Matthew Ogston

Back to Basics: How to Use Social Media as a Recruiting Tool

by Matthew Ogston on September 25, 2012

MatthewOgstonHeadshot Back to Basics: How to Use Social Media as a Recruiting Tool

Matthew Ogston

Matthew is a co-founder of JobPage.com. He had been searching for a job he loved for the last 13 years… and so when he couldn’t find it, he started JobPage. He loves connecting real jobs to real people. You can connect to him on JobPageemail, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.

The savviest of job hunters turn to social media to find their next career move – in fact, according to a report by SocialTimes, 37 million people in 2011 found their job via Social Media. Which means that if you want to attract the right kinds of talent to your business then as a recruiter you need to be heading where the largest pool of applicants are.

Many businesses make the mistake of just diving in with social recruiting – they assume that because they use social media in their personal lives, recruiting via the same platforms must be a doddle.

Start making friends on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, creating circles on Google+ and linking up on LinkedIn – now all you need to do is wait for the applications to roll in right? Wrong!

Have a platform-specific strategy

If you want to become a truly savvy social recruiter then your first step is to develop a strategy for each of the main social media platforms – this will help drive forward your plans when it comes to the day-to-day interactions.

You’ll probably be aware of the main social media platforms, but how can you get the most out of each of them?

  • Facebook is the most ‘personal’ of the social platforms. When it comes to Facebook, it is vital you aren’t overly intrusive with your job promotion. Facebook is about developing strong relationships through interaction and association (being active in a relevant industry group can work wonders). Hitting random people with friend requests, and forceful recruiting is really going to put people off. Be a person – be who you are… not the person you think you should be.
  • Twitter is a fast moving stream of conversation. Social recruiting via Twitter is about passively connecting with active job seekers, getting the attention of the influencers and watching your ‘message’ reach an exponential number of people. It can often seem like Twitter is just a broadcast channel, but the real value is in finding and building relationships with the people who are receptive (and responsive) to your message now, or in the near future.
  • Google+ is the new kid on the block and plays nicely with other Google services such as YouTube and Places, adding a lot more depth and personality to the employer to candidate experience. Now that Google Plus supports video hangouts (ad hoc video conferencing), and deeper personal and company profiles, now is the time to dust off your web cam and organise your first informal video interview. There are also several services, such as plusfriendfinder.com, that provide search tools to help you identify prospective employees.
  • LinkedIn is the weapon of choice for many savvy social recruiters.  This is the platform to connect with active professionals looking for their next role – similarly to Facebook, LinkedIn is driven by connections and real-world relationships. LinkedIn is also similar to Facebook in the sense that being active in industry forums and groups is one of the best ways to get started on the platform. LinkedIn also has a specific job advertising function which allows you to promote your vacancy to relevant job-hunters (paid of course).

The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to be on every platform – many businesses choose to really focus their efforts on just one or two. Do it well, not do it many.

The importance of authenticity

The social web responds well to humans, more so than faceless corporate accounts. Even if you are recruiting on behalf of a large business or entity, putting a real face to the social media profile and giving your account a personable voice goes a long way to helping you recruit effectively through social media channels.

In the real world, would-be job seekers try their hardest to put a hard copy of their CV in the hands of the right person – when it comes to social media, if someone is looking to join your organisation, they want to interact with a real person and feel like their attempts are going to be noticed rather than ignored by a social media account that isn’t properly managed.

Be selfless

A very common mistake that businesses make when they join the social web is that they endlessly promote their own stuff – pushing out update after update about the vacancies they have open or the latest service offerings

Social is not a purely ‘broadcast’ channel, the conversation flows both ways which is why it is important to interact and also to share the work and content of others. Yes, even competitors (sometimes!).

The point is that you can become the content curator of your industry which can help project you as the authority or go-to source for industry content and news. Why would someone follow hundreds of different blogs, individuals and companies when they can get the best bits just by following you.

If you strive to provide value then people will forgive the occasional self-promo tweet and will actively help you fill vacancies as they arise. That’s pretty powerful stuff.

Make the most of your time

When we are trawling through photos on Facebook or tweeting our friends about Saturday night telly – time isn’t really an issue. When it comes to social recruiting, remember that time really is money so your ROI (return on investment) must be considered carefully regardless of whether that is a financial or manpower investment.

There are a couple of things you can do to make the social recruiting process a little easier:

  • Simple automation of tasks is a very effective way to maintain your presence on social networks. If you update a company or industry blog then using a tool like Ifttt.com can help you automate the sending of Tweets and Facebook status updates every time you publish an article.
  • You might also like to use a service like Time.ly or Buffer App both of which can be preloaded with links to industry specific content that will then be drip fed onto your social networks – a real set and forget solution.

Another option is to utilise the power of a peer-to-peer social recruiting platform like JobPage. Much of recruitment is top down – an employer markets or broadcasts their job, then attempts to locate and engage with prospective candidates. JobPage turns this concept on its head and connects job seekers to other job seekers,  to help each other find jobs and work opportunities they would otherwise miss.

In summary, social is all about real people and real jobs. Keep it real and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

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