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TalentCulture | September 2, 2014

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What Social Recruiting IS and IS NOT: Welcome to TC, Jeff!

Jeff Waldman
Jeff Waldman
by
January 17, 2011

Hello all,  Jeff Waldman here.  As my first post, I am sharing the latest article from my blog. I look forward to becoming the newest contributer to Talent Culture and hope you all enjoy my writing!

I’ve been itching to write something about social recruiting… why? Because people who should be all over social recruiting and leveraging it as a strategic practice to build kick-ass organizations just don’t get it.

Hmmm… “the Jeff Waldman brainstorm session”…

I took a blank piece of paper and jotted down any idea that came to mind when I asked myself why people don’t really get it. I wrote a few things down, then put the piece of paper away and did some other work, came back to it a few hours later and wrote a few more things. Here’s a bit of a summary of what I came up with.

  1. HR, who supposedly is responsible for attracting and recruiting new talent has absofrickinglutely no clue how to utilize social recruiting. And…. they should.
  2. Forget about technology for a second, it’s been my experience that HR is not very good at being proactive with building talent pools and pipelines, and integrating workforce planning, succession planning and talent management functions into the day to day business. Note: if you’re not strategic then spending any amount of time using social recruiting is a complete waste of time!!!  In fact, it’ll more of a detriment to what you’re trying to do, building and developing a recognizable and solid employer brand.
  3. The role of HR in most organizations, regardless of what HR people say their role is, is really nothing more than reactive, administrative in nature, and frankly viewed as a cost centre. No wonder why I cringe when I see the way over-priced Masters in HR program that York University recently started offering… I still haven’t seen anything in their course curricula that has anything to do with real business.
  4. There are obvious demographic characteristics associated with using technology —- e.g. “I’m 50 years old, I don’t want to touch social media….. it’s a foreign world to me so I’ll let one of our junior 20 something year olds figure it out… let me just continue doing my thing as I’ve always done it”!!

These were the common themes, and there are many other points that came to mind but the key thought is this:

All social recruiting really is, is a highly effective tool to proactively and strategically support the business attract and hire the best talent out there…. simple as this! The principle of talent attraction is not new one bit, but HOW someone does it is new….. TECHNOLOGY.  By the way, in addition to social recruiting being highly effective it is extremely cost effective, which in this day and age, never hurts the bottom line of your organization.

What Social Recruiting is Not…

Don’t forget that the core purpose of social media is engagement… conversation, interaction, consistent and constant dialogue, finding common interests globally, sharing, collaborating, caring and relationship building. However, I see on a daily basis people/companies that I am following “pushing” content out without really caring about the conversation and dialogue.  They are missing out on a huge opportunity that is literally served up to them on a silver platter. Why would I care what a company says if they have never shown any interest in what others are saying and doing? I value reciprocity, and pushing 100% of the time does not demonstrate reciprocity whatsoever.

Here’s an example that I think you’ll recognize. You’re following company X and you see a tweet on Twitter from this company that they are hiring a Marketing Manager… they include the link to the job posting that takes you to their website. That’s it… they may tweet about this job more than once. You then take a look at the history of this organizations’ tweets and you notice they are of the same variety, and they have only tweeted 15 times during the past year. Everything is pushed content. What’s different about how this company is using Twitter versus putting a job ad in Craigslist or Workopolis? You guessed it….. NOT A FRICKING THING… This is NOT social recruiting!!

The Point…

Social recruiting is not rocket science. It’s just a really effective way to proactively and strategically build the most talented and best organization possible. However, and I hate to break this to you but hard work is required on an ongoing basis in order to reap the benefits that social recruiting has to offer. All of those descriptive words that I used earlier to describe what social media should be are things you need to employ when using social recruiting.

The principle of building relationships have never changed, and never will. The tactics you use to do this though have changed, and technology is that change. If you want to compete with companies that “get it” then you better start fully embedding social recruiting into your day to day activities.

Be proactive, be strategic, be smart and help your company achieve their business objectives. Technology is not a scary beast that can never be mastered and learned. Find someone in your organization that understands the finer points of social media who can give you a demo of each of the primary social media tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Then leverage the desired technological platform(s) to engage, converse, talk to, share with and reciprocate with other people…. you’ll be amazed how quickly and effectively you’ll meet and connect with people you would never have met otherwise. The senior executives of your organization will hail you as a hero to being “the one” who single handily increased the level of your workforce talent while reducing real costs associated with HR. They will LOOOOOOVE YOOOUUUU!!

  • Laura

    Great Article!
    There seems to be tendancy to treat social media as an extension of/signpost to a jobboard, whereas the reality is it has the potential to be a powerful networking and reputation building tool.
    Engagement vs product pushing!

    • Jeff Waldman

      Hi Laura, thanks for your comments. I completely agree! I think it simply comes down to “not knowing” how to use technology in the way you described. Social media is still very new, and the majority of us who do actively use social media effectively are still learning how to be more effective. The best way to combat the “not knowing” part is by educating, playing with it and taking some risks.

  • http://karoden.wordpress.com/ Kimberly Roden

    Wish I could say this is a great post but I was choking on the condescending generalizations about an entire profession. Since this post is about social recruiting — shouldn’t you be separating the world of recruiters and HR professionals? They are not always one and the same.

    • Jeff Waldman

      Kim, appreciate your candid comments. I intentionally stereotyped to spark debate, perhaps even outrage. I have been clear throughout my career that HR is HR, and whether you’re focused on recruiting, compensation, performance management, HRIS, talent management, whatever… HR is still HR and it needs to be fully integrated in order to add optimal value to the business. Further, I consider myself a true generalist who focuses on talent management, employee engagement and technology. Finally, if you are the exception rather than the norm that I clearly articulated then you’re ahead of the game, and you’re likely adding far more value to your company than others who are part of the majority.