Don't Recruit on Social Media

Wait, what? Don't recruit on social media? But I thought you were a social recruiting advocate? Yes, yes I am. I'm also an advocate of advancing the way we think and report out about recruiting in conjunction with advances in the field.Last week the fab @Jason_DFW shared an interesting infographic about recruiters' use (or lack of) of Facebook and Twitter. Today, CareerXRoads shared their latest source of hire data and, GASP!, for 2011, only 3.5% of those surveyed used social media to make external hires.

The data isn't surprising at all, really. As a field, recruiting/talent acquisition/HR is making some major missteps in the way we think about the affect of social media on recruiting, how it is being used versus how it can and should be used, and what the data actually means. But first, a few admissions.

First, source of hire is dead.

There's no more accounting for source of hire. There simply isn't. The thing is, recruiters know this. And yet we continue to talk about it as if it hasn't changed at all. We admit that with any given candidate, there are likely a minimum of five sources that a candidate can choose or reference. Whether it's self administered (the candidate decides, on a survey for example, which source they'll report), or through direct application (the candidate clicks a Jobvite that came through Facebook), there's still no telling which sources played into the decision to apply and which was most influential or important.

Second, recruiters aren't using social media to make hires.

If they're using social at all, they're using it to engage, share, research, locate and influence candidates. But for some reason they don't see this as recruiting. If they're not using social, it's because they can't see past the immediate process steps for a search they're currently working on.

So what does this mean for social recruiting? As recruiting and talent acquisition leaders, we need to stop only thinking about the transaction and the process. We need to think about the influence points and inputs along the way.

  • What did the candidate think when he read your job description on the job board? Did that make him apply? Maybe. But what made him accept the job? And what were the inputs along the way?
  • Why do thousands of candidates follow company career Facebook pages? Why are they asking questions on those pages and interacting heavily with recruiters and employer brand leaders that engage with them?

Imagine sitting with a bunch of marketers in a conference room. They're talking about their media buy and marketing planning for an upcoming product launch. They don't focus on one source of purchase for the customer. Sure the process of purchase matters--without it, you don't sell and you don't make money. But to drive the purchase, you engage. Personally. And on multiple touchpoints. That's why marketers LOVE social media. They can better understand the customer through engagement, and better connect, build loyalty and target them this way.

And right now, recruiters aren't getting that. They're so focused on process, they only see the role of social in process. And if the new hire doesn't say "I found the job on Facebook" and the recruiter doesn't say "I hired the person through Twitter," they think social is worthless. I would too. But it's far from it.

So don't recruit on social media. Engage. Recruiting is the process. Branding is engagement. Without both, you're missing the boat. Want to know HOW? That's the next post. Stay tuned.



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