How to Build a Social Media Recruiting Strategy

The recession has resulted in massive job cuts and reduction in recruitment budgets for many companies. Besides the fact that employers are hiring less, they have also cut back on their recruitment agencies fees and look for better ways to save costs.

In the midst of these all, sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are growing daily and attracting more users, who are socializing online and spending more time networking with friends, family and strangers.

For a company, this is a great time to develop a social media recruiting strategy, especially if your organization hasn’t implemented one yet .

Based on research, here are some basic tips for developing one for your firm:

Evaluate your Hiring Requirements. What kind of jobs have you struggled to fill? What kinds of jobs do you intend to fill nety year, and which of the social media sites will be most applicable to start attracting these candidates? If you own an Engineering firm or need a Sales Manager, your likely candidates are adding their profiles on LinkedIn. If you are looking for Graduate Recruiters or plan for your Graduate Recruitment strategy, its possible your future graduate intake are already on Facebook.

Don’t push it. You need to be happy with the site. While a lot of social media sites are becoming mainstream and many recruiters are advising you on why you must be on twitter or recruiting from LinkedIn, don’t push it. You need to be happy with the site you intend to use and understand so the inner person is comfortable with that particular social media site. It took me a while to start fully using LinkedIn, even if I had my profile there way back in 2006. The same goes for Twitter – my first tweet was in 2007, and after a 2 year hiatus am back tweeting again now and actually getting followers.

It is advisable to spend at least 1 hour per day, ideally spread across the day in blocks of 15 minutes to the social media site you feel at home with.  Do a lot of research; learn from others. Read about how recruiters are using social media for recruiting. LinkedIn has a fantastic Q&A section where you can post questions and the members are always happy to assist.

Be Polite and Respectful. Online conversations are there for the world to see. Just one search and any user can view all your comments or discussions with others. Carefully stringing these conversations together can give people a picture about your personality. Unlike spoken discussions, where you can easily correct yourself or apologise to others when you say the wrong thing, Internet postings or comments can easily aggravate readers and since people read things in different ways, this could not help your online reputation. That is not saying that you cannot have your own voice and opinions. However, it is always useful to be polite and not be rude when using social media for recruiting and other activities. Participate in groups respectively and regardless of which website or culture you find yourself, decent managers always helps to further promote you and the company you represent.

Be moderate in your approach. There is always the need to strike a balance in your online social media strategy to hiring. When candidates notice some companies in your sector actively using Facebook and LinkedIn, and you are not, it may come across as if your business is not forward thinking and so ’90s. Hello, this is 2009 and your social recruiting strategy should reflect this. However, you also stand the chance of being in people’s face too much if you have profiles everywhere and do too much in the social recruiting front. Best to be moderate in your approach and let the trends determine how prominent your social media strategy will be.

Be engaging and consistent. In the social recruiting age, companies will need to hire an onine ‘Social Recruiter‘ or Community Manager or Candidates Relations Officer to engage with the candidates and manage conversations on your social networks. This is especially important for large organisations that have a centralized recruitment structure. This internal employee will check the company’s social media pages daily.

If a candidate posts a message to your organizations’s Facebook page saying the company is unresponsive, this will be more obvious if no one responds to this complaint. Also, its best to send a consistent message about your recruitment culture across the social media sites. This should reflect your brand and the image should be the same on all sites, while adapting to the respective features therein.

Be committed on the long-haul. Job boards and other recruitment methods have been operating the last 15-20 years. From my experience, quite a few are begining to churn out poor candidates applying for jobs via the sites. It is quite easy to tract their ROI these days. However, Social Recruiting is very new, and it will be foolhardy to use the sites for 1-3 months and judge their effectiveness based on this time period. It will be difficult to expect a quick value to their usage, especially as it relates to your own recritment sector.

Researchers have identified that it may take a minimum of six months to build relationships with people on social media sites. But expect this to take better shape after 12 months of consistency and responsible engagements.  Patience is vital. Yes, you will make a few mistakes, but learn from them as you develop and implement your social recruiting strategy.

Hence, start now! Invest that time, energy and resources and get ahead of your competition in building a social media strategy to attract the right candidates, especially when the global economy starts smiling on the brighter side of life.