Social Recruiting ~ 4 Ways to Engage your candidates

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Many organisation jump into Social recruiting with little idea of who their target audience will be, how they will build their community and what content is going to be of value, then wonder why they struggle to keep the momentum up.number 4

The old saying; ‘Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” will always ring true, and there is little difference when it comes to social media and social recruiting and the art of candidate attraction, connection, engagement and community build. There are activities that you can undertake to ensure that you focus your attentions in the right areas for the best results.

If social recruitment is on your organisation’s hits list in 2013, then its time to make a plan and have an open discussion about who is going to champion the change and what your objectives and success measures are going to be.  The first practical course of action is to create your organisation’s user name so that when you’re ready, it hopefully hasn’t been taken by another business or person.

1) Research (Attract)

Conducting preliminary research as to whether your candidates are on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is key. There is little point building an amazing profile on Facebook with great imagery, competitions, recruitment videos and polls etc., only to find that the candidates you are trying to attract are all on LinkedIn, Twitter or neither.

There are many ways to find this information. One of the easiest ways is to ask your employees who work in this discipline which networks they are in, if any; how they use technology for professional purposes, what information they may be interested in hearing about and even more so, what topics they would engage in conversation about. You can also research social media platforms to assess the content and connection activity by using hash tags in Twitter, general searches for key words in Facebook and LinkedIn. This should give you a general idea of the activity around these topics.

Researching your competitors’ online brands and profiles is also imperative; in order to appreciate what the competition is doing and therefore give you time to build your ZAG. In other words, build your differentiator so that candidates know what they will get from you if they engage in conversation and social online activity.

2) Innovation (Connect)

Creating innovative content and understanding your audience are two key focuses for message to market. Getting to know your audience will provide you with the knowledge to engage them in conversation.

When building your online sourcing strategy, spend the majority of your time focusing on topics of interest, trends in the market, information that you want to share about your organisation and what the key words are that you want to use on an on-going basis that relates directly to the type of candidates you want to attract.  For the basics on what content is best to share on each of the social platforms check out the Social Platform page.

Innovative content will be shared again and again through social media channels if it’s original, creative and unique. Using the research that you have and thinking like your candidates will help you create the type of content that will interest them.

3) Participate (Engage)


There are many of them on Social Media channels. I hear people say to me all the time when discussing Twitter, “Oh I don’t say anything, I just watch what other people say and do”. As I’ve said to friends who want to try social media out in general, it’s only when you join the conversation that you’ll get anything back. Once you start talking to people, engaging in conversation, answering questions, sharing information; that is when you start to see the returns of your interactions. If all you ever say is where you are and just retweet without any original content or personality then the majority of people will most likely leave you to it.

For example I’m always amazed that when people connect with me on LinkedIn and don’t actually use my name or bother writing anything personal in the message box. So they’ve taken the time to search for someone with my experience and/or company details, they want to connect for one reason or another, but don’t think it’s important to address me.

If you want to be remembered, engage.

Be personal.

Use your personality, and people will most likely remember you the next time.

This goes for your candidates, use their names when you engage with them, speak directly to them. Brand engagement comes from a positive personal experience which leads to earned media. Earned media is the free publicity and exposure gained from loyal brand advocates and their discretionary efforts that lead to more people engaging with you and your brand through trusted association.

Never underestimate the power of engaging with your audience directly.

4) Commit (Build)

Bolting at the gate is what many organisations do. Jumping on the Social recruiting band wagon without being prepared, because it’s what everyone else is doing. Accounts are set up and away they go. They start building their audience, have a few conversations and then… nothing… radio silence. There are several reasons why this happens.

1) A failure to plan message to market and what you want to say and therefore quickly run out of ideas and give up

2) Getting excited at the beginning is great, but then when it takes a bit of work and interaction to build your audience, you get bored.

3) You receive negative feedback and don’t know what to do, so choose to do nothing

4) You want to engage in conversations with customers but are unsure how to do it on an on-going basis.

The commitment to build your audience, have a plan of action when it comes to message, timing, and response etc. is critical to online success. Even if your audience aren’t interacting with you to start with, you still need to be present and show that you’re there, talking, engaging, discussing and listening to what they have to say.

This can take time to increase the engagement of your audience. Some social recruiting platforms will work better than others, and once again understanding where your candidates are will be key to your ability to build the community around your brand.

When looking to engage candidates within the specialised field that you’re target takes thought, research and targeted messaging:

• Understanding the challenges of the candidates that you’re targeting. What is going on in their world, field, and industry specifically and what are the topics of interest to them?

• Surveying, speak with those in your organisation in the same field or researching for white paper or market information will assist with content focus.

• Once you’ve identified the key topics of interest, concern and/or discussion then research what it is within your organisation that will be the key attraction for these types of hard to find candidates. There is little point finding a great individual if you don’t have a compelling story to share with them and engage them to actually move from where they are to your organisation. Building and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is one of the easier and clearer ways to articulate your organisations differentiators. Don’t try and be everything to everyone, be specific, speak to a need and drive the message home.

The process to use Social Media to recruit can take time. Outlining your key message comes first, targeting your audience and communicating that message and then following through to build community, brand advocates and candidate loyalty.

If you’re really lucky and do it well, then the candidates you’re looking for will be knocking on your door.

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