Tuesday, February 8, 2011

High-Impact Social Recruiting Errors — The Top 30 to Avoid

by Dr. John Sullivan

Using social media to support recruiting efforts is justifiably a hot topic. Social media tools are one of the top three most powerful recruiting tools, along with referral programs and mobile technologies. Despite its potential, the approach most recruiting functions are taking to leverage social media is haphazard and weak.

Merely being able to state that “we use it” seems to be the primary goal rather than being able to demonstrate significant measurable results. It is analogous to assuming that “going to the gym” alone will produce a dramatic weight loss; we all know it really requires the right strategy, the correct approach, the right tools, and avoiding high-impact errors. 
As corporate advisors, my associates and I are routinely analyzing emerging practices and identifying what characteristics lead to best practice, deliver maximum value, or contribute to career ending failure. While the list of asinine approaches emerging is immense, following are the top most impactful errors I see derailing efforts. If you are just starting to look at using social media or considering changes to your approach, consider this a checklist of things to avoid.

The Top 30 Most Impactful Errors in Social Media Recruiting

A) Strategy-related errors
No strategy — most recruiting functions do not have a weak social media strategy; they have no formal strategy at all. As a result, most efforts are ad hoc and are not integrated or coordinated. Almost universally, they lack clear goals, they have incredibly weak metrics, and there is little accountability for producing results. Without a clear strategy, an execution plan, and metrics to continually improve, no recruiting effort can be expected to produce extraordinary results.
Targeting active candidates — attempting to reach active candidates by posting job announcements is the #1 most common error. As a microcosm of society, most online communities are full of people not actively looking for a job, so broadcasting announcements to them is both annoying and ineffective. Social media is a great tool to identify and build relationships with employed top performers who are not actively looking for a job at this time. Ninety-nine percent of your focus should be on recruiting people who cannot be found on job boards or your corporate careers site.
Broadcasting when narrowcasting is needed — recruiters have a long history of sending “broadcast” messages that are widely distributed to everyone in the database. While this “one message fits-all” is appropriate on corporate career pages and job boards that service job seekers, it is a major mistake in social media. Instead, “narrowcast” messages that are tailored and sent only to specific “segments” of your target audience are required. The segments to target might include those with shared professional interests, the same job level, a common location, and shared personal interests.
Not using talent communities — the most powerful strategy in social media is building “talent communities.” Unfortunately, most recruiting managers have never heard of it. Pioneered by Microsoft, this “pre-need” recruiting strategy emphasizes building relationships over time with multiple targeted segments. The relationship is based on learning and professional sharing, rather than potential employment opportunities.
Relying on recruiters — most organizations expect recruiters to “own” social media recruiting; however, there are never enough recruiters to adequately carry the load. Fortunately, your employees are already active and visible on social media. The best firms instead rely on their employees to identify, to build relationships, and make referrals into the employee referral program.
Expecting speed, low cost, and high volume — if you want high-volume, low-cost recruiting to fill immediate needs, you should rely on job boards or referrals. Social media recruiting is incredibly effective but it takes time, resources, and will never produce high volumes of hires. Its focus must be on landing a relatively small number of “high-value” top performers, game-changers, and innovators.

Read the rest of the ERE article

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