In the not so distant past, recruiters and staffing managers pored through resumes, posted on job boards and hosted expensive job fairs in top markets to find candidates and fill jobs. Now, they might interact with social network site users by posting a challenging technical question, then contact individuals who provide the best answers to discuss a potential job.
A growing number of recruiters and organizations are turning strategically to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more obscure niche social networking sites to extend their global reach, speed recruitment sourcing and cut costs. Many such channels are largely free, but the process is not without its misconceptions and potential pitfalls.
“The most effective social media recruiting applies the elements of smart social media practice in general,” said Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D., author of The Social Media Survival Guide. Madia said the key is not to limit yourself to one network; effective talent sourcing is about “networking the networks” to provide entries for talent across communities and platforms that allow recruiters to target pools of potential applicants with greater precision.
Researching blogs, niche communities and groups within networks can give HR information “to plant content seeds within these sites to attract more-qualified applicants,” Madia said. To remain competitive, companies that have not yet migrated their recruiting program to social media platforms should explore social media “as at least one component of the broader strategy,” she added.
Many Strategies Are ‘Aggressive and Ongoing’
Many companies already have opted for an “aggressive and ongoing” presence on large social networking sites as well as on some small, more-targeted sites, Madia said. One trend is to post top positions on a corporate blog with a link to the company’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
“Each of these come with the added benefit of shaping a broader corporate footprint in the social media space,” noted Madia, who is director of communications at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
In the past two years at Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat Inc., social media have moved from a peripheral part of the open source solution provider’s recruiting efforts to “the central component,” according to L.J. Brock, senior director of global talent acquisition. The company uses Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to build its employment brand and to raise awareness. In addition, it uses LinkedIn to source candidates directly.
The strategy “has significantly reduced our need for the use of traditional job boards,” Brock noted.
In the past, Red Hat had relied largely on outside search partners to supply top talent. But using the LinkedIn Recruiter platform, its recruiters have access to a growing database of more than 80 million members in 200 countries. Brock said 75 percent of Red Hat hires had LinkedIn profiles before they were hired, which he said “is a leading indicator someone is right for our company.”
Red Hat identifies roles and regions where LinkedIn is most effective “based on historical tendencies and job seeker patterns” and uses that information to design targeted candidate sourcing strategies. For tough-to-fill positions, the company might post questions in LinkedIn groups “that only a truly qualified candidate could answer,” then contact the person who best answers the questions as either a candidate or a source for other candidates, Brock explained.
In Germany, the company uses a social networking platform called Xing to accomplish the same results, he added.
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