Key Social Networking Strategies for Talent Acquisition
LinkedIn recently published a survey that stated 80–90% of talent acquisition organizations leverage social networking sites in their recruiting activities. If your organization does not leverage social media when recruiting candidates, you are late to the game. Based on our experience helping clients transform their talent acquisition organizations, ScottMadden has identified four social networking strategies that every talent acquisition organization should employ. Download this report to learn more.View More
LinkedIn recently published a survey that stated 80–90% of talent acquisition organizations leverage social networking sites in their recruiting activities. If your organization does not leverage social media when recruiting candidates, you are late to the game. Based on our experience helping clients transform their talent acquisition organizations, ScottMadden has identified four social networking strategies that every talent acquisition organization should employ.
STRATEGY #1 – LEVERAGE SOCIAL NETWORKING TO EXPAND TALENT POOLS/PIPELINES
As the war for talent continues, talent acquisition organizations must evolve to manage both active and passive candidates. As described in an Aberdeen study (“The Talent Acquisition Lifecycle,” Aberdeen Group, 2011), “Best-in-Class” talent acquisition organizations share three common characteristics:
- The ability to define talent requirements that meet business needs
- A culture where all employees view finding great talent as a part of their jobs
- A focus on building relationships and talent pools that target critical roles with the greatest impact on organizational performance
The first step in executing this strategy is defining key talent pools/pipelines for your organization. A talent pool is a group of qualified internal and external candidates who are identified by common characteristics required for a select group of jobs. A well-planned talent pool strategy incorporates:
- “Hot Jobs” or hard-to-fill positions
- “Hot Jobs” typically require more effort to fill because: (1) the talent supply is low—there is a lack of qualified candidates with the necessary experience and/or education requirements, or (2) the demand for qualified candidates is extremely high due to industry growth
- Example “Hot Jobs”
- Utility industry: Nuclear Engineers
- Healthcare industry: Critical Care RNs/Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse
- Common candidate characteristics by job (e.g., core competencies, education requirements)
- Tags that clearly identify required qualifications and competencies by job
- Competitors with desired job candidates able to demonstrate the required skills and a proven track record
After talent pools are clearly defined, social networking and Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tools provide opportunities to exponentially grow the number of external and internal candidates within each talent pool by:
- Giving recruiters the ability to conduct keyword searches on the major social media sites to identify candidates with information in their social media profile that aligns with the competencies, requirements, and tags identified for each talent pool
- Providing recruiters with candidates’ work histories without having a resume
- Notifying recruiters when candidates are updating their profiles, which may indicate they are looking for new opportunities
- Highlighting connections between external candidates and current employees
- Allowing sourcers and recruiters to connect with passive and active candidates without having e-mail addresses or telephone numbers
Mini Case Study
A healthcare company recently completed an HR transformation from a decentralized talent acquisition model, where each hospital was responsible for all recruiting activities, to a shared services model. In the new model, a centralized sourcing team was responsible for finding active and passive candidates. During the transition to the new model, talent acquisition leaders worked with business leaders to identify the most critical jobs for the organization and determine the key characteristics, qualifications, and competencies required for each job. The team then used this insight to define talent pools for the organization and a corresponding social networking sourcing strategy.
The sourcing team conducted searches across all major social networking sites, using specific talent pool characteristics. Sourcers reviewed candidate profiles on social networking sites to ensure minimum job qualifications were met and then added candidates to talent pools contained within the CRM. If a prospect was passive, the sourcing team established a relationship with the candidate via social networking sites to gauge their level of interest in new opportunities. The sourcing team also monitored activity on social networking sites to identify candidates that may be preparing for a career change.
Leveraging social networking sites to build talent pools enabled the talent acquisition organization to plan more effectively for its future workforce. Before the transformation, the talent acquisition organization did not formally track or monitor talent pool statistics. After establishing the sourcing team, creating well-defined talent pools, and leveraging social networking and a CRM, the talent acquisition organization could determine which social networking channels provided the best leads and proactively developed strategies to aggressively build talent pools to support workforce needs.
Prior to implementing the CRM, the sourcing team consolidated all of the spreadsheets it was using to track prospects/and candidates to establish a baseline on the size of its talent pools. Three months after implementing the CRM, the talent acquisition organization expanded the size of each talent pool by at least 30%.
The following example shows how organizations leverage popular social networking tools, such as LinkedIn, to help source candidates for talent pools.
STRATEGY #2 – DEVELOP COMPETITOR INTELLIGENCE
Social networking gives talent acquisition organizations limitless capacity to gain competitor intelligence. However, many organizations do not leverage social networks to learn about the candidates working for competitors or do not understand which competitors provide the best pipeline for future openings. To ensure talent acquisition organizations are proactively learning about their competition and are translating that intelligence into action, we recommend the following:
- Identify the top five to ten companies competing for the same talent within your industry and/or market
- Include competitor information in your talent pool definition and social networking sourcing strategy
- Encourage sourcers and recruiters to follow the top five to ten competitor companies on social networking sites
- Encourage sourcers and recruiters to establish connections with passive candidates at the top five to ten competitor companies
- Monitor competitor-recruiting activity (e.g., campus visits, career fairs, conference attendance) on social networking sites
Several marketing groups now offer a Social Recruitment Monitor (SRM) score, which measures customer and candidate engagements across multiple social media platforms. These services are able to track interest and clicks affiliated with your company versus those of your close competitors.
STRATEGY #3 – IDENTIFY CONNECTIONS WITH YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYEES
How do companies create a culture where all employees consider finding great talent a part of their job? In October 2013, ScottMadden published “Social Recruiting: Three Benefits of Engaging Employees in Your Social Media Plan.” In the article, we explain that one way to start building a talent acquisition culture is to increase employee referrals by leveraging social media to facilitate introductions to prospective candidates. This step in the process can benefit the company two-fold. Leveraging connections between employees and high-potential candidates provide recruiters an immediate, warm introduction opportunity. At the same time, current employees feel valued by the organization, as well as responsible for providing viable candidates to the Talent Acquisition organization. It isn’t just about receiving a referral bonus any longer. This feeling of responsibility and importance truly helps build a talent acquisition culture, while also improving an employee’s engagement with the organization.
Last, leveraging social networking to build a talent acquisition culture is a great way to upgrade your workforce. When engaged in the talent acquisition process, high performers tend to refer other high performers. In a survey sent to talent acquisition professionals, we found that 91% of new hires referred by high-performing employees develop into high-performing employees.
STRATEGY #4 – PROMOTE YOUR EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION AND COMPANY CULTURE
With Facebook at one billion members, Twitter with more than 500 million accounts, LinkedIn with nearly 300 million users, and Instagram with more than 150 million profiles, an increasing number of qualified and interested people spend a fair portion of their days on one or more of these popular social platforms. In a recent survey conducted by Forbes magazine, less than 40% of Forbes readers had a Twitter account and 21% of Forbes readers did not know about Instagram. Assuming that readers of Forbes are representative of managers and business leaders across industries, these statistics may suggest that business leaders are not early adopters of social networking and may not fully understand the potential of social networking.
For Talent Acquisition organizations, social networking is an inexpensive, easy alternative to promote the company’s employee value proposition and culture. Social networking sites also allow organizations to tell a story through photos and video, communication vehicles that resonate strongly with millennial candidates. We frequently see leading practice Talent Acquisition organizations using social networking sites to promote their employee value proposition, showcase their company culture, and attract potential candidates by:
- Using photos to show a “day in the life” of employees
- Advertising the company’s recruiting efforts
- Recognizing achievements of current employees
- Encouraging all employees to “follow” the company on social networking sites
- Integrating social networking sites and company websites through use of hashtags
When utilizing this strategy, remember that each hand washes the other. Do not neglect your website in favor of a social media campaign and vice versa. Tie the two together by using hashtags on pictures, articles, and accomplishments published on your website. When your employees post blogs or respond to LinkedIn discussions, ask them to insert a company-specific hashtag to drive traffic back to the website. Alternatively, hire a company to increase your brand recognition through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and links from social media (e.g., Facebook) back to your company website.
In order for talent acquisition organizations to fully leverage the benefits of social networking, talent acquisition professionals must become social networking resident experts for the enterprise and become super users of both internal and external social networking tools. Ideally, talent acquisition professionals should also:
- Establish connections with the business managers and employees they support
- Participate in social networking forums and groups that may provide leads to potential candidates (e.g., corporate alumni groups, industry groups, higher education groups)
- Promote aspects of the company culture through strategic use of social networking status updates
Companies that explore opportunities for business leaders to maintain connections with strategic talent through the use of social networking to complement talent acquisition processes will experience greater success in recruitment. Why not say hello now?
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