apply through Monster come from all over the place and a tiny percentage of them actually have relevant experience. We get fewer candidates this way, but they are more suited for our opportunities."

Like Blue Door, Organic has experienced the most success thus far with LinkedIn, which Cote calls “the single most valuable recruiting tool that I have ever encountered.” Organic often uses LinkedIn in tandem with other channels, says Cote, finding a potential hire on LinkedIn and then following them on Twitter to engage them in conversation before mentioning a job opening, for example.

“LinkedIn may not be as sexy or as fun as Twitter but many, many people are out there and it’s really easy to find folks, see what their background is, and get in touch with them that way,” Cote says.

It’s important not to clog Twitter streams or Facebook pages with job postings but also to share expertise and thought leadership, Cote says. To reach an extended network of candidates, she recommends asking others with large followings to repost (or retweet, in Twitter parlance) job openings.

Locum Leaders

Locum Leaders, a recruiting company that specializes in placing medical personnel in temporary assignments, in April created what it calls Locum Link. Found on its Web site, it includes blogs on different topics, including finance and job placement advice, a real-time Twitter stream, links to a Locum Leaders community on Facebook, and content from interactive clinician community QuantiaMD.

Alex Gramling, the company’s vice president of marketing, says Locum Leaders spends a “negligible” amount of money and a small but growing amount of time on social channels, considering them a supplement to more traditional recruiting avenues. It began using them after surveying medical personnel and finding that 56 percent of them were already using or interested in using social networks and 37 percent are on Facebook.

Unlike the marketing professionals sought by Organic and Blue Door or the IT personnel recruited by Peoplebank, the company’s target audiences, primarily physicians, are not heavy users of social channels. But such channels are helping Locum Leaders identify and engage younger candidates, Gramling says. He recently received a resume from a doctor who is finishing her fellowship and follows Locum Leaders on Twitter.

“You have to go where the candidates are, and increasingly they are found on social networks,” Gramling says. “If we are there first -- before other recruiters -- then we'll enjoy a first mover advantage and have an opportunity to build our brand and credibility within social media.”

Article: Please click HERE

No comments: