7 Habits of the Highly Effective Social Recruiter

As more and more companies begin to utilize Social Recruiting to achieve their broader strategic recruiting objectives. An important consideration is, what makes an effective social recruiter?

1. Be Present–This means establishing a presence on sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & niche) that are important to your target audience. The key is to strike the right balance between heavily trafficked and niche sites. For each site that you join, you are going to have to spend lots of time establishing your presence. If you do your homework, you should be able to identify 3-5 sites that are most relevant to your target audience. Once your target audience begins to recognize who you are and what you are about, this makes it easier to connect with prospective candidates for opportunities of interest.

2. Be Knowledgeable–Recruiting is largely driven by the exchange of relevant information. Both employers and candidates are looking to learn more information about each other to establish fit. Based on your target audience, you should be prepared to highlight the major benefits of your industry, organization, and specific openings as well as respond to likely areas of candidate concern. If you don’t have the answer, you should be able to direct candidates to another source (company website or independent) or connect them with someone within your organization that can answer their question. The better you are able to connect candidates to the information they need, the more successful you will be in Social Recruiting.

3. Be Helpful–As more and more people are connecting with each other on the social web, it is important to establish yourself as someone who can be helpful. If candidates have a question, do you quickly respond to it or do you ignore it? If a colleague is struggling with the implementation of new technology that you have mastered, do you reach out and offer assistance or do you let them struggle for the solution on their own? With all the talk around interaction and engagement, one of the major ways to establish a great reputation is to help others without expectation of reciprocity. This creates a magnet effect wherein not only will candidates be drawn to you but colleagues (internal & external) will find ways to help you achieve your specific goals.

4. Be Social–When you see an interesting blog post, tweet, or status update; dive in. Don’t let fear of what others might think about your thoughts inhibit you from socially engaging with others. And don’t limit your social interactions to just those within your core group (Human Resources or Recruiting). Expand your social network, reach out to people with peripheral but related interests. In no time, you will start to see just how interconnected different ideas and concepts are. And, you will find that you are able to implement these new ideas far more effectively because you can begin to include best practices from a wide variety of industries.

5. Be Aware–There are a variety of written and unwritten rules to social engagement. WRITING IN ALL CAPS, only tweeting about job openings, or discussing your personal relationships status on Facebook are typically frowned upon. However, there are also things that are not yet well-established that may be detrimental to your social recruiting efforts. Are you always negative? Do you only discuss or share content consistent with your point of view on a subject? Before you engage with others using social media or social networks, take a moment to think about how your target audience will receive it. If you have any doubts, its best to err on the side of caution. Digital permanence is real and even when content is taken down, there are typically enough people who have seen it that the misguided decisions will not soon be forgotten. This is definitely not how you want you or your employer represented.

6. Be Yourself–Even though, there might be a temptation to create an idealized image of yourself on the web (complete with amazing profile picture and embellished accomplishments), it isn’t going to work. In fact, the more you try to become someone you aren’t, the more people you are looking to build relationships with will shy away. Despite being hidden behind our computer screens, it is incredibly difficult to keep up consistent appearances. In fact, many times the underlying facts about a topic of interest are pretty similar. However, what others are interested in is your interpretation of these facts. By letting people know who you really are, you can start to truly build some real relationships.

7. Be Authentic–No one wants to engage with someone that constantly argues point of views that they don’t agree with. If you truly don’t agree with something, then by all means jump into the conversation and express your disagreement. But, don’t pretend to be against technology based recruiting while constantly tweeting job openings at your company. If you do, you will quickly lose all credibility. The main reason is that lots of users have a variety of interests, and they will begin to track people of interest to see what they have to say on a variety of forums. If you become known as the person who argues for the sake of argument, then that is your authentic brand. If this is inconsistent with how you would like you or your company to be perceived, then stop.

The list above is just a starting point for discussion on the different habits that I think highly effective Social Recruiters should practice in order to be successful. What do you think about the list? Are there some that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

–Omowale Casselle (@mysensay)

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About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community focused on connecting talented college students with amazing entry-level employment opportunities. Our solution integrates social media, real-time web-based communication, and intelligent analytics to enable employers and students to discover, interact, and connect with each other.

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Tags: 7, Facebook, Tips, best, effective, habits, highly, linkedin, niche, practices, More…recruiting, social, twitter

Comment by Saum Sharifi on May 13, 2010 at 2:35pm
Omowale, This is an excellent article about creating an online presence -- Many can use these tips when trying to expand their social presence. How does this directly relate to recruiting though? Recruiting is recruiting, doesn't matter if you have 1 follower on twitter/facebook or you have 1,000. An organization needs a web presence like you mention (let marketing do that), however if each recruiter spent their time doing so, it could be a waste of time - They could be blogging (like I'm doing right now) when I should be picking up the phone and CALLING. With that being said, I gotta go recruit! ;)

PS- None of the above applies to LinkedIn. I'm talking about facebook, twitter, etc.
Comment by Omowale Casselle on May 13, 2010 at 7:16pm
Saum,

Glad you enjoyed the article. This article is more geared towards those who are seeking to leverage online tools to recruit. If you find that you have more success connecting with your target audience via phone, then I think that it makes no sense to blog, tweet, or use Facebook. Because as you said, that would be wasting time.

However, I would disagree with the sentiment that building an online presence is strictly the responsibility of marketing. All functional groups that can benefit from using online tools to achieve their strategic objectives should take part in the development, implementation and ongoing execution of an online presence.

Cheers,

Omowale
Comment by Ken Forrester on May 20, 2010 at 9:08am
This is a great post; it gave us a glance into the future of how recruiting needs to function to be effective. And it also pointed out some of the areas that recruiters today need to improve to be relevant tomorrow.
The only troubling part, as Shaun point out is that it appears to be a lot of unproductive work today. Unproductive means not getting immediate results (placements) for your time and effort. As you know, fundamental recruiting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world and employers are always seeking more innovative and cost effective methods to deliver talent. With that said Omowale, will this method in the long run make recruiting easier and cost effective?
Comment by Omowale Casselle on May 20, 2010 at 10:25am
Ken,

Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed the post. I would agree that, at times, the work can appear to be unproductive. However, I think much of that has to do with pursuing these new tools because they are shiny and there are lots of news stories & articles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Intead, the focus should have been on how can one utilize these tools to have a direct impact on helping me achieve my goals. Without this strategic analysis and insight, the complexity of these new tools will inevitably lead to time wasting.

I do believe that these tools will make recruiting more cost-effective and efficient over the long run. From the amount of information that you can learn about prospective candidates to developing relationships with customers, those who are in businesses that are driven by information have the greatest opportunity to extract the most value from these tools. And, the shift won't just occur on the side of the employers. Candidates are becoming smarter and smarter in their use of these tools to gather insights about companies, interviewers, and potential colleagues. As these information barriers are reduced, the opportunity for an efficient recruiting marketplace to develop is enormous. However, instead of leading to commodization; those who really learn how to leverage the increasing multitude of available tools will become very desirable because of the results they achieve that impact the bottom line of their organization.

Omowale
Comment by Jerry Albright on May 20, 2010 at 11:14am
Hi Omowale. Interesting topic. I reply from the only perspective I have - an agency recruiter who must place someone today, next week, next month - forever.

Present? Check. That's pretty easy.

Knowledgeable? In what? Programming if you're an IT recruiter? Supply chain management if that's your niche? Just what "knowledge" am I to impart upon the masses?

Helpful? How? Job interviewing tips? Retweeting any of the millions of links to useless Social Media hype and trivia?

Social? I'm not sure how much of this is more anti-social (hide behind your computer all day - don't call anyone - just send an email, FB update or Tweet....

Be aware? Of what?

Be authentic? Frankly - there's a bit more authenticity out there than I can handle at the moment....

Aware? Of what? Justin Bieber? The Lost TV Show finale? The latest unemployment stats?

You see - as I read your post I found myself wondering "When is he going to get to "make presentations" or "take these virtual relationships to the next step" because without that - there is NO success. Or at least - very little.

Success MUST be defined as SOMEONE in a new job because of you. Not in some ill-defined "brand building" vaguery, not by the number of times one is retweeted or how many "top 25 most influential" lists.

All this other warm/fuzzy/feel-good about yourself and your brand stuff doesn't pay the bills.

Sorry to rant Omowale. I can see you put alot of time into this post. Just goes to show you - you never know who might read something and decide to get on their soap box!

Enjoy the day.
Comment by Omowale Casselle on May 20, 2010 at 11:54am
Hi Jerry,

I'm a firm believer that without discussion, there is no opportunity for growth. Despite all the attention, I'm sure there are more social recruiting doubters than believers. That's healthy.

I agree with your definition of success. However, I would extend that definition to not only placing someone one but also having the organization and new employee being satsified with the opportunity for a sufficient period of time for both to achieve a return on investment.

The 7 Habits that I have outlined above are a starting point for those seeking to use these emerging social media tools to achieve their goals. Until a recruiter is at least doing these things no customer is going to be interested in building a business relationship with him/her and no candidate is going to be interested in utilizing his/her services. In fact, those that engage in "anti" social behavior online can easily be discovered by prospective candidate and customers. Given a choice, who do you think someone would rather work with?

The impression of a brand is a definite driver of purchase behavior. Think about the things that you have purchased. Are you really telling me that brand had nothing to do with your purchase? You can disagree on whether this channel is most effective for your specific purpose since you most certainly know your business better than I do. But, I can think of several ways that I would utilize these new tools to grow my business if I were a recruiter.

Cheers,

Omowale
Comment by Julian on May 20, 2010 at 12:15pm
Omowale,

This is my first blog post - ever. Im waiting on a software download and opened up this site I joined last year. I am currently serving my third year as Chairman, American Staffing Association Professional Section Council. I have started 4 staffing operations from the ground up, 3 expansion offices for my previous partnership, and now my own. I have hired and trained professionals from entry-level recruiters, to Division President's. Now that I have stated my background, I would like to respond to your post.

There are habits that make a recruiter successful however, spending valuable time on the internet (like I am doing now) instead of investing in meaningful relationships with people (either in-person, or on the phone) will lesson the rate of success a recruiter has.

The way I teach our industry, there are only two categories of tasks one can do as a recruitment professional: A. Those that make you money B. Those that cost you money

As far as successful habits go, I would say - Be planned everyday before 8:00am (Target Accounts, Target Recruits, Client Visits, and Interviews), Cold Call everyday, Actively market your available candidates everyday, Recruit & Interview everyday, Build your bench of "A"-Candidates and stay in contact with them.

If you do this without fail, you can hire someone to manage your online presence - if that is of great enough interest to you.

Technology has changed, but by-in-large, the human condition has not.

Also - I just noticed above that you are not a recruiter. What is it that you do?

Most likely, this will be my only blog post I ever write. Take care.
Comment by Jerry Albright on May 20, 2010 at 12:29pm
Sorry Omowale. I've now got to go a bit deeper here.

In your reply to me you say "Until a recruiter is at least doing these things no customer is going to be interested in building a business relationship with him/her and no candidate is going to be interested in utilizing his/her services"

Respectfully, this is so far off-base I can't even find a starting point for my response. What is a client (hiring company) interested in? Whether you can produce results or not. What is the candidate interested in? Whether you can find them their next position or not.

They do not care about your social media credentials in the least. They don't care if you only check email once a day from the library as long as you are providing the service they need. That service is not brand awareness or any other form of SM buzz.

In wrapping up your reply you indicate you are not a recruiter. You seem to be a nice guy and I appreciate your spirit of engagement. Offer advice on how to be a "highly successful recruiter" when you haven't been might be a stretch. All in the spirit of conversation!

Cheers!
Comment by Omowale Casselle on May 20, 2010 at 12:46pm
Julian,

Thanks for the comment and thanks for sharing your impressive background.

On the internet, you are building relationships as well. Why is there an assumption that you can't build relationships using the internet? You can choose to build relationships in-person and using the phone as well. The channels are complementary.

Although, I'm not currently a recruiter. I do have experience leading the campus recruiting team for one of the top 10 target schools at a Fortune 10 company. While I can't disclose our actual budget, I can tell you that it was quite substantial. If you want to see my background, you are more than welcome to view my profile on LinkedIn. However, I'm not sure that having recruiting experience makes someone more or less qualified to discuss these topics as I believe that was your implication. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Cheers.

Omowale
Comment by Omowale Casselle on May 20, 2010 at 1:02pm
Jerry,

If you are going to quote me, you have to use the whole quote. I said "If you are seeking to use these emerging social media tools to achieve your goals". Please don't take me out of context.

Absolutely results matter. But, if you are using this channel to build your business; people have a choice. Do I work with the person who I'm going to enjoy working with while getting results? Or, do I work with the person who is going to be a pain while still delivering? Unless, you are certain that you can absolutely deliver what no one else can then you can afford to treat people however you like.

Just because I'm not currently a recruiter, doesn't mean that I've never recruited. I've never been a 3rd party recruiter. This is why I said that you know your business better than I do. I'm simply offering advice based on what I see as the exciting intersection of technology and recruiting. Since it is free, take it for its worth.

Omowale

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