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Ask James Caan – Issue 95

Written by Kimberley Startup | May 17, 2012 | 1 Comment

Dear Member,

You regularly hear me discuss technology enhancing the way we identify and attract talent with the majority of recruitment activity now taking place online.

The impact of digital media has paved a new way for recruitment; progressing from targeting the active jobseeker through traditional channels, such as job boards and high street agencies, to leveraging the use of social media for the benefit of HR and recruitment professionals alike.

Amongst its many benefits, online recruitment activity helps employers to focus on long-term, strategic delivery, enabling them to build and add to talent pools, and identify how to maximise their brand when hiring. Despite the country being in a double-dip recession, many businesses still need to recruit, and I feel those who leverage online recruitment will feel the benefit further down the line.

This leads me on to a question I received from Mary, an HR professional looking to capitalise on social media to benefit her hiring strategy, but struggling to find the time to fit it in.

She wrote:

‘As an HR person, using social media to place roles can be time consuming. Do you have any tips for implementing social media into our hiring strategy correctly?’

Mary, it’s great to hear of HR professionals like yourself, adopting social media as part of their recruitment strategy. Social media is a great way to support existing recruitment activity and when done correctly, it can help to create talent pools and add value to your brand.

But you’re right; to be successful takes time and commitment. And unfortunately finding the time to commit to your social media recruitment strategy can sometimes be the biggest challenge – there are never enough hours in the day.

As a starting point, I suggest thinking about your objectives and knowing where your audience looks. For instance, do you want to grow a LinkedIn group? Gain followers in one specific industry? How much time are you willing to invest? Who will own the process?

By setting these goals, you will be able to target your efforts, streamline your strategy and monitor your levels of engagement. Whilst social media is a key component of a successful recruitment strategy, it’s important to remember, it will not generate an influx of relevant candidates overnight.

What social media platforms are you using? You’ll find each platform will generate different conversion rates, and to be successful, you’ll need to identify where the talent lies. There’s no point in investing all your time and effort using a platform that jobseekers you want to engage with don’t use.

Take LinkedIn as an example. Many businesses are finding great success using the platform, whether that’s through sharing jobs or posting vacancies. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter on the other hand, will provide you with the chance to get your brand out there and will act as a powerful communication tool.

Finally, I suggest putting metrics in place to measure and evaluate your social media success. This will save you a lot of time in the long-run. If you’ve posted a link to a job in a LinkedIn group or tweeted it, and you haven’t had the response you were hoping for – look at how and why you are using that particular channel. Set clear, realistic objectives, monitor the response and evaluate the resources you have invested in with a view to amending if necessary.

2012 will continue to see the rise of social media as employers’ recognise the importance of creating social communities to build talent pools.

If anyone else has any tips to help Mary use social media as part of their recruitment strategy, please share them below.

Best,

James Caan

One thought on “Ask James Caan – Issue 95

  1. Adam Pumfrey on Reply

    An alternative view.

    If we think about the evolution of the middle market recruitment space it is easy to recognize that little change has taken place over the past years. In relatively recent times we have had the internet play a big part in recruitment, in particular job boards in the first instance and latterly sites like Linkedin. However, fundamentally, the process to recruit individuals has not changed. What the internet has achieved so far is wider access to potential candidates and allowed candidates to have wider access to jobs.

    What is important to note for candidates and employers is that they are having a tough time managing themselves over the various platforms on the web, and I don’t mean just social media sites. Anyone seeking a new role knows the vagaries of using job boards; out of date job postings, inaccurate job descriptions, poor job descriptions, sending your CV in to what seems to be a black hole. In short, the candidate is generally treated very poorly when making an on line application. Equally, for employers the plethora of poor and misguided CV applications by a wider candidate pool accessed on line means a drudgery of work to sort the “wheat from the chaff”. This leads to a de-sensitizing of the recruitment process for the employer. The other issue is the way job boards work, for example a job can be advertised on say “The Ladders” where a candidate is asked to pay for access, or they can go on to free job access sites like “monster” to look at the same role. It is obvious to the candidate that job websites feed off each other and after spending hours trawling these sites the candidate becomes dispirited.

    So these are the current issues, but in any worthwhile journey there are always obstacles to overcome. We are pretty much at the beginning of the journey; we have travelled from newspaper to job board and now from job board to social media. What next?

    In many instances the internet has delivered a power shift away from the seller to the purchaser, a good example of this is buying a holiday or another would be a new car. The buyer through increased access, choice and awareness is making an informed decision to buy way before contacting the seller, leaving the seller transacting at the end of the sales process only. The buyer is well informed and focussed on what he or she wishes to buy, this leads to a commoditising of the product. This situation will lead to a clever seller creating emotional and psychological contracts with their potential customers to place themselves accurately in the buying process.

    This will be the next stage of development in the recruitment market space and will bring a better more accurate candidate to an employer’s door. However, the issue will be how does the employer attract and manage the candidate to their door over their competitors.

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