Tweeting for Talent

Social media metrics are about to become coin of the realm. Start collecting.
 
 
By Madeline Laurano
 
 
Social media sets the pace in talent acquisition. At one time considered a technology enabler, social media has quickly become the backbone of any successful talent acquisition strategy.
 
 
According to Aberdeen’s Talent Acquisition Lifecycle report published in September 2011, 67 percent of organizations using social media tools in recruiting are training recruiters in their use. Organizations are leveraging the power of social media throughout every component of talent acquisition (employer branding, sourcing, screening, assessment, hiring, and onboarding). It’s clearly a game changer.
 
 
Despite the obvious benefits of social talent acquisition (engagement, connectivity, and interactivity), organizations still struggle when asked to show the value. According to the same Aberdeen talent acquisition study, only 22 percent of organizations have defined success metrics for the use of social media tools. As this area matures, recruiters will be held more accountable for social media initiatives.
 
 
In order to stay prepared, recruiters need to shift their perception. They need to view social media as a way to drive change throughout the entire organization, rather than as a tool to simply source top talent or strengthen branding. This is only possible through a more innovative and comprehensive approach to talent acquisition analytics. What exactly does this mean? What role will social media play in analytics?
 
 
Similar to social media, analytics has evolved dramatically in the talent acquisition space. Organizations are no longer concerned with filling positions as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. Instead, they are using data to make more informed decisions around their talent in order to predict long-term success. Next generation analytics can prepare and position organizations to identify, attract and retain top talent. Engagement, communication, and a positive candidate experience all help organizations achieve this goal. As a result, social media needs to be a part of that equation.
 
 
What do organizations need to consider?
• Think Beyond Influencers: With sites like Klout, PeerIndex, and Twitalyzer gaining momentum, measuring “influence” is a popular trend in social talent acquisition. Although staying relevant, connected, and transparent has its value, measuring “influence” is no replacement for true data—especially when looking to gain credibility with the business. Organizations need to be able to measure the effectiveness of these efforts in ways that resonate with the overall corporation, including being able to respond quickly to business change and increasing visibility for accessing talent. Dell is an example of an organization that credits social media with helping to align talent acquisition with the overall business.
 
• Understand the Human Side: Social media breaks down communication barriers and challenges and redefines traditional models. One of these models is analytics. Organizations can no longer rely solely on tools and technology to measure the effectiveness of talent acquisition. Individuals need to be able to interpret the data, translate the data for the business, and include the necessary context behind this data. Social media is about relationships. Relationships are human, so the data needs a human element.
 
• Leverage the Right Technology: Although technology is not the only “solution” for measuring social media, it cannot be ignored. Without technology to track the social media efforts, recruiters are left with no history of communications or candidates or a way to manage talent pools. Organizations need to consider the role of their existing technology providers as well as communication tools such as Google alerts, Radian 6, and PR Newswire’s Social Media Metrics.
 
 
The benefits of social media in the world of talent acquisition are hard to deny. Organizations are achieving greater engagement, strengthening their brands, and opening a more effective channel to reach passive candidates. Yet, in order to gain support for these initiatives, organizations need to show the value of social media by rethinking traditional analytics and identifying ways to impact the business.
 
 
Madeline Laurano is the Aberdeen Group’s research director for talent acquisition solutions. She can be reached at madeline.laurano@aberdeen.com.