Monday, May 18, 2009

The Wave of the Future-Social Media

There are hundreds of articles being posted everyday on the future of recruiting and how social networking must play a pivital part in the next generation of recruiting. There are a multitude of sites and so many avenues to choose from. Trying to learn them all or use all is just a rediculous waste of time. But with that said, not using any social neworking at all will also lead to less productivety moving forward.

Social sites are a great place where those that aren't actively looking for jobs can showcase their skills and talent and brag about their successes without looking despirate for a job (for those that know how to do it well). The use of job boards such as CareerBuilder and Monster are low in comparison to other sites being used for job searching. Smaller, more niche job boards are struggling as well. This may be a foreshadowing that job board resume databases may become obsolete in years to come. The major job boards see this and have been trying hard to update their sites and make it more desirable for companies and candidates. But the next generation of workers have adapted to so many other ways to network and communicate that nothing may keep them from eventually falling of or at least flat lining.

I have studied and fiddled with many of the social networking sites myself, trying to see which ones would bring me the most value for my organization. I have narrowed down to only a small handful. Some were good but just not for what I need to recruit, others just didn't seems to hit it off or were too complicated and/or time consuming to bother with and some have proven to be well worth my time and energy. I have joined and tested Linkedin, Konnects, Ning, Xing, Facebook, Plaxo, Naymze, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube, and probably others that I just can't think of off the top of my head.

I will admit. The thought of using Twitter to find talent was a struggle for me. I just didn't see the value of reporting what I was doing every hour and how that would bring quality talent to my organization. For months I refused to join twitter and decided there was no way to really utilize such a tool for my work purposes. But several months ago I gave in. The hype was too much for me to handle. My curiosity was undeniably eating at me. I just had to find out what was so special about twitter.

So I created a general corporate recruiting Twitter page. It doesn't have my name tied to it, so no one can find it through looking for me, only by searching by keywords such at LexisNexis and Careers. I branded it with our company logo and general career site information. I then went out and marketed my page to all my other social networks (Linkedin, My blogs, Facebook, Konnects, etc). I targeted my main preferred audience, which in my case is primarily legal and sales professionals.

I then started tweeting. I tweet about company news, about product launches, and most of all I tweet about new career opportunities. I engage with people that I think might have an interest in hearing about information at my company. I search for people with specific key words and reach out and ask them to follow me.

I then decided that I wanted to be able to track the success of my tweeting efforts. I had Twitter added as a source option to our applicantion process and use to link back the number of hits I get per tweet with an embedded URL. I was quite surprised and excited to see the number of hits I was getting on my tweets. Just today-Within 5 minutes of posting an update on twitter I had 20 hits on my link. I finnd that pretty impressive for an amiteur like myself.

So for those that haven't joined the bandwagon and feel that twitter is a waste of time, just like I left only months ago, I am living proof that anyone can make Twitter a useful tool if you have some time to truly focus on creating a fully fonctional site and building a following. Taking a few minutes a day is all it takes to see what Twitter is truly capable of.

Aside from Twitter I have been using many other networking tools for about three years now on a consistent basis for all my recruiting efforts. I can barely remember what it was like to recruit without use of the internet. Using sites like Linkedin to join and converse within groups where experts in my industry are just dying to get noticed is like a goldmine for a recruiter. The one advantage of being a corporate recruiter is that it is easier to get involved in conversations and engage within groups and discuss the industry, company products and company/industry opinions, etc without trying to shove a job description down someone's throat. This gives a competitive advantage by allowing me build relationships with key individuals that may be a great asset to my future sourcing needs.

Linkedin is definitely a networking tool I would not want to be without. In addition to Linkedin, Facebook has become a fairly useful tool. Though for the level of individuals that I search for, Facebook is slightly lacking. The primarily personal social site tends to lend more benefit to the college level or entry level positions. Companies like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have done a fantastic job of creating wonderful fan pages that are geared toward college graduates. However most Senior Sales professionals spend the majortiy of their time out in the field and networking with clients. They don't tend to want to use a site such as Facebook for les personal reasons.

So whatever your recruiting needs are, there is at least one social network out there that would give value to the organization. Without the use of social networks companies will start to lose out on tons marketing and branding opportunities and could miss out on some superb talent. Because if we don't find them, well someone else will.