Now this might seem a bit controversial, it’s not intended to be. I'm a big advocate for using social in the recruitment process, I'm just not convinced recruiters are best placed to be doing it. I came to this conclusion while working with Oracle. They are very open to being social and see the potential that building communities around fan pages will bring.As a part of this project, I spent a lot of time talking to other corporate recruiters about how (or not), they do social, and I saw a few recurring themes. The most common barrier being available time and targets to hire now!
The complication for all recruiters (and this is not dissimilar to any corporate and most agency recruiters that I have talked to), is time to work outside of anything other than the just-in-time recruiting model. Time pressures mean that recruiting activity is transactional. It’s get a job, find the candidates, fill the job and move on to the next job. Line managers demand hires yesterday, and the relationship needs to be hirer/potential recruit now, rather than potential recruit future. Time and business pressure dictates that it is this way.
Social activity is more about sourcing and broadcasting opportunities in the here and now than in the future. The recruiters job is to get people hired as quickly and effectively as possible, finding potential employees based on skills and experience and converting them in to employees. The job of the recruiter is the locator and the closer. More of a completer finisher than a relationship builder.
Does this mean then that I see social recruiting as wholly transactional?
Far from it. Social plays a massive part in building employer brand, pipelining the talent community and communicating with the world at large about what the company is really like to work for. Employees who develop social networks can provide access to potential employees with any opportunities that come up, acting as the introducer to the recruiter via referral. Employees take and tag pictures and video that says everything about the employer in a credible way, without needing any words or marketing spin. Employee content carries far more credibility than recruiter credibility. After all, a recruiter will always update that this is a great place to work, an employee will only share that if they really believe it.
There in lies the next challenge for corporate, getting people to post and comment freely. It’s not that they don’t want to, but it’s often a case from day one of employment that they have to follow strict rules contained in a brand manual, and get 3 different levels of permission, authority and approval before they can comment about the company or it’s products. Jump forward to this new age of social. Employees are asked to act responsibly towards confidentiality of business and people, courteous and respectful. The basic guidelines are to “Be a grown up.” And then it is up to them to post what and when they like. Any content (blog posts excepted) that take more than 10 minutes to create and tag is considered too manufactured. Content needs to be instant, real and ideally involving people. Once you open this up, and get over the early resistance then you are away.
Once the communities are building with plenty of connections building, people commenting and asking questions, then it’s time for the recruiters to get involved. the role of the recruiter at this point is to identify who could be looking for a job from their on-line behaviour and questions. Recruiters need to get applications and enquiries directly from the Facebook fan page and other social places. This is where the engagement becomes critical and the recruiters can use their skills to match the potential candidates. This might be come in for this job, or it might be stick around and stay in touch, there’s nothing now but I like the look of you. Alternatively it might be talk to this recruiter, they may be the right person for you to talk to. All of this kind of interaction is lost once a C.V. hits an A.T.S. in the traditional way.
All employees should be involved in the social part of recruiting, with the recruiters taking care of the transaction, in the most timely and efficient way.
This process in Oracle is responsible for nearly half the monthly applications, and the numbers are growing. The recruiters build relationships with the best of the applicants, and the business provides the content and engagement. There is another team of resourcers who deal with and direct applications to the right place. Now this is a big budget company, but the same principles will work on a smaller scale.
What part do you think recruiters should play in social recruiting? Where do you think my thinking falls down?