As recruiting has evolved, social recruiting has become a major piece of the recruitment process. Unfortunately, this is often done poorly.  We've all had the experience of logging onto LinkedIn and getting an email from a recruiter we've never met in an industry we've never considered.  Usually, they read like a form email detailing the recruiter's needs.  Recently, I laughed out loud when I opened a recruiter email offering to endorse me for whatever 5 skills I wanted if I'd endorse him for 5 recruiting skills. While that caught my eye, it caught my eye for the wrong reasons.  In their zest to embrace new technology, some recruiters have gotten it all wrong.  Social recruiting can be a great way to reach new pools of talent, but it should be authentic.  After all, social media was invented to connect people together in more meaningful ways.  But spam social recruiting emails and offers for fake endorsements don't create a meaningful connection.

Social Recruiting is About Them, Not You

At GreenJobInterview, we believe candidates join one company over another because of the connections they develop.  These connections are formed during the hiring process and define the candidate experience. This is what the commitment to improving candidate experience is about- making real connections.  If that experience is established with an inauthentic social recruiting strategy, it can lead to a poor candidate experience or a candidate who strings you along despite their not really being all that interested.  So how do you make social recruiting authentic?

  • Focus social recruiting on the candidate.  Social media gives recruiters access to a world of people they have never met, many of whom have never seen their job postings. Most of these people aren't going to be interested in these job positions, but a canned email isn't going to pique their interest.  The most successful recruiters I know initiate conversations with candidates and keep it about the candidate.  One successful recruiter I know likes to send an email about something they've noticed on the candidate's profile.  "I saw you're in marketing. Are you feeling frustrated with the recent Google algorithm updates?"  This kind of email is personal and authentic in the eyes of a candidate.  Even better, it's not a sales pitch out the gate.  It allows the candidate and the recruiter to form a bond before the soft sell is made.  This is the kind of social recruiting email that can attract a passive candidate's attention, not a wall of text describing their recruiting needs.
  • Take the candidate on a journey. At some point, the conversation will turn to your company and the open job description. If candidates today are seeking enhanced transparency, it's helpful to take them on a journey and describe what life is really like at your company.  This is beneficial in multiple ways- a candidate wants to know what the team is like and a recruiter doesn't want to waste their time pursuing a candidate who can't work with the team.  There's no sugar coating an environment that is results driven. Keep this in mind when social recruiting so you don't misrepresent a position or your company and end up with a bad hire.
  • Create trust.  Social recruiting is essentially about initiating small conversations and gaining the trust of candidates.  This isn't going to be gained from spammy overt sales emails.  Instead, this will be gained by developing real relationships.  Recruiting used to be all about relationships.  Today, many recruiters have seemingly forgotten that aspect.  Enhance the trust with your networks of candidates by getting real.  Candidates won't always bite at your positions, but they will keep you as a recruiter in mind if they feel they can trust you.  Every social media channel has different rules of engagement.  Twitter recruiting will differ from LinkedIn recruiting as will Facebook recruiting.  Be wary of the rules of engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly.  Keep your conversations real and authentic and don't treat every candidate as an opportunity to sell.  Sometimes, social recruiting is the long game, not the short turn.  Keep this in mind and develop the relationships that are based on trust.
  • Develop engaging job postings.  The average job posting is dry and boring.  Mostly, they list a set skills that companies are seeking and some vague skills that make candidates scratch their heads. These aren't going to attract the top candidates to your open positions.  Instead, develop something that is engaging and dare I say it, fun.  This will go a long way towards gaining the attention of candidates.  Engaging job positions can show off the team, explain a little bit more about the culture, and sell your company for you without your having to sell the candidate itself. 
  • Interact with candidates after hours. The reality is that if you're looking to attract passive candidates, they're busy from 9 to 5.  Passive candidates are often the target of social recruiting efforts, but they're usually working already.  How do you get their attention if they're not online during 9 to 5?  The answer is to be available after hours when these candidates are often online.  After work, candidates rarely want to get formal.  Instead, try being more relaxed with your communications to lead to a deeper discussion in the future.

With these tools, you can enhance your social recruiting efforts and make them more authentic. With authentic social recruiting efforts, you can attract more candidates to your open job positions and establish talent pools which have great trust in you as a recruiter. Remember, candidates choose one employer over another based on personal connections.  By personalizing the recruiting process, you can establish a wonderful candidate experience.

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Comment by Eric Putkonen on November 9, 2015 at 10:59am

Great article, Catherine!  I keep saying something similar ("it's not about you!") when it comes to social media.  So many don't get this and it is all about them.

Comment by Catherine Hess on November 10, 2015 at 11:19am

Thank you! It's good to hear there are others out there spreading the message!

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