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)
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.