Social Recruiting: Evolution or Revolution?

While considering how best to categorize Social Recruiting, I began to consider, “Is this new trend: revolutionary or evolutionary?” For some, using social media tools for recruiting is simply a natural evolution. Whereas, other believe that it is a revolutionary change.

From sharing job postings with your network to finding prospective candidates on Twitter to blogging about the job search, proponents of revolution argue that while recruiting has always been social, these new tools are fundamentally shifting the ways candidates and companies connect. As a result, these changes are far more than just evolutionary.

Whether a prospective candidate walks into a company based on the “Help Wanted” sign in the window or responds to a job advertisement online, proponents of evolution argue that recruiting is, always has been, and always will be social. Therefore, calling Social Recruiting revolutionary is extreme.

Revolutionary Recruiting
So, who’s right? I think that both positions have valid arguments. Overall, I believe that social media tools are creating a revolutionary recruiting environment that enables candidates and companies to engage in a new and different ways. Prior to Social Recruiting, the responsibility for sourcing candidates belonged primarily to members of a centralized recruiting team. Members of the recruiting team would utilize a variety of tactics (building a network, advertising openings, visiting career fairs, holding information sessions, seeking employee referrals, and utilizing search engines) to connect with prospective candidates. The ultimate reach of these methods depends on a variety of factors including: size of the recruiting team, who members of the recruiting team know, which channels they use, and timing alignment between candidate search and company opening.

Fragmented Distribution
With Social Recruiting, every employee of the company along with members of their network has the potential to impact recruiting because social media tools have democratized the communication platform. Seemingly everyone can blog, tweet, or give a Facebook update to their personal and professional network. This trend enables companies to quickly and easily spread their employment brand, messaging, and job opportunities to the Social Web via employees and their associated networks. Within this distributed network, interactive communication occurs between employees and the organization, the organization and prospective candidates, and prospective candidates and employees (current & former). However, the channel through which communications pass is far more fragmented and much harder to directly control than traditional methods. This is one of the many reasons why organizations are reluctant to fully embrace Social Recruiting. The benefit of fragmentation is expanded reach: compelling content can spread further faster while content that misses the mark has a short shelf life.

How to Benefit?
To take full advantage of this reach, companies must strategically consider how to package their content (employment messaging/brand & job openings) so that it can easily be shared without their direct involvement. When done properly, companies can but they no longer need to rely on pushing their employment messaging or job openings through job boards, career fairs, or their company websites to attract the best candidates. With Social Recruiting, companies can utilize the network of their recruiting team as well as their broader employee base to attract prospective candidates. This revolutionary shift moves the recruiting team from tactically seeking ways to connect with candidates to strategically managing the connection of various networks inside and outside of the organization to recruit best-in-class talent. Organizations that grab hold of this shift will ultimately have a much easier time attracting, selecting, and retaining talent.

-Omowale Casselle


About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community that connects college students and corporations.

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