Finding strong talent is difficult today, as any recruiter no doubt knows. That's because the people who are most in demand--those higher educated, highly skilled applicants--are in relatively short supply. Winning their attention means marketing your company more effectively. But how?
Go where the fish are. That's how you catch fish, right? The same holds true with recruiting. You cannot attract and hire the talent you seek if you don't go after them where they are already engaging and communicating. And today, that means getting on social media. Period. Go to any popular restaurant during lunchtime, and you'll likely see a number of faces that aren't even looking at each other. They're zoned in on their smart phones, virtually all the time now.
And what are they doing? They're sharing and consuming information in real time on social networks, and a lot of it is professionally related. A recent study from Jobvite has proven that younger job seekers with higher levels of education who are already earning good money are using social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to investigate corporate culture and employee traits. This is the language they speak, and these are the platforms they engage with every single day. There is no excuse for a company in need of talent to avoid having an online presence. You can't market to an audience that can't see you.
Expand your horizons. There's also no excuse for getting too comfortable in a specific social realm. While it's true that Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the most popular platforms for today's job seekers--and many companies are making good efforts on these sites--that same Jobvite study shows that other channels are starting to grab hold, including Instagram, Pinterest, and even Snapchat. In fact, more and more people are starting to credit their use of social media with finding them employment--not just because they look at company profiles or career pages, but because they use all of these diverse networks to communicate with people who help sway their judgment about companies and their cultures. Bottom line: As these networks evolve and grow, you've got to move with them. That's what good marketers do.
Communicate the employment brand you want to have. If all this good talent is out there sending and digesting information, just being in front of them isn't enough. You've got to get in on that communication exchange proactively. But be smart about how you do it. Marketing experts use specialized applications and tools to post and monitor engagement on social media.
Recruiters should, too. Put forth the effort to understand how best to communicate your job opportunities and your employment brand on various social networks, so that the good experiences of working in your company are skillfully disseminated with the people you're trying to attract. As these networks change, adapt your messages accordingly. Use photos or videos or blog posts--whatever speaks to your audience on a given platform. And don't forget to provide them with an easy way to respond and connect back to your company, so you can keep the dialogue running.
If the growth of social media had fizzled out after LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, social recruiting might be that brief fad people would always remember about this decade. But that isn't the case. Social networking isn't slowing down. Its use by job seekers isn't slowing down. In fact, as mobile device usage continues to skyrocket, social media and its role in the job search has only become more ubiquitous. (For goodness' sake, people are using their phones in bed and on the train every day looking for jobs!) The numbers do not lie.
One thing is certain: If you avoid going to the talent, if you avoid becoming connected on these social platforms, you will inadvertently build the wrong employment brand. That's a real danger. The very people you're trying to attract could easily see you as a company with an outdated culture and antiquated business practices--not a place where they can integrate and build a career.
Do you want to take that risk?