Finding Top Talent by using Social Media Strategically

Companies will be able to attract top talent more effectively by leveraging social media using four key strategies. Though many companies are keen to explore social media, there is an underlying wariness as policies are trying to control the flow of information. This article provides an overview of social media and the potential application to attract top talent.

Underneath the iceberg of vacant jobs being advertised on job boards and newspapers, a strong invisible current of talent is ingeniously using social media to identify and strategize their next career moves. Prior to the popular rise and rise of social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, the talent sourcing process was limited to a linear process – where a vacancy is filled in transactional fashion, embedded in a perpetual recruitment environment of sourcing in new talent.

The advent of job boards have resulted in a significant shift away from print media, but compounded the overload of thousands of job boards, with job aggregator sites promising candidates to identify vacant roles. Though the cost of recruitment has been reduced, the process remained reactive.

Integrating Technologies 

The convergence of a number of technologies and the establishment of a talent pipeline has created the opportunity to develop relationships with talented candidates through an effective just-in-time recruitment model.

LinkedIn is the preferred social networking site from a business perspective, with more than 72 million users across the world. In Australia about 25% of all employed people are using LinkedIn. Users can create a brief profile with recommendations, making it easy for recruiters to search for talent.

Facebook is by far the most popular social media site, with more than 300 million users. Most professionals demarcate their social media presence, with limited access to Facebook restricted to friends and family, with a dash of business added for interest, though Facebook offers a level of granularity to separate friends and business contacts. Companies are increasingly using Facebook to create a social media presence. A weekly email report provides HR recruiters with statistics to track a summary of activities by fans.

Twitter is being used by a large number of companies to post job openings, though smart employers are also using it to share interesting news and to strengthen their employment brand. By using a tool like Tweetdeck, companies can easily monitor channels and track activity.

Companies can use creative ways to find talent through social media, by running competitions, surveys, blogs and email updates. The importance of reputation management cannot be overemphasized and a high level of authenticity needs to exist. Most companies will have a Social Media policy that determines the flow of information, with Internal Communication often reporting to HR, though there is a strong connection with Marketing departments.

Though some companies tend to use social media as just another distribution channel, a strategic sourcing strategy provides the challenge and opportunity to connect with potential future employees in ways exponentially more effective than reactive recruiting for job postings.

Building a Talent Pipeline

Companies can and should use social media to find top talent, by building a talent pipeline:

1. Leveraging LinkedIn to create a company network with alumni employees, staying in touch as these ex-employees have an excellent understanding of the business. Alumni should be able to register for events, finding about jobs and connecting with others. The boomerang effect extends beyond savings in recruitment costs, as alumni can move to customer organizations, or become ambassadors through their extended networks.

2. Engaging interested fans through Facebook and LinkedIn to track the company and maintain a watching brief about interesting company news and developments. Companies can enhance their employer brand by positive influencing interested applicants through regular updates.

3. Integrating the various social media in a deliberate and authentic fashion. By adopting a consistency in the information flow to potential future employees, companies can engage and connect with passive applicants in more meaningful ways that develop positive talent relationships.

4. Investing in technology rather than just banking the cost savings of recruitment by not using or limiting use of third party recruiters (TPRs). Using a good applicant tracking system (ATS) is not enough, as companies need to invest in resources such a researcher or social media recruiter, in order to maximize the benefits of social media to attract top talent.

Looking ahead to future talent needs

With the advent of technology, top talent are empowered to research their target company beyond annual reports to a level of granular detail where they will research the profiles of their future manager and the interviewer.

Companies need to invest and explore how they can tap into social media to find and attract top talent, long before they need to fill a specific role, rather than fighting fires by being stuck in a transactional recruitment system, where they are to busy to plant the seeds so they can enjoy the harvest.

Social media is much more than just another channel and by integrating it with the overall employer branding strategy, companies can attract top talent that can grow with the company.

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