If you want to understand how social media has transformed the recruiting landscape, you’re in the right place. In this series of articles focused on Social Recruiting, we’ll be accelerating your understanding of the role social media is now playing in recruiting – and delving into specific strategies for how you can best leverage these trends.
Let’s kick things off by talking about the changes that have taken place – and defining what we mean by Social Recruiting.
How Social Media Has Transformed Recruiting
Before the arrival of social media, there were two very distinct forms of recruiting. They were undertaken by two very different breeds of recruiter – and it was very much a case of never the twain shall meet.
The vast bulk of recruiting took the form of selection. Recruiters would advertise their vacancies, candidates would apply – and from the resulting applications a shortlist of interview candidates would be drawn up. By and large candidates could only engage with the employer once called to interview. Attracting candidates therefore depended upon the strength of the employer brand and the appeal of the advertising copy.
For the most business critical of roles, search would be undertaken in place of selection. Recruiters would research a market and directly approach the candidates deemed to be the closest fit in terms of skills and culture. Candidates would personally be sold on the merits of the job – and have the opportunity to find out about the employer before putting themselves forward as a candidate. This type of recruiting was almost exclusively the preserve of elite headhunting firms, with just a handful of corporates having set up their own in-house search teams.
What Do We Mean By Social Recruiting?
The overwhelming feature of the old style of recruiting is that most candidates had no scope to interact with recruiters until the recruiter had seen and approved their CV / resume. Recruiting was process driven rather than customer centric. Companies would focus on how fast the organisation could attract applications for a new opening; how quickly and efficiently they could process applications; and how swiftly they could progress the selection process to make an offer before the candidate was snapped up by a competitor.
The only exception was in the area of graduate and MBA hiring, where employers would typically attend careers fairs and host open presentations – giving prospective candidates the chance to interact with employees and find out more about the openings before deciding whether or not to submit an application.
What the rapid growth of social media has done is to make recruiting much more customer centric, to give all candidates a means of interacting with employers, recruiters and alumni before deciding whether or not to apply. Indeed these interactions could even prompt a candidate who might otherwise not have been looking to decide it’s time to make a career move. In some instances it will mean vacancies will be filled without ever having had to be formally advertised.
I would define Social Recruiting as those activities that put interaction and engagement with candidates as a primary strategic goal of the company. This includes interactions before, during and after the candidate selection process has taken place:
- Before an application has been secured, interactions help raise awareness of the brand, build a relationship between candidate and recruiter, cement the candidates’ interest in the employer – and maybe even trigger the candidate taking the decision it is actually time to seek a career move. Social Recruiting is therefore key to improving a brand’s ability to attract quality candidates.
- During the selection process, interactions help ensure the candidate feels engaged and wanted; allow the recruiter to address any candidate-specific questions that have arisen; smooth over any delays in the hiring process; and give the candidate insights into the team they are going to be working with should they secure the role. Social Recruiting therefore plays a pivotal role in increasing the likelihood that a shortlisted candidate will not drop out of the hiring process.
- After the candidate has joined the company, further social interactions ensure they are more effectively integrated into the organisation and given the chance to further the recruiting efforts of the business by themselves becoming a voice for the company and potentially referring contacts into the recruitment team. Social Recruiting thus improves the effectiveness of onboarding and leverages each new employee’s ability to contribute referral hires as part of the future talent pool.
Social Recruiting: Concluding Remarks
If there’s one key thing to take from all of the above, it’s that social media has fundamentally transformed the recruiting landscape. It has given candidates a route to engage with recruiters at a time of their choosing; and given the broad spectrum of recruiters a means of proactively researching and approaching candidates, rather than sitting back and waiting for suitable applications to come in.
Recruiters not incorporating social recruiting as part of their recruiting strategies are putting their organisations at a competitive disadvantage; restricting their pool of candidates to those who are already inclined to apply to them, rather than fishing in the wider talent pool.
Candidates who’ve not invested in strengthening their social media presence – and in particular enhancing their LinkedIn profiles – are missing an opportunity to engage with recruiters in a way that has hitherto been the reserve of only the most highly sought after of senior executive talent.
In forthcoming articles we’ll be looking at strategies and step-by-step approaches for becoming more successful at incorporating social recruiting in your routine. Watch this space – and if you’ve any immediate thoughts or questions please do comment below.