4 Cs For Solid Social Recruiting Foundations

It’s been a while since my last post. It would appear a new job and the birth of a 2nd child can be rather draining on ones time. Who would have guessed?


It hasn’t been all inductions and nappies though. No siree.


The last few weeks has seen me putting into practice the theory I’ve been prattling on about over recent months regarding social recruitment… And I’m loving it! Out of respect for my employer’s confidentiality I can’t go into too much detail but Tesco are at the early stages of a really exciting journey in terms of social recruiting and I’m smack bang in the middle of it.


So. Theories and opinions are one thing. Practical application is often quite another. Where do you begin when the possibilities are so broad? For me there are four pillars I’ve learnt to be essential when looking to implement a social recruiting program – (in no particular order) Collaboration, Crisis Management, Content and Critical Analytics.  (Okay,the forth one could have simply been, “Analytics” but, “3 Cs and an A for Solid Social Recruiting Foundations,” just didn’t have the same ‘je ne se qua’… What do you mean my original title doesn’t either!?)


Collaboration:  This has to be a constant thread throughout but as an example think of the lines between Marketing and Recruitment and how blurred they are becoming. Candidates and customers are the same. Annoy a customer and you’ll probably negatively impact their perception of what it’s like to work for you. Upset a candidate and you’ll damage their whole perception of your overall brand – consumer and employer. The clue’s in the name of the concept Employee Branding, which is so heavily associated with social recruiting. The first word relates to HR. The second with Marketing, so naturally they have a lot to learn from each other and, to some extent, must move forward as a united front in your social recruiting efforts.


You’re also going to need to collaborate when it comes to…


Crisis Management:  A few of the biggest concerns you’ll encounter when starting on your social recruitment journey will be along the lines of:

  • “What if we say something stupid?”
  • “What if people start slagging us off?”
  • “What is someone says something illegal?”

Stakeholders are right to have these concerns. These events might happen and you could find yourself deep in the brown stuff if you don’t have a plan in place for when they do.  PR, Customer Services, Communications, L&D, Legal etc all need to be in the loop and mechanisms in place.

People slagging you off is a funny one. There will already be people out there moaning about you as an employer. Deal with it. My advice is that its better to be involved in the conversation and do something about it.

Then there are the “trolls.” People who’ll enter your communities and start smashing the place up just because they can. They’re the ones that spread the really nasty, unsubstantiated BS on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages for no apparent reason.


You’ll also have those people justified in their whinge.  They sent their CV 2 weeks ago and didn’t get feedback. They had an interview 4 weeks ago and haven’t heard anything since.  They met a recruiter who made innappropriate comments throughout the interview etc.


You’ll never be able to cover all the bases but having a plan in place for dealing with the above should be a solid start for you.


Content:  If you have nothing to say don’t say it. Plan your content and ensure its relevant to your audience(s). Establish a content strategy and schedule. Content is obviously important but it isn’t the be all / end all – as explained brilliantly on Olivier Blanchard’s blog. Don’t make it too promotional and beware of the perception of propoganda… To much of either and you may not quite be getting social recruiting etiquette. As I always say, its got to be about the Give! Give! Give!


Critical Analytics:  Analyse and review the content your pushing  and make adjustments based on your findings.  What content is / isn’t working? Which links are getting the clicks? What tweets are being retweeted? What blogs are getting the comments?


There are some really crap reasons for wanting to do social recruiting.  “Errrr, well, our competitors are doing it so it seems like a really cool thing do to” is one of them.


Do social recruitment because:

  • You want to reduce your agency dependancy by 50%.
  • You aim to increase candidate referrals from 100:1 to 20:1.
  • You want to save £50k off your job board spend.
  • You want to swipe £100k off your agency outlay.
  • You’re looking to drive 500 more candidates per week to your careers site..
  • etc etc….


Whatever your content and strategic objectives there are tools out there to help you analyse and keep track on all the above. Find and use them (Hootsuite, Radian6 and Conversocial to name a few), or find someone who can do it for you.


These are 4 pillars I’ve laid as the foundations to the social recruiting program I’m working on at Tesco. I’m not saying they’re the only ones you need to consider – Relationships, and the ability to build them with your community members is as essential as your content (see Oliviers blog post above) but there was no place for an R in the title of this post either :-)


What about others out there working in this space?  I’d be keen to hear from anyone out there getting involved in the social recruiting “doing”. What’s worked / working for you? What isn’t / hasn’t? In the name of being “Social” let’s share and help each other move forward on this journey.


Hungry for more?  Check me out at www.trecknowledgy.com - a blog about training and coaching through recruitment complexities, and please feel free to subscribe.  Follow me and my random recruitment blabberings on Twitter also - @TRecKnowledgy

Views: 411

Comment by Tim Spagnola on November 15, 2011 at 4:38pm

Ben- congrats on the little one. I know all too well how that goes, having two little guys running around myself. Good post with well thought out and easy to digest tips. I feel far too often it is the 'crap reason' that drives this process for the masses, but if a moment is spent on properly implementing the steps you outlined it can go a long long way.With regards to your current process- what would you say was the single biggest area you struggled with in getting everyone on the same page?

Comment by Ben on November 15, 2011 at 5:15pm
Hi Tim. Thanks for the comment. I know I can always count on you for the support.

You ask a very good question. I'm quite fortunate to be working in a company where there is big appetite for social recruiting from the very top, and this is cascading through the ranks. I'm kinda pushing against an open door. If this wasn't the case it could have been the biggest challenge. If the top people in the company aren't on board I would imagine you'll never get the momentum and traction you need.

Sometimes, in this environment, the challenge is to hold people back and get them to think about the "Why?" In a large company there are lots of people / departments doing their own thing, to varying levels of competence and thought behind their actions. Its great they're having a go but I guess, in answer to your question, the challenge is coaching others to ensure their activity in the social space has a purpose, structure, aims and goals etc The "suck it and see" approach will only get you so far.

I know you asked for a "single" but equal to above are those that are worried about the main concerns I raised in my post. These are often countered but demonstrating you have a solid plan in place and you're working with the relevant departments equipped to handle any such situations should they arise.

Hope that answers your question :)
Comment by Tim Spagnola on November 16, 2011 at 10:22am

Thanks Ben- it certainly does. Best of luck to you in moving forward and keep us informed on the progress.

Comment by Brian K. Johnston on November 16, 2011 at 10:28am

Analytics are so key... ROI must be there... Thanks for sharing.. Brian-



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