I was recently revisiting some learning & development material I pulled together last year on the topic of Communication. Because of the enormity of this subject I made the decision at the time to break it down into two sessions. The first was the art of “Receiving” (a.k.a listening) the premise was that contrary to popular belief, the actual key ingredient to being a master communicator is the ability to listen and give 100% attention to others. Not, as many believe, the ability to broadcast (speak, email, text etc ) and get your message heard / received. Obviously the latter is important but the former more so. Then it hit me, “holy social recruiting Batman!” Surely the same needs to be applied in the digital social arena?
With the numerous conversations I’ve been having on the subject lately it is quite evident (to me at least) that there are a lot of people out there too concerned with what they should be saying in the digital social space.
It then got me thinking about my post A newbies 10 considerations for social media recruitment (SMR). Subsequent to releasing this I updated it with an 11th consideration. I was directed to a great blog post that discussed the importance of sorting out your content strategy before doing anything else. At the time I had one of those moments where you smack yourself in the forehead with the palm of your hand whilst simultaneously omitting and audible, “Derrr!” Although my original 10 considerations where in no real order I was kicking myself for not even listing anything truly, “content” related in my top 10 – let alone having it at the very beginning.
Well, I’ve kinda had one of those moments again and as a result my list of 10 11 newbies considerations is now a 12. Arguably, before you think about your content, your square one, your first step, your numero uno needs to be to about listening. It’s the basics of marketing isn’t it. Listen to what your audience (in this instance candidates / prosecptive candidates) want and provide them with it.
Listen to what folks out there are saying about your employer brand; What they’re saying about their recent recruitment experiences with you (glassdoor.com anyone?); Why they would work for you, why they wouldn’t work for you – do this and the answer to your question of, “What should we be saying to people?” will become crystal clear.
The alternative? Don’t listen and talk at people about what you think they want to hear… What do you mean, “a bit like your blog, Ben?!”
Seems flippin’ obvious as I write and yes, it’s been there in the background of my thinking but it really needs to be pushed to the fore. You need to listen to what your candidatess (existing and potential) are saying and tailor your content in response to the trends and patterns you identify in their conversations, tweets, blogs, discussions, comments, questions, queries, concerns, sentiment (positive and negative) and personal experiences etc regarding you and your company’s brand (employer and consumer).
As a basic example you may hear a lot of radio chatter about people having to wait too long for CV or interview feedback. You may see people aren’t even considering your company because of other bad press you may be receiving. There could be people discussing poor or positive onboarding processes they‘ve experienced. Whatever you unearth, good and bad, you’ll be able to tailor your content strategy to respond to the needs of your audience. Additionally you’ll be able to feed your findings into the continual evolution of improvements to the appropriate internal systems, processes and procedures.
In other words:
“When organisations start with ‘What should we say?’ they generally put the cart ahead of the horse. What organisations should be starting with is, ‘What should we listen for?’”
Oliver Blanchard – Social Media ROI