Making your Facebook page or Twitter wall a job board won't work — but engaging users and supporting key causes will
By Harpaul Sambhi
As eluded to in one of my previous blogs (Social recruitment – what not to do), making your Facebook page or Twitter wall only a job board is extremely ineffective. Here are two engagement methods you can use to attract qualified candidates.
Listen, engage and provide value
Listening is sometimes the best way an organization can engage users online.
It’s important to find out how people perceive your organization’s products and services and what they’re saying about the organization as an employer. Often, there’s a disconnect between what executives think the public’s perception is and how people actually perceive the organization.
For example, while executives may think the organization’s culture is innovative, younger jobseekers might actually see it as ultra conservative. You should visit websites like Glassdoor, where employees anonymously review employers (including information on salaries) and other forums where candidates and current and former employees talk about your organization as an employer. You can also Google your organization or search for it on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find out how people really see your organization.
Organizations that already have brand recognition can set up pages on social networking sites and many users will come, either to praise or critique the organization’s products or services. However, listening to their comments and suggestions will only engage users for so long — at some point, the organization has to either begin incorporating their suggestions or explain why it has decided not to.
For those who have heard me speak at conferences, I often tout Warner Brothers as a company HR and recruitment practitioners should focus on. Its use of Twitter and its alumni group on LinkedIn to interact with potential candidates, current employees and alumni is fascinating. Warner Brothers uses the LinkedIn alumni group to understand why employees chose to work at Warner Brothers, and to develop its employment brand. It also uses the group to share new job opportunities and upcoming social events. The company uses Twitter to engage potential candidates by giving them links to valuable information that can help them in the interview process and even help them land the job.
Warner Brothers’ ability to gain insights of the past, present and future of their brand gives them the ability to build out an effective social media strategy.
Any Social HR initiative needs to include interaction between the organization, employees and potential candidates if it is going to create value and engage users. Organizations can use personal social networks, professional networks, micromedia or video distribution channels.
Supporting another cause
Another way to brand your organization and engage users is to focus on a cause or issue that attracts the type of employees you want to hire.
If one of the organization’s missions is to encourage work-life balance, creating a group on why work-life balance is vital is a great way to find people who are looking for this perk. It may not feel like a recruitment effort, but it is an effective indirect way to get the message out.
The organization can use the fact it offers work-life balance as a way to distinguish itself from competitors. The same can be done for green and other socially responsible initiatives. The organization can also invite candidates and employees to charity events, which can then double as a means to network with candidates.
Not only will the organization attract candidates who share the same values, but current employees will also be engaged by being able to support a cause they believe in as well as being given the chance to connect with like-minded people.
A great example of an organization doing this is Procter & Gamble, though its goal is more marketing-based than recruiting. One of their most effective programs is BeingGirl.com, a site focused on helping teenagers gain the necessary information and become comfortable with their menstruation cycles. Though P&G products are shown, they are careful not to make it into a website about the product, but about the cause. A company can do something similar by attracting users to join a community focused on something completely in line with your organization.
Have you or someone you know tried social recruitment and want to share your experience with everyone else? Let me know – follow me on Twitter at @hsambhi
Harpaul Sambhi is the CEO of Careerify, a company that develops social recruiting tools focused on employee referral programs with offices in Toronto and San Francisco. He is the author of Social HR, published by Carswell, which sheds insights in how social media is impacting human resources. He can be reached at email@example.com, (416) 840-6216 or visit www.careerify.net for more information.