If you are still thinking of social media just as a distribution channel for your marketing content, then you are missing out on one of it’s key benefits: the ability to microtarget talented employees in your area. That’s right, social media – Twitter and Facebook in particular—can be an incredibly effective and cost-effective recruitment source for finding employees near you.
“I’ve hired thousands of candidates using traditional methods,” notes Mark Babbitt, YouTern CEO and Founder. “With every hire, you just had to hope the candidate was being sincere and honest; that your instincts were correct and that the person you chose was going to be a good hire. With social, we get a glimpse into what that person might really be like – even before we contact them for an interview. Are they social themselves? Are they likeable? Are they as passionate as their resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile say?”
Employers are finding value by advertising to niche job sites, and more so, by engaging with top talent through social media. Likewise, potential employees are finding increasing benefits from connecting with potential employers via social.
“I attended Social Fresh West – actually won tickets to attend via my posting on Twitter – and at the conference I made a big impression then wrote a series of blog posts about the conference which got big shares,” says Andy Newbom, Director Social Business Solutions, Fandom Marketing. “I never met the people who own the agency where I work now but they encountered me on Twitter through all this activity.”
Newbom’s engagement with the agency on Twitter paid off when he eventually saw them share a marketing job posting. “I applied and then DM’ed them saying I wanted to work for them,” recalls Newbom. “They replied and said that they had just created a new role for me that was a better fit and wanted to meet. They created a new role for me based on their impression of my skills solely from Twitter.”
So How Can You Use Social Media to Identify Top Talent?
Start by taking a look at your company’s engaged community across your social channels. Are any of them working within the field in which you are hiring? If so, reach out and ask them if they know of anyone who might be interested in the position.
Next, seek out related social communities. For example, if you’re hiring a community manager, you’ll want to take a look at the Community Manager jobs Facebook page, and the #CMGRchat twitter community and the #cmgrhangout on Google+ and Twitter. Or if you need someone with deep industry expertise, such as within nonprofit management, you’d want to check out the #nonprofits hashtag on twitter, and the #NPtalk twitter chat and community. As a bonus, if you take the time to get to know your relevant industry social communities, you may eventually have potential employees like Brewbom reaching out to you directly to join your potential talent network.
To find the right hashtags and communities to target, ask employees in your organization in roles similar to the one you need to fill, and ask your social media manager for help ID’ing active communities. Don’t jump in immediately with a link to your job post however—make sure that type of content is acceptable by scanning the past week’s activity. Although sharing your link is one avenue you can pursue, perhaps it is better to start by taking a look at the community members providing the best, most engaging content, and see if they might be a good fit, then reach out.
Newbom agrees that it’s connecting with the people in social communities that delivers the best results. “My main advice would be pretend that social media was an actual network with people behind it,” says Newbom. “Do NOT simply post a link to your job profile, use social media to interact with and even test/engage with potential hires.“
Of course, social recruiting is not a good fit for every company. If you are in the midst of a contentious merger, or a public relations issue, social might not be your best avenue for engaging with prospective employees.
“So many organizations get this wrong!” says Babbit. “They make no effort to identify their culture – and to determine whether or not their “real” culture (how others think of them, not the one from their mission statement) fits well with social. Got a brand in trouble? Having PR, legal or employee issues? That is a really bad time to jump into social recruiting.”
Have you taken the plunge into social recruiting? Share your tips for connecting with candidates without being creepy in the comments.
Erika Heald (@sferika) is a San Francisco-based content marketing and social media consultant, with over 15 years experience creating content for HR and financial services audiences. Photo Credit Jeff Turner.
SmartRecruiters is the hiring platform with everything you need to source talent, engage candidates, and make the right hires.