Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Embrace Social Media Recruiting...?

Some consultants would tell me, “It’s about time you jumped on the bandwagon!” Others would say, “That is so 30 seconds ago – now we are talking mobile recruiting!” Other consultants would say, “Certainly you have begun offering the new…!”

It is interesting to have over 30 years of experience in any field. It gives you a certain perspective that less seasoned (okay, younger) professionals do not have. Over those years in recruitment, you learn about people and their behavior, simply through observing and interacting with them.

Wait a minute! How does this apply to Social Media Recruiting? Everything.

If you understand how to interact with people, you are on the way to understand the basic premise – and potential problem – with Social Media Recruiting.

First, let’s define Social Media Recruiting. It is not “recruiting.” It is simply a more engaged way to source candidates. Sourcing is only one step in the recruiting process. Is it a good way to source candidates? It may be a great way to source candidates depending on your budget and priorities. I am going to use two words that guys are reputed to avoid – engagement and commitment.

Does “Social” mean we need to be sociable? In other words “friendly or agreeable, esp. in an easy, informal way” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, second college edition – sits right by me every day)? How many effective Human Resource professionals are described as sociable? Most would probably prefer to be described as a nice, effective business person.

Let’s go back to engagement and commitment. Social Media Recruiting requires engagement and commitment on a daily basis. People (mostly) are social beings and love to communicate with friends (see Facebook). How much communication with unqualified candidates will your company/department commit? Sure there will be qualified candidates mixed in with the unqualified. How many ways can you describe your corporate culture? How many times will managers agree to be interviewed on YouTube to discuss their positions? When will your recruitment marketing material begin to become dated when it is constantly put in front of candidates? When does it become background noise? How do you let the unqualified candidates know you are not going to be “sociable” with them any longer – particularly if they just happen to be your customer also? If your corporate recruiter says “I am developing my next communication in our social media program”, instead of interviewing another candidate, is that an acceptable response?

If not, then what? Do you hire a social media marketing expert simply to communicate with candidates on your Facebook, Twitter, and Corporate social media sites? Then are they trained what they may and may not communicate to candidates via social media?

In my experience almost everyone likes to be on the cutting edge of anything that appears to be really interesting and fun. Then when the darn “work, engagement and commitment” words begin to demand our time, the glimmer tends to wear off.

Let’s go to the basic premise of behavioral interviewing. When people find a successful way to deal with a situation, they revert back to it when under pressure. This is why there is the challenge to maintain a LEAN manufacturing environment when the consultant leaves; and why vestiges of social media recruiting will continue after budget and time begin to exert pressure on the social media program.

There is no silver arrow in recruitment. Social media recruiting is an arrow for your corporate quiver. It should not be your only arrow for sourcing. Every company’s environment is different. Certainly social media recruiting works in some environments. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) not every company can or wants to afford the engagement and commitment that social media recruiting requires.

Most companies are more successful when they focus on their recruitment strengths and improving all of their recruitment processes than spending the money and time on the next sexy technology that appears on the horizon. Remember the words engagement and commitment.

My business is on Twitter and LinkedIn, my book “RecruiterGuy’s Guide To Finding A Job” on Facebook, and my website has links to articles and videos of TV appearances and my blog. I participate in social media recruitment but it is only one source of candidates. May I consult with companies on social media as a potential source for recruiting? Absolutely! After we answer the questions above…