Companies get creative: Three ways to use social media to attract top talent

Due to a global skills shortage, 65% of organisations have experienced problems resourcing in the past year. There has never been a better time for companies to get creative with recruitment and as organisations increasingly invest in social media to build their online communities, what is being done to stand out in this vast and ever-changing social landscape?


Going virtual...

The Wall Street Journal is advising companies to ‘keep an eye on China’ as their organisations get inventive with their use of social media within recruitment. As Mike Tims, the Asia, Middle-East and Africa President at global human resources consultancy SHL Group Ltd, states,

“Traditional recruitment processes, as they are understood in the West, only really started to be used in China after 1978, with the gradual liberalizing of China’s economy. This has made it easier for China to ‘leapfrog’ these traditional approaches and embrace new recruitment methods more easily.”


Last September, the China division of auditing and consultancy company Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd offered a ‘virtual office tour’ on its careers page on Sina Corps Weibo, a Twitter-like Web-messaging service. Through this they hoped to engage more easily with their prospective hires, building a relationship with the community.

The tour is set-up like a videogame, starting in an airport where the player chooses their desired office destination – Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong. After ‘flying’ to their selected destination, they arrive at the local Deloitte virtual office where they can become accustomed with the workplace – chatting with employees and visiting meeting rooms and offices.

With around 17,000 people playing their game, it has proven very popular with potential applicants. Due to its success other Deloitte member firms now plan to adopt similar approaches. Alongside this, their interactive approach has helped increase, maintain and engage the 48,500 hopefuls that follow their career page.


Making a game of it...


Like Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd, the Marriott Hotel has chosen to utilise ‘gamification’ in their resourcing strategy. By designing a virtual environment, dubbed “My Marriott Hotel”, which simulates the Marriott workplace, they have created a forum that works as an educational tool, whilst at the same time, increases brand awareness.

Francesca Martinez explains how the game works –

“First, players manage a ‘virtual’ hotel restaurant kitchen. They buy equipment and ingredients on a budget, hire and train employees, and serve guests. Points are earned for happy customers, lost for poor service and ultimately, players are rewarded when their operation turns a profit. Then they are able to move on to other areas of hotel operations.”

‘My Marriott Hotel’ is available on the careers section of the Marriott Hotel company website. However, from here you are taken to the Facebook App that runs it. By using Facebook to host their game, the company has immediate access to millions of potential gamers where, if accessed via Facebook instead of the Marriott Hotel site, the game will be viewed not unlike ‘Farmville’. Although it is primarily a recruitment tool, the game is also fun for the casual player, spreading the brand even further globally. Martinez says  that the response to 'My Marriott Hotel' had been phenomenal: 

“At any given time, we have players from 120 different countries running their own kitchens – and that’s compared to the 73 countries we actually operate in. We also know that one-third of our gamers end up clicking on the ‘try it for real’ button, which pops them out onto the careers section of our website.”

The success of this has got Marriott considering how they can implement this strategy into other areas of their organisation. Later this year they plan to launch a social game on RenRen – China’s answer to Facebook – which will allow users to virtually manage a restaurant. They hope that this, alongside other strategies, will allow them to compete within China’s very competitive talent market, attracting, by 2015, 20,000 Chinese people to work in the 40 new hotels they are going to build in the country.


Just 'Pin' it...


The instantly addictive Pinterest isn’t just for comparing wedding dresses, sharing favourite recipes and creating collages of those places you wish you could go to, it can also be used practically within resourcing strategy. Here are a few ways companies have embraced the ‘Pin it’ culture:


To advertise job opportunities...

“Traditional job posts are boring, so we made this board detailing our criteria.”

The New Traditionalists – a furniture company located in New York City – has created a board to advertise for a new Client Services Specialist. Their whole company ethos is revealed through a sequential post of annotated photos, pictures and quotes that explain not only the job description, the type of person they’re looking for and what their company is about, but also reveals the underlying style of their organisation – a fun, stimulating and invigorating workplace. Whether you want the job or not, you can’t help but read it and smile…and maybe just wish that had been what you were looking for. Through Pinterest they are creating the unforgettable employer brand.


To show off their brand...

“Your personality is your brand…so why not hook up with a company that embraces individuality? Inspire. Lead. Learn. Grow. Work here and Live Más.”

Taco Bell Careers use Pinterest to encourage others to explore their organisation, combining the promotion of the company with an exploration of their workplace. Their boards give potential applicants the chance to get to know them before and during the application process, personalising the brand for both the candidate and potential consumer.


Pin for a cause...

“Enjoying chocolate bunnies is a favourite Easter tradition of mine. [I just donated 10 dollars to the Autism cause by pinning this photo. Learn how you can #Pin4Autism too by clicking on the image above.]”

Lindt has used their Pinterest boards for more than engaging customers, employees and potential hires, they promote pinning for a cause. Over the 2012 Easter season Lindt donated $1.00 to the charity Autism Speaks for every pin that included the words #Pin4Autism (as of April the 3rd until Easter this rose to $10.00 in their bid to reach $10,000). By promoting their partnership with Autism Speaks through such an easily accessible channel Lindt successfully reached their goal of $10,000 over the Easter season.  Whilst this undertaking may not be directly linked to recruitment, their success shows the power of the ‘Pin’ and reveals a lot about their brand. They have provided potential candidates with a window into their organisation and everything they stand for and support. Through this applicants will know if working for Lindt is right for them, before they even see the job advertisement, especially if they find the companies corporate social responsibility strategy appealing.

With so many organisations engaging with a limited number of skilled industry professionals, it is vital that companies publicise what makes them different. These approaches reflect companies that are not only embracing social media but using it to positively enhance their candidate’s experience and promote their employer brand. To create an approach that fits best with your brand and organisation, consider what an employee believes defines your company and what makes working for you different and enjoyable, then chose a method that reveals and complements this. Encourage potential candidates to become part of your organisation before they even know they want to be there.

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