Social Recruiting has been a really hot topic in recruiting over the past year with a variety of opinions on either side of the fence in terms of it being a viable recruiting strategy going forward or a fad that will die out in the next few years. I for one, think that social recruiting or the act of utilizing social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to engage and recruit qualified candidates can be an important part of your overall recruitment marketing strategy.

The problem that exists for most organizations is they are unsure how to begin using social platforms for recruiting and/or give up in the space without giving it an honest try.

Here are 5 ways that I’ve seen social recruiting fail for recruiting organizations:

Lack of an overall strategy: Just like anything you do in recruiting, there needs to be an overarching strategy behind your social recruiting. Who is in charge of your social profiles? Are you going to get all your recruiters involved on these channels? What content will you be sharing with your followers / contacts (this is important!)? Having a broad strategy before jumping in will be extremely helpful in determining what you want social recruiting to bring to your organization.

Also, note that when I say broad I don’t think that developing a strategy needs to be too specific or stop you from experimenting with social platforms. Experimentation is absolutely needed for social and your strategy should be able to change to reflect what you learn from using these platforms.

Lack of measurement: One of the biggest cries against social recruiting is that you can’t measure it’s impact. I disagree as I believe there are a ton of great ways to measure your social media impact. Here are a few:

  • Career Site Hits: You can easily set up a web analytics tool like Google Analytics to let you know how many people are hitting your career site and more importantly determine how many are coming from your social profiles. You should also measure conversions for these as well.
  • Mentions / RT’s: Mentions and RT’s can you give you an indication of how remarkable your content is and is pretty easy to track. Use a tool like TweetDeck and monitor in real-time anyone that mentions or RT’s your content on Twitter.
  • Applicant Data: There is also technology out there that can give you the source data for candidates that become applicants in your ATS. These recruitment metrics can be valuable when compared to job boards and other recruiting sources you use in your overall strategy.

Kevin Wheeler wrote a really good article on this topic the other day called “Getting More Value From Your Social Media“.

We don’t have enough time - With the down economy and smaller staffs, recruiters are extremely busy trying to keep the ship afloat much less trying to start a new recruiting initiative. While social recruiting is free in terms of $, it is expensive in terms of labor hours. So when determining whether a social recruiting will work for you, take note that there will be a time commitment associated with it. If you aren’t willing the time (especially early on) to learn and develop your social profiles / connections, then it might not be worth it to even start the strategy at this time.

Will they like us? - In talking with organizations about social media, one huge concern is how they will deal with negative feedback from candidates / other users. My answer to this is to just respond honestly. Transparency in the social media world is the best policy and the more you stay on top of comments about your company on these channels, the faster you can deal with problems and figure out what’s broken in your process.

This, however, goes back to the point before. If you don’t have somebody checking your profiles daily to respond to these negative or positive (few really worry about responding to these although it is just as important.) you may not want to start your social recruiting quite yet.

Just another job board - My biggest pet peeve with some companies recruiting on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook is that they treat their profiles just like another job board. Every time they have a new job opening they post it to these profiles and move on, then wonder why their Twitter profile is not generating leads. Social Media is about engaging, having conversations and sharing great content. When you put together your social recruiting strategy, make sure to discuss what types of content you think we be valuable to share with the candidates that you want to engage with.

Most importantly, make sure to share this content on a daily basis and follow other users that provide this type of content for easy sharing and reference. It’s OK and encouraged to share job openings on your social profiles, however if job posts are all your feed is, I can guarantee you may not see the results from your profile as you would like.

Those are a few of the reasons I see as to why social recruiting fails. The key is to determine an overarching strategy behind using social media in recruiting and keeping active with it. Social Recruiting success comes from going all in because a half-hearted attempt just won’t cut it.

What other reasons have you seen for why a social recruiting strategy failed?

About the Author: Chris is the Marketing Specialist for SmashFly Technologies. SmashFly is the provider of the first recruitment marketing platform that provides companies and staffing firms with job ad distribution, Recruitment CRM, mobile recruiting and the best real time recruitment metrics for all their recruiting efforts online.

Views: 322

Comment by Justin Miller on November 30, 2010 at 3:49pm

I haven't seen it fail for my company, in fact I'm glad you wrote the article because it basically sums up what you(recruiting company) should be doing but aren't.

It takes time to curate but once you have it running, it can be very easy (a minute here, a minute there)

At the very least what it does is help your company have a more out-reached brand, now you can label yourself how you want to and reach out to people with the message your marketing team hopefully nailed down.

I know as a marketing manager who has embraced social media, it's hard getting recruiters on board but the best and easy way to get them to embrace it is when they have a candidate come to THEM because they saw our videos on Youtube, or follow our tweets about now just jobs we have open, but content that pertains to their industry and in turn keeps them engaged. Social Media now accounts for a major stream of traffic to our site.
Comment by Paul Alfred on November 30, 2010 at 8:13pm
Great Post Chris ... You are dead on ... !!
Comment by Timothy Yandel on November 30, 2010 at 8:33pm
I agree that you can't just dabble in social media and expect great results. I find a similarity when I talk to recruiters that go to networking events now and again and say they never get anything out of them. As in, they never talk to a person who's looking at that point or someone who's hiring right now so the recruiter feels they've wasted their time and doesn't go to one again. Social media, just like networking events, doesn't replace what you do on a daily basis but it's supposed to enhance it.

Having hack recruiters hang their lifeline to their Twitter account as a means of survival without having any real strategy as to what they're building says more about the recruiter than Twitter, doesn't it? It's not the tool but the carpenter; it's not the typewriter but the writer; and it's not social media but the recruiter that's going to make it effective.

Here's a recent post I wrote that relates:

Tim Yandel
Comment by Heather R. Huhman on December 2, 2010 at 5:43pm
Hi Chris,

I agree! Social recruiting should be strategic and "transparency in the social media world is the best policy."

Social recruiting also opens the door to two-way communication with candidates and 3rd degree candidates. And you have to admit, some of the aggressive candidates are posting “hire me” videos on YouTube, which you don’t want to miss.

If timidity is the issue, you’ll only prolong the opportunity to benefit from increased online visibility. Social talent communities (like Cachinko) help you maintain your brand on job sites, manage qualified job seekers, and increase job posting SEO to reach those passive candidates via search engines. Why not reduce your labor hours and job board dependency?

Thanks for the post! Great content.
Comment by Chris Brablc on December 3, 2010 at 10:53am
Thanks for the all the comments!

Justin - I totally agree with you that social media can be a great branding tool and the hardest part is getting started (once you are on a role it's definitely easier.) I'm also glad your social strategy is working. I wrote this post with common mistakes and complaints I've seen recruiters make with social media.

Paul - Always like the comments!

Timothy - Great point. Social media is not meant to replace any of the interactions and things that a recruiter needs to do on a daily basis to be successful. It is another medium that can help enhance these interactions and expand your exposure to other candidates. If you stink at recruiting, you'll stink just as much with social recruiting.

Heather - Thanks for the comment! You need to have a strategy in place so you can take advantage of these social tools. I'd also add the longer you wait, the more likely your competitors will beat you to these social candidates. The two way communication (which can happen via phone as well.) is key and the fact is that candidates especially younger are more comfortable on these platforms than over the phone. It will be interesting to see how this space fully shapes up.


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