In September, GoodLife Fitness announced via Twitter it would be hosting a live recruitment conversation that operated like a virtual career fair. It was the company’s third live chat focused on recruitment, according to Sarah Moore, talent acquisition specialist at GoodLife.
During that time, more than 40 tweets reached a potential audience of over 238,000 people. GoodLife also expanded its recruiting pool by increasing Twitter followers by 4.5 per cent during the one-hour chat.
“Because of our increased use of social media tools, we are now filling 10 per cent more positions each month. Approximately 80 per cent of our promotion of new job postings is through social media as we’re able to target the ads about positions geographically and publish those ads in a faster and more cost-effective way than other mediums,” says Moore.
Not only has GoodLife been able to fill jobs quickly, the quality of applicants has improved, lessening employee turnover.
“Applicants find that they have a better understanding of the roles that they are applying for and an appreciation for GoodLife’s culture,” says Moore.
So, how do the chats work? Following considerable pre-chat awareness and advertising, two talent acquisition specialists and a guest (typically someone in the position who provides a testimonial) chat online about the open opportunities. As much as possible, they focus the conversation on the specific role as well as the company’s culture.
“While we don’t hire people directly during these chats, this is definitely a great starting point for people to submit their application via our job portal, which is actively shared during the event. This helps people apply easily and also increases our overall web traffic to the portal. We know these chats are working great because we’ve found great associates by encouraging them to apply during the chats,” says Moore.
Knowing the tools
Given its broad reach, social media is increasingly helpful in widening an organization’s talent pool. But with so many possible social channels, the challenge for employers is knowing where and how to use the tools to source the best talent.
Given the rapidly changing world of social media, it is often a matter of trial and error.
And with so many tools, it is difficult to be strategic and determine how social media fits within a wider recruitment strategy. Unlike traditional advertising, a social media strategy can be inexpensive and executed quickly if needed.
A number of U.S. studies have articulated what many recruiters and job seekers are already finding: Social media is critical. Recruiters spend 37 per cent of their working time on social media, according to a 2016 survey by Alexander Mann Solutions.
They use it to source passive candidates, learn more about current candidates and drive awareness for the company they work for. Of the channels available, LinkedIn is the one used most often.
Interestingly, most college- or university-level students are not yet on LinkedIn but are likely very active on other social media sites. College career centres encourage students to go on LinkedIn well before they hit the job upon graduation.
Allison Scully, career resource developer at Humber College in Toronto, frequently advises students on drafting their first LinkedIn profile and how to use it effectively.
Students are encouraged to start early and connect with their peers, professors and speakers who visit their class.
For Luis Alejandro, a student at George Brown College in Toronto, social media has become his second most important job search tool after work banks.
“After targeting a job post I feel I qualify for from a metasearch job site like Indeed or Eluta, I immediately begin my research on LinkedIn,” he says.
There, he may find more information on anything from the organization to the role’s current team.
“The most pivotal piece of information for me is finding (out) who the hiring manager may be based on my LinkedIn research,” says Alejandro.
LinkedIn helps to provide more context with regard to job postings, companies and specific teams looking to hire. Social media helps Alejandro to unpack the job market and think strategically about the roles he is applying for.
“This process has become an unstructured puzzle I’m continuing to master as I continue to job search — one that I use as a measure of viability of my job application based on the variables (including a referral connection) I’m able to gather.”
BMO embraces online
LinkedIn is table stakes for recruiting, says Cathy Scarlett, vice-president of talent acquisition at BMO Financial Group in Toronto.
“We use it to provide information about our company and find great candidates. But we’re also upping our use of other social channels. As we head onto campuses across North America this fall, our Twitter handle (@BMOonCampus) will share news, stories and photos along the way — where we are, what we’re up to, and how to join in. It’s helping us engage students in real time beyond booths, campus career fairs and other live events.”
In real-time, the bank can generate awareness on campus and has been experimenting with how to be the most effective. Building momentum through social media will drive applicants to its website.
“We use hashtags to focus attention on student events. For example, we recently ran a hackathon with students in our summer program. It was awesome. They live-tweeted photos and comments throughout the day, and their innovative ideas were inspiring,” says Scarlett.
What’s next for BMO? Like most social media, it is about experimentation and engagement.
“We’ll continue to explore other channels like Snapchat to see if they’re a good fit to help us connect with students in ways that matter to them,” she says.
Audrey Wubbenhorst is a business professor at Humber College and George Brown College in Toronto. She can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @audreyrw.
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