Article: New game, new rules: Social hiring rises

Strategic HR

New game, new rules: Social hiring rises

As a larger percentage of the workforce flung into the social networking world, recruiters who tune themselves to the new rules of social hiring will stand to gain
New game, new rules: Social hiring rises

Social media platforms have provided a virtual networking space which allows you to have a ‘virtual handshake' without a need of direct meeting


Social media offers a unique opportunity for brands to built relationship with candidates


As a larger percentage of the workforce flung into the social networking world, recruiters who tune themselves to the new rules of social hiring will stand to gain.

Out-beating the most Googled word ‘leadership’, today Googling for ‘social hiring’ gives an instant result of ‘about 292,000,000 results in 0.32 seconds’ - a data point to reflect how fast social hiring is entering into mainstream hiring through new-age engagement, scouting and recruitment. Social media has redefined the way people live and that is rightly reflected in one’s behavior. But naturally, when I sprung upon the idea to put together this piece, email, Twitter, LinkedIn et al became my armor to crowd-source ideas in my attempt to make it a decent read. And the response was stupendous and must I say, swift – quite reflective of the new rule of engagement – instant and constant.

Recruitment is all about networking. Sarang Brahme, Social Recruiting Lead, Capgemini explains that classically, recruiters used to connect with new people through conferences, events, meetings, cold calling etc. and social media has truly changed this game. He adds, “The social media platforms have provided a virtual networking space which allows you to have a ‘virtual handshake’ without a need of direct meeting - globally.” Emails, Tweets, Facebook messages, Skype, Google+ and so on, allow people to control when and what they want to hear as well as offers an incredible opportunity to build relationships. Social media has changed the way people consume information and discover brands. And it is certainly changing the way candidates go about searching for a job and how businesses go about attracting and hiring talent.

According to a recent survey by Jobvite, nearly 73 percent of the companies have successfully hired a candidate through social networks, making social recruiting a highly effective source of quality new hires. Prafull Sharma, Co-founder, HireRabbit explains, “While traditional channels serve as a sourcing mechanism; with social media, companies can educate candidates, engage with potential hires and recruit talent at the same time. Social media offers a unique opportunity for brands to built relationship with candidates rather than one-time only contact during recruitment process.”
Technology & Gen Y changed the game

‘Recruiting’ was forced to think out-of-the-box in 2000 with the tech bust. Thus it was forced to find new ways to locate candidates and online portals like Monster and CareerBuilder made it easy to do so (especially because not everyone was tech savvy and hopping into user groups and forums.) From 2007 until present, with the economic decline and recession, HR and recruiting had to regroup and re-evaluate where to spend money. At about the same time an ever increasing backlash towards the continued high pricing of job boards developed, and many recruiting professionals knew there had to be a way to locate talent for free. LinkedIn started to gain more of a foothold, Facebook opened up who could join and Twitter launched. To add to this, around the world many very similar sites were born. And so many of them required profiles that it really gave a great opportunity to sourcers and recruiters to transition to using their Boolean knowledge to extract information from these sites.

Kelly Dingee, Strategic Recruiting Manager at Staffing Advisors and a Blogger at FistfulofTalent (#fot) shares that this overwhelming welcome to social recruiting is obviously because of the increased use of technology today. She explains, “The generations X and Y have embraced technology, even dragging Baby Boomers into it and creating a whole new way of life for our future generations. Think about it, the Sunday night phone call with Grandma is no longer with a rotary dial phone racking up insane charges, but now on Skype and in many cases free.” Explaining the role of social media in the lives of the present generation, Aadil Bandukwala, India - Talent Acquisition Advisor at Dell adds, “Gen Y has accepted social media as a means of day to day communication. And organizations and brands will want to be a part of this conversation measuring several touch points on different social channels. Social media can help organizations build, engage and foster communities that they can tap into for not just for employment branding but also for sourcing, engaging and social outreach.”

Social recruiting: What are the new rules?

Engaging with prospective candidates on the social media requires recruiters to learn the new rules to this game. Driven by technology, social networking works on certain communication expectations that players internalize and which is what makes it click. To use the social platform to one’s advantage, recruiters have to cater to these newfound rules:

Be courteous & personalize

When connecting with candidates, companies need to decide messaging and tone which ticks their targeted audience. Most of the time people are viewing words, whether in email, text, or tweet. So personalization is important. Explaining why you wanted to reach out to them based on the information you found regarding their professional background. Really connecting all the dots and making it sound like this is something you've invested time and research in.

Be honest

If the candidate asks how they were found, share it honestly. You do not need to do it in an exacting matter but even just saying "I use Google to search for candidates and when doing so for position XYZ located your profile on (,, etc.) popped up.”

Write back, always

It is incredibly important to write back to candidates. Even if it is to say thank you for them not being interested. And this is not overly time consuming. It is possible to craft messages that can easily be tweaked and personalized allowing speedy response. The key is to engage with the audience, be responsive and be human.

Use impressive, interactive, imitable campaigns

Ensure that the campaign contains content that is impressive, interactive and imitable. Nothing ‘on social’ works if it fails to connect. To create that required connect with the candidate, the campaign must engage through its interaction approach, and must be something that is easily imitable.
If the social media campaign is a gimmicky – instead of a well-thought out strategy that is grounded in research and audience analysis – the social recruitment success will be short-lived. Instead, focus on developing a communication campaign that connects with the audience.

Invest in training

Invest in training employees on different social media platforms so that they are empowered to take recruitment calls. Aadil shares, “Dell has a Social Media & Communities University (SMaCU) that provides certifications across different platforms to employees once they complete their training. This way, employees are confident of what and how they need to communicate across social media and tailor specific messages relevant to their target audiences.”

Finally, it’s wise to fish where the fish are

With more and more of the working population plunging into the social network, social recruitment is undoubtedly the most effective and efficient method to source and hire. The Jobvite's Social Recruiting Survey 2012 which polled more than 1,000 human resources and recruitment professionals on their social recruiting activities and intentions showed that social recruiting adoption has reached as all-time high. Social recruiting has moved from a trend, to a necessity with 92 percent of employers using or planning to use social recruiting in 2012, and this is no longer exclusive to LinkedIn, in fact all social networks are now fair recruiting games. Prafull of HireRabbit explains why this turn of events, “Candidates spend a lot of time on these social networks, and brands need to fish where the fish are. Apart from this, social networks also allow employers to tap into the candidates' networks which could not be found otherwise.”

And why not?! Today’s candidates are more active on these varied networks, making these the right place to fish for the right fit, as well as allow the opportunity to connect and engage with prospective candidates. This has seen a sprung of startup companies building applications using social-media tools to identify the right candidate for a job. And this is redefining the meaning of corporate hiring. They have gone even beyond traditional internet job portals as technology-enabled startups like Round One, MyParichay, Antezen and HireRabbit are able to reach out to people who are not even scouting for a job.

Though in recent years, social media has played a supporting role in increasing hiring effectiveness, the entry of these technology-enabled startups are taking this a step further and building their own referral networks using social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Sarang says, “Social media is not a choice, it is a necessity for recruitment.” Gamification and crowdsourcing are trends that organizations are tapping into to create targeted talent pools. This is game changing because it allows companies to build a social career page on a site like Facebook, automate job postings and receive applications through the network – making it more effective.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Diversity, Employee Engagement

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