Beyond Social Recruiting: How SM & SEO Change Agencies’ Hunt for New Business

For most of our industry’s history, recruiters reached new business contacts using paper: yellow page ads to touch prospective clients and job classifieds to connect with potential candidates. But then the Internet revolution shifted most paper-based communications online. Job boards provided a better way to find jobs and email made client communication easier. As candidates and clients adopted these new things, recruiters switched as well.

Now, a second wave of the Internet revolution is cresting, changing the way people and businesses interact again. Whether you call it Web 2.0, the social web, or whatever, two aspects matter most for recruiters:

  1. People no longer want businesses interrupting them, whether with irrelevant emails or untimely cold calls. They want to connect on their terms, according to their timing.
  2. People are increasingly turning to their personal and professional networks to help figure out which businesses to work with.

You can feel this wave swelling. Candidates can be found without job board ads. Clients don’t reply to emails as regularly. Candidates and clients are changing how they want to communicate again, and the staffing and recruiting agency community will have to adapt.

Are you Social? LinkedIn is Just the Beginning.

Most of us use LinkedIn – a lot. For many recruiters it’s their primary research and sourcing tool. But while recruiting professionals may spend hours logged into LinkedIn throughout the day, clients and candidates are spending way more time on Facebook and Twitter. And that’s where recruiters will have to be to connect with them.

Facebook has over half a billion users now, more than six times the amount on LinkedIn. Half of them log in on any given day, versus only 2.8 visits per month to LinkedIn. The average user spends more than an hour per day on Facebook. If you think it’s all Gen Y, guess again. 30% of them are between 35 and 50 years old, and the 50+ age range is their fastest growing group of users.

If you think Facebook is just for sharing photos and finding old flames, you’re mistaken. Let me share a personal story from two weeks ago: I was checking my Facebook wall before heading home when I noticed that an old high school buddy had joined a rapidly growing start-up that was looking to hire sales people and graphic artists. A recruiter responded within minutes, and my friend was happy to engage him since the time was right and the recruiter was already in his network.

And how about Twitter? Sure, it’s intimidating, but Twitter is rapidly becoming the preferred way to share content online. Already, about 100 conversations per minute (per minute!) about jobs and hiring flow through Twitter each day. Recruiters can’t afford to not to be there.

Are you found? It’s not Just about Social Media.

Familiar image? If you think this blog is strictly about social media, think again. Yes, social media is one piece of the puzzle, but it’s bigger than that… much bigger. The term “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) is something that most of us are familiar with by now, but what does it have to do with recruiting?

What happens when a candidate can’t find a job, or a client can’t find a recruiter through their social network? That’s right, they Google it- “Seattle marketing jobs”, “New Jersey recruiters”. Search is what connects people to things they need outside of their network. Why? Because we all trust the results that Google and other search engines will return…but only the top results.

Hundreds of thousands of clients and candidates turn to search to connect with recruiters each month. Having a beautiful Website isn’t enough. If you haven’t invested enough time and money into optimizing it for search, you probably aren’t showing up anywhere near the top which means you won’t be found and won’t get any new leads.

Riding the New Wave… Bullhorn Reach

While your prospect candidates and clients continue to ride the new communication wave, few recruiters have yet to join them.

Let’s face it - mastering just one of these channels and then growing a following and reputation takes a substantial amount of time, nevermind mastering all of them simultaneously. This is exactly why we just unveiled a new service to help - Bullhorn Reach. What makes Bullhorn Reach so unique is its ability to solve so many problems at once for not only recruiters, but sales.

In this industry, the three R’s are critical - Reach, Relationships and Reputation. If you don’t have reach, you risk missing out on the passive gems that your clients are drooling for. If you don’t have relationships, you’re likely bad at your job, and if you’re bad at your job, your recruiter/sales reputation will eventually plummet. Bullhorn Reach harnesses the three R’s through one online service, taking the stress out of adapting to the new communication wave.

We are extending the Bullhorn Reach beta to a very select number of staffing and recruiting agency professionals throughout the fall, followed by a commercial release this winter. While we continue to enhance the service throughout the Beta, I'd be interested to hear from agency recruiters within this forum on how social media and search has changed your business.

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