James Mayes

How to start your #socialrecruiting project

In Conference, Facebook, LinkedIn, Recruitment, Social Media, Software Development, Twitter on November 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

So in advance of the #TruNORAS event tomorrow, I thought it might be worth reflecting on a few client discussions I’ve been involved in recently.  Many of our clients are interest in using Social Media for recruitment, but are often nervous, confused, or generally unsure where to start.  We help them in a variety of ways, but I’m interested in here in highlighting the pro’s and cons on the three main routes we see.

The first is the Sit-Down-Look approach. I believe the expression originated in Nigeria, the meaning being simply to passively observe.  We’ve had a number of discussions where it’s clear from the outset that this is the client’s only intention.  We’re fine with that, as educating the market is key at this time.  We’ll advise the client that they’re missing an opportunity, but equally, some wish to stay squarely inside their comfort zone at this time and see that as acceptable risk.

The second I’d describe as Little by little (one travels far, JRR Tolkien).  Most of our existing clients see this as the preferred route. Start with something discreet, experiment with message, check resonance, expand gradually. Doesn’t do a lot in terms of significant PR noise, but the client certainly has something real to learn from, feedback that can guide future efforts.

The final approach is Big Bang, named for the London financial markets approach of 1986 – immense planning, significant process and systems changes, then a single-day launch.  On the upside, the PR coverage of a change like this can be fabulous – but if the message isn’t right or the feedback systems can’t cope, well….

In the case of the first approach, I believe Social Recruiting is here to stay. Not to embrace this is to ignore a changing market – and as I’ve heard a number of people say recently “if you don’t like change, you’re going to find irrelevance really tough”.  The third approach to me seems too rigid. Months of preparing, when something on a smaller scale could be put into play in weeks if not days, giving real feedback that could reshape the entire project.

My personal preference is for the second approach, which seems appropriate since it can follow an Iterative methodology (often used in various forms by the technology platforms these projects rely on!). Ongoing feedback allows for appropriate reaction to circumstance and audience; gradual expansion supports easier integration into the client workforce (provided proper change support is available). This final point is something which I believe has been largely overlooked in the early social recruiting projects, but is now receiving more attention. An alternative view on Integration vs Implemention can be found in this audio interview from the recent #chru event.

If you agree, please, share this post – if you don’t, better still… comment below and tell me why!

  1. It’s not often that I quote dead communist leaders, but Deng Xiaoping’s maxim would appear to fit here James:

    “cross the river by feeling for the stones at the bottom of the ford with your feet”

    As good a way as any I’d say!

    • Working a quote from Deng into a piece on Social Recruiting deserves recognition – nice one! Thanks for taking the time to comment, always appreciated.

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