Resourcing Insight Blog

11 Oct RTT – The Evolution of Social Media

These are the thoughts and Takeaways from a Think Tank, held for senior strategic focused recruitment professionals.  For further information and insight please contact its co-founder Jeremy at Oasis HR – 0207 11 88 444 |  jeremy.thornton@oasishr.com

We are two years on from the first Think Tank session on Social Media, and the world has moved on from thinking that advertising jobs on Facebook was highly innovative, to planning how online social interaction can help create and nurture talent pools and build communities. But realistically, how can this be achieved and where do you start? Who has already started down this journey and are they seeing any benefits yet? Do some think they have ‘done’ social media and it didn’t work? This session offers members the opportunity to discuss and debate all of these issues and more with the peers from across the market.

Challenges

There are around 9000 ‘social media’ sites however many Recruiters don’t see past LinkedIn, Twitter and possibly Facebook. One suggestion was that the phrase “Social Media” is banned and more focus is put on the theme of social interaction.

Some of the challenges raised by the attending members included:

  • Social Media to tackle Diversity
  • Forward Planning (or lack of it!)
  • Business not embracing Social Media
  • How to use Social media in large global companies (scalable)
  • Return on investment
  • Heavy agency usage
  • Effect on employer brand

Asses

One member suggested that before ‘diving  in’ to social media you need to first asses what you want to get out from it. The response was mixed, and varied from improving employer branding to using it as an assessment tool, to candidate pipelining and attraction. Once you have ascertained what you want the result to be you should then look at the strategy.

Another aspect to define is what value social media can add and realistically what resource can be committed. As always, measuring return on investment is tricky and you have to decide whether investing time and money in to online apps and tools, is more or less expensive or effective that going out to your PSL or simply hiring a team of researchers.

Engaging the business

One of the key issues that our members found at today’s session was the resistance from the business itself. Many found that the idea of getting Hiring Managers to embrace social media and asking them to be involved in the resourcing process was like ‘giving them back’ recruitment and was met with a response that quite simply boiled down to “that’s not my job”…

One member suggested that to get this engagement you should purely focus on getting buy in from the top 40% of the business you currently have a good working relationship with. Get buy in from these people and they will be your ambassadors and will help drive through change. If you get engagement from above then this will trickle down and you should start seeing employees embrace playing their part in recruitment.

Further to this, many business heads already use LinkedIn and are already having important conversations with their peers,  the challenge is to get them to ‘join the dots’; and get make them more vocal about opportunities within the company while having these conversations.
One suggestion to help drive this forward was to target staff with referrals, others said that even by making recruitment more visual with Twitter/LinkedIn buttons and links to your companies vacancies page on footers is a good place to start.

Has LinkedIn had its day?

LinkedIn is a great tool and some of the members at this session have said that it has helped drive down their agency usage to around 30%. But where they are finding LinkedIn is having the most value is as a database and talent mapping tool; it’s when companies start to use LinkedIn as a communication and attraction tool that it becomes more challenging.

Our members have reported that they are being literally flooded with information, inmails, groups, new discussions or ‘friend requests’. Spamming people whether it be from agency’s or by an in-house recruiter is not the answer and appears to have limited (if any) success. It may sound obvious but the feedback we gained at this event was that Resources who actually take the time to pick up the phone have a much higher success rate and are seen as more credible than those who ‘Inmail’ – further to this, it was also mentioned that face to face interaction can never be replaced. Social media is a great tool to enhance a relationship but not to start one.

LinkedIn is becoming saturated with recruiters and these methods of contact are forcing more and more people away from the site. The overwhelming response was that to get people’s attention you need to stand out from the crowd and look at innovative ways of contact – LinkedIn is not necessarily the best way of doing this anymore!

Take Away

The number one take away from this session was unanimous; with social media (and with most resourcing tools) one size does not fit all – what works brilliantly for one company will have limited success for another. Some of our members talked of the success they had using Facebook to interact with candidates whereas others in the banking space for example had limited engagement. What works for one cross section of the population will not be as effective for another – work out who you want to contact and then find out where they hang out!

If you are going to use social media to help improve your resourcing function try focusing on one thing and make sure you are doing it well; this is where the phrase quality over quantity is really very applicable as it can potentially do much more harm to get it wrong than it would be to do nothing at all. There are numerous groups and endless information so if you are going to create one of these platforms you need to make sure you are adding value and doing this well.

Finally our members decided, social media is NOT the ’silver bullet’ answer to all resourcing problems; it is a tool and a channel to be used as part of the strategy – not be THE strategy.

To find out more about the Think Tank RTT – The Evolution of Social Media:

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