When I talk to recruiting leaders and business owners, one issue concerns them more than any other:
Have they understood and adapted to the opportunities that social media marketing and social recruiting offer - and have they done so as comprehensively as their competitors?
Every conversation I have acknowledges that we're moving squarely back to a market that is candidate driven. Hiring demand is up - and employers are ever more demanding in the profile of candidate that they want to attract. All of which means that the ability to attract candidates to your business - and the ability to approach and engage passive candidates - are now key constraints on business growth.
The question therefore becomes - has your business done enough? My prediction for the coming year is that it'll be those companies who've failed to invest adequately in social media marketing and social recruiting techniques who will come unstuck as the battle to attract talent becomes ever fiercer. So let's look at each in turn.
Studies the world over show that we're spending huge amounts of time on social media each week. What's more, we're open to being influenced about companies and engaged by potential suitors via our interactions on social media.
Now Mobile has rightly attracted a lot of attention these last years. More and more of us are browsing the web from a mobile rather than a desktop device. But in a lot of instances this has been to the detriment of recruiters' investment in a strong social media presence.
The problem here is best understood by way of a recruiting funnel. There are various means by which candidates can be brought into your recruiting funnel. Job boards, the company careers site, mailshots to your candidate database... all have historically been important means of feeding the funnel.
What's important about social media - and therefore social media marketing - is that it's become an increasingly important channel for bringing candidates into your recruiting funnel. While email marketing response and job board volumes have been in decline, social media marketing has more than filled the gap. But only for those companies who have invested heavily in their social media presence.
This is where the limitations of a mobile-only strategy become apparent. Having made your business mobile-friendly contributes to increased conversions within your recruiting funnel. More of the candidates who enter your recruiting funnel are likely to apply if you've developed a mobile-friendly careers site and application procedure. But if you don't have the social media presence then the flow of candidates into your recruiting funnel is diminished. Your mobile strategy is stopping the ship from sinking, by doing a better job of converting the limited interest that the business is generating. But the leading companies in your niche will have the strong candidate flows that social media marketing can bring, combined with the improved candidate conversion rates that mobile investment delivers.
If that leaves you fearing you'll be having sleepless nights, the good news is that both situations can be recovered. There are a variety of off-the-shelf solutions that can make your business more mobile-responsive from a recruiting perspective and some great examples of what a mobile responsive careers website should be like. Whilst the ins and outs of generating results on social media are something that can be addressed with social media marketing help from the Social-Hire team.
Social recruiting has become such an all-encompassing term - and rightly so. Candidates' first impressions of your company are increasingly formed on social media. Their interest in one of your openings is more and more likely to have been sparked via social media. The research they undertake in preparation for interviews will increasingly involve use of social media; and they're increasingly likely to have "talked" with some of your employees on social channels at some point during their decision process. Weighing up competing offers will often mean taking in others' opinions and insights on social media.
So recruiting is now social. The debate is over.
But if the first part of this article was about using social media to attract candidates to your business, this part I want to devote to sourcing and engaging with candidates on social media. Because being able to identify the talent that's an ideal match for your openings - and then being able to approach people in a way that generates a favourable response - are now also important determinants of an organisation's recruitment effectiveness.
I predicted a year ago that recruiters would increasingly use People Aggregators to uncover candidates that LinkedIn alone was not enabling them to discover. This has certainly come to pass over the course of the last year - but I'd have to say, at a pace that's been disappointing. The most proficient recruiters ARE active across a range of social media and using a variety of candidate sourcing tools. They're finding candidates over and above what LinkedIn results would return - and have in their armoury a variety of means for reaching out to those candidates. But many recruiters are still heavily reliant on LinkedIn and the LinkedIn InMails system to produce results.
The dangers of this approach are all too clear. LinkedIn isn't comprehensive, so being overly reliant on it means only considering a fraction of the candidates who'd be ideal for your openings. Plus the InMails route is far less effective than engaging on say Twitter, or indeed picking up the phone!
I think it was Stacy Zapar who I saw predict that the ability to engage with candidates (rather than find them) would become the key skill in the recruitment market of tomorrow. Improving your company's skills in both researching candidate matches and then approaching them in a way that improves conversion rates will be the determining factor in winning over sought-after talent. So just as with social media marketing above, the question to ask yourself is whether your recruiting team are really cutting edge in this respect, or merely following the pack.
Would love to hear your thoughts and observations in the comments below. Has your company invested enough in social recruiting and social media marketing.... and if not, what's holding you back?
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