BenefitsEngaged Workforce

The New Recruitment Tool:Social Networking Web Sites

In your search for talent, consider supplementing your tools with sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. But be careful, these are hardly a panacea for recruitment woes.

by Anne Nimke

Reflecting on the initial thoughts of McKinsey’s war for talent, current demographics suggest talent shortages exceeding 10 million by 2010, and from the regional and skill gaps already observed, we can easily see that the war for talent is raging—and the candidates are winning!

As companies look to build talent as their competitive advantage, there will be winners and losers for the recruiting and retention battles. The winners will be companies committed to a clear employer brand and candidate- and employee-centric strategies.

The use of social networking sites is one of those strategies. In the past few years, an explosion of social networking sites has made the tried-and-true methods of word-of-mouth referrals even more rewarding for sales, recruiting, and personal job search initiatives.

These sites work by giving recruiters access to potential candidates and their connections, which can exponentially multiply the potential pool of candidates for talent acquisition. With four generations in the workplace (Veterans, Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y), these sites help companies reach 20- and 30-somethings who don’t typically respond to traditional methods.

While social networking is new and can be a very effective tool, it is not a silver bullet. Social networking will not replace the broad variety of recruitment marketing and sourcing activities needed to build your talent pool and fill your open requisitions. At Pinstripe, we have a saying that continues to hold true every year: “There is no No. 1 recruiting tool, but there are 10,000 No. 2 recruiting solutions.”

The benefits of social networking sites as a talent acquisition tool are numerous. Utilizing social networking sites allows recruiters to:

  • Expand contacts;
  • Search to find candidates that are not accessible elsewhere;
  • Find passive job-seekers in a targeted manner;
  • Get much more insight into a person than a just a resume;
  • Build a new economic recruitment source (most sites are free);
  • Interact with the candidates informally and easily; and
  • Reach individuals 24/7.

Social networking site LinkedIn allows users to create connections by inviting others to join their networks. It focuses on the professional user, and members now exceed 16 million. Our metrics show that when outreach is strong, results can be consistent. A thousand first-degree connections lead to millions of third-degree connections, ultimately resulting in potentially dozens of hires per month.

Facebook, a social networking site originally targeting college students, has been effective in attracting Generation Y. Users include the CIA and Ernst & Young for a range of positions including interns and entry-level hires.

Second Life is an online virtual society in a 3D world offering recruiters and potential candidates the ability to interact with each other through avatars, or digital animated characters. While virtual, this site conducts real commerce and is growing in popularity. Professional services firm KPMG has used Second Life to host job fairs.

Measurements Needed
While these sites have proven effective, the time spent and the interactions with individuals need to be measured like any other recruitment source or sourcing activity. The challenge with all of these sites is: How do you transform names into candidates and then into new employees?

Individuals sourced from social networking sites or any other sourcing techniques such as AIRS, web searching, or resume database mining are passive candidates. Recruiters must be more candidate-centric and more sales focused in their approaches.

Passive candidate sourcing is both a science and an art. Utilization of these sites and tools will be enhanced by automation, including e-mail marketing campaigns, minimum qualification questions, flash automation, and fun, work-readiness questionnaires. Technology enablement is your key to success.

Dressing up for guests
You must also pay ttention to your career sites and internal systems. They must be attractive, informative, and easy to navigate. Recruiting departments must have the right people on the phone, too (let’s not forget that this is a people activity) and have appropriately staffed their inbound and outbound response mechanisms. You don’t want to generate interest and lose that “prospect” because no one was available to close the interview or your career site is flat, confusing, or says “under construction.”

The best recruiting departments and organizations take these new communication tools very seriously and work diligently to continue to build their proactive recruitment strategies. Consider creating a center of excellence, assign someone in your recruiting organization the responsibility of keeping up to date on the latest sourcing technologies, and explore and monitor the success of your sourcing efforts. Web resources and new technology allow for better efficiency and effectiveness on all fronts. Social networking is the latest technological tool to help you achieve those goals.

Tags: Benefits, Engaged Workforce

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