Social Recruiting Case Study: Cisco Graduates

One of my favourite presentations at our very first #SRCONF (Nov. 2010) is that by Cisco Europe. Sedef Buyukataman, (previous University Relations Manager, Cisco Europe and Emerging Markets) shared some key points on how she and Cisco Europe where actively engaging with potential candidates via Facebook. I think this may well be one of the earliest case studies of a global brand that started graduate conversations on Facebook.

The title of the presentation was: Facebook and Cisco – harnessing social networking as a tool in graduate recruitment. The actual slides are embedded below.

During the presentation back then, Sedef acknowledged that Cisco uses traditional Graduate Recruitment channels (Job fairs, giveaways, career services, job boards, mailers, emails etc). But she also pointed out a shift in the way Generation Y are communicating and connecting.

As Eric Chester writes in ‘Employing Generation Y’, ‘although they are better educated, more technosavvy, and quicker to adapt … they refuse to blindly conform to traditional standards. Instead, they boldly ask, ‘Why?’

According to her, Generation Y rarely uses email; instead the preferred media are social networking sites. Studies also show that Gen Y doesn’t respond to formality – particularly office hierarchies and traditions. Hence, Cisco had to modify their approach:

  • Provide access to their employees, at all levels, in an informal and open forum
  • Open the lines of communication – make it transparent and easy to access
  • Develop a brand that accurately represented their corporate culture
  • Target the individual not the opportunity on hand – be proactive, not reactive
  • Create a sense of community

As part of this approach they found Facebook to be an excellent channel. In her words, Facebook is the platform for global viral marketing and personal referrals at all levels – by penetrating these social networks they can capitalize on the Human Network Effect.

They started small with the UK&I Facebook page, and then went global with their Cisco Graduate Recruitment page.  They supplemented the growths with targeted campaigns and also partnered with other Cisco pages on Facebook for cross marketing, hence not working in complete isolation.

But they made sure to keep it about communication

  • The highest media consumption comes from our videos and pictures
  • They let us know what they’re interested in by their likes and comments
  • They can ask us question in the open forum about their individual recruitment process or overall programs
  • Responsiveness is key
  • Content must be consistent and timely

As part of their strategy, they created unique pages for specific countries back then (can’t quite find the links now, though can see country-specific groups), and they also targeted their audience and tailored information to them. They relied on Facebook’s analytics to track their successes, with statistics showing number of fans (eh likes), page engagements, gender metrics, clicks etc.

From what I can see now, the CiscoUniversityJobs page is mostly used to share content about Cisco and engage with potential graduates, with a tab where people can apply for jobs if you like the page. The slides for the presentation are shown below, and this could be useful for companies looking at implementing a Social Recruiting presence on Facebook.

1 thought on “Social Recruiting Case Study: Cisco Graduates

  1. Jen at Identified

    Great point: “Generation Y rarely uses email; instead the preferred media are social networking sites.”. I think Cisco is spot on in identifying Facebook as the social media network of choice. So many employers are still going to LinkedIn to hire people, yet more Americans cited FACEBOOK as the network that helped them get their current job (Source: http://mashable.com/2011/12/11/can-facebook-get-you-a-job/). Kudos to Cisco for their success!

    Jen Picard
    Product Marketing Director, Identified
    http://employers.identified.com
    Facebook Recruiting Solutions for the Social Employer

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