James Mayes

The day #socialrecruiting got challenged

In Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on July 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I recently saw a challenge laid out in a US blog which caught my eye.  Focussed very much on the shift from traditional recruiting techniques and job-boards to the emerging methods referred to most frequently as Social Recruiting, this challenge was focussed on Twitter.

The challenge was a very simple one, laid at the door of a couple of Twitter specialists in the US – “using your Twitter broadcast methods, find me candidates for XYZ job and prove your worth”.

The challenge was duly taken up and though I haven’t yet seen the final outcome, there’s another aspect I want to consider.  I’d rather look at the nature of the challenge itself.  “Find me candidates for XYZ job”. On the face of it, a fair challenge and something a traditional job board would probably have no issue with.  However, to apply this straight to the Social Recruiting world is to examine only a small part of the picture.

Social Recruiting is about community building.  It’s about identifying your target candidate market and communicating with them over a period of time, probably via multiple platforms.  Having them engage with your brand and values. Drawing your future candidates in and ensuring they’re not only accessible when needed, but more engaged with your organisation than your competitors.

If that sounds like the kind of recruitment you want in your organisation, then Social Recruiting could be a killer part of your arsenal. If you want to try Social Recruiting as a one-off, then maybe we need to talk through the concept again.

As always – feel free to take issue, praise, or just generally make your mark in the comments! If you want to check out the original challenge, it was issued May 14th, here.

  1. Great points James – it is ABSOLUTELY about community building. Twitter as an job-advertising board is pretty fruitless, you can only post jobs to an actual and interactive audience – i.e. you need people who trust you to take the time to RT important information to the wider audience – and the only way that will happen is by building that community through Twitter and/or LinkedIn digestion, communications and conversations – with potential industry allies.
    The US recruiter concerned appeared to be missing the point in some ways, but to be fair – you have to be sure your audience is actually there – but it takes time and investment, and frankly 90% of recruiters are too impatient.

  2. Well said, well outlined and 100% spot on. Social Recruiting is not a campaign, it is not a one off position and it certainly is not something that should be done with no long term outlook.

  3. Great post, great points. But I disagree. Mind you, this post isn’t ‘just’ directed at your blog post — I see a lot of people defending the measurable effectiveness of social media recruiting with remarks that redirect the topic instead of directly addressing effectiveness. “Social media is about community, dialogue, transparency, etc.” Heck, I’ve even made the same argument myself. It’s valid. But that doesn’t mean the challenge or question isn’t valid.

    While I agree that Social Recruiting is not a one-off campaign tactic and that community building is crucial, at some point you have to determine your core performance metric. This is recruitment and ultimately core performance metrics have to include: number of viable candidates found through a social media channel, successful hires of candidates found through a social media channel.

    Should you expect to get these results right off the bat through the social media ‘if you build it they will come’ mentality? No, not at all. You still have to build community, diversify your social media footprint, engage with your audience and build value — all the standard best practices of social media marketing.

    Nevertheless, the challenge is ultimately valid.

    If I am properly building a social media strategy will I be able to generate an on-demand stream of qualified candidates when positions are open? Will the results of my social recruiting efforts reap the rewards for which I am going through this effort and will they be of an appropriate volume and effectiveness to justify the content development and labor costs associated — because saying social recruiting is free is only true if your time, talent and expertise is free as well.

    Just saying ‘you need to do it right’ doesn’t remove the need to ultimately determine if a well-run social recruiting effort/tactic/strategy/whatever actually works and is financially viable for a particular company.

    • Thanks for the response. Maybe I’m wierd, but I enjoy the ones that disagree. In this case, the reason I feel the challenge is invalid is that it’s thrown out to third parties. They’ve had no foresight of the kind of roles, so are expected to quickly generate good candidates without having had the opportunity to build the community. I agree social recruiting is not free – you either need resources internally to develop the capability and keep it running or you need to pay a third party to take care of it. Personally, I think a combination of the two is best (but hey, that’s my business).

      I certainly agree with your final point – financial viability is the question every corporate strategy has to answer at some point. I simply don’t believe that this one-off challenge goes any way towards providing a fair test. Before I go – thanks… I think you’ve just lit the touch-paper on my next article!

  4. Really good response Kevin.
    For the record, I don’t think that Jerry Albright’s post was a `challenge`, as such – more a concession, he just gave up using Twitter as a recruiting communications tool. Maybe he decided his return on his time was not effective.

    Kevin’s point about measurement is sure true, but be careful we don’t get a little hung up on measuring before we have an actual trend to measure effectively by.
    Effective Measurement takes time too – whatever method you use.
    It also has to be measured for a recruiter as part of an overall package. Social media is an introducer, but not a deal maker – and we have to be careful to assess the effect of our offline interaction with online introductions – because social media can also take us down blind alleys – some of these introductions are time-consuming, socially beneficial, but sometimes financially unrewarding for a very long time.

  5. […] James Mayes and his excellent UK-based social recruiting blog which brought this to my attention in The #day socialrecruiting got challenged if anyone knows where this challenge was posted, please share it in comments here). The fairly […]

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kieron Mayers and Rob Crossland, Kris Gleave. Kris Gleave said: RT @robborover: Good social media article for recruiters with some good debate already going: http://bit.ly/ayj4cr […]

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