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Candidates Use 5+ Social Networks, Why Don’t Recruiters?

One great surprise for me is the number of companies who still are not yet fully using social media within their recruiting activities. It is such a powerful addition to different aspects of recruiting and yet it is so under-used. How you choose to use it for your specific need is a bigger conversation, but surely it has become a no-brainer to be using it for recruiting purposes, hasn’t it?

Social Talent recently carried out research amongst recruiters and they found social media to be very effective to good recruiters:

As a consultant, I talk to many companies - both recruitment agencies and corporates, large and small, and STILL there is a misconception of using social media in recruitment. It IS NOT just for sourcing talent (although it is superb for that) and IT IS NOT for just posting jobs on (can someone please tell many of the HR/Recruitment software vendors that please). IT IS so much more than that and should be woven into the fabric of organisations - everything from sales, marketing, employer branding, customer services, communication, on-boarding and engagement.

Over that last year, the talent challenges every company is experiencing has heightened the need to be better and more efficient at recruitment - in every area. It is therefore no coincidence that we are now seeing companies release budget for new or improved applicant tracking systems (ATS’s), new mobile responsive career sites, moving from ATS to candidate relationship management systems (CRM’s) and increasing their recruitment training in social sourcing etc. But for me there is still a huge blind spot for companies in the one area they need to focus on the most - their target candidate audiences. One huge blind spot is their own data (ATS/CRM candidate databases that conveniently get ignored by many recruiters), the other blind spot is social media (away from LinkedIn), and how more effectively it could be used in the recruitment process.

Let me explain what I mean.

To start with, too many recruiters don’t take the time to really understand the talent they are trying to recruit for their roles. They are not trying to build candidate personas, or understand where their target candidate audience could actually be present - and that means looking past LinkedIn and the job boards. There are now 100’s of places that industry people go to chat and engage with their peers - both online and offline, but how many times have your recruiters gone into that teams in your company and actually asked them where they go to network with similar minded people? I know the answer to that, and it is very few! But surely that is the most logical thing to do isn’t it?

Did you know that the average person is on 5.5 social networks?


We all have to focus on making a more personal approach to candidates - blasting them with endless generic messaging just doesn’t work - especially when reaching out to the so-called passive candidates or the ones with really sought after skills. One of my mantra’s is to take the time to find out where your target audience is online and go to them there, taking the time to build a profile and reputation in those communities/networks. We know (graph above) that people are on multiple social networks, so it is just a question of finding which ones. They will likely be active of two or three, and judging by the fact that 1 billion people now us Facebook daily (3/4 times that of LinkedIn), that is a great place to start. So if you are one of the recruiters that still thinks Facebook is just for your friends and family, think again!
Facebook Graph Search is a brilliant tool for recruiters and should be part of your social media recruiting toolbox. Fortunately Balazs Paroczay and Shane McCusker have worked their magic and created an awesome new tool (and there is now a Chrome browser extension as well )to make it really easy to use the ‘revised’ graph search on Facebook. It makes it really easy to now use Facebook to find people. The tool is so easy to use selecting the fields shown here:

Facebook graph search tool

Facebook is just one social network, there are loads more that you should be looking at including:

Each have their own audience and each have different ways of being used for recruiting - sourcing, employer brand building, community building etc

It is all well and good to be on the social networks, but communicating with people you want to engage with can be a challenge sometimes. Therefore an important skill is the art of reaching out and communicating with people. While this can be done via the specific networks, but sometimes they can just be a stepping stone, and you need to message them via some of the specific messaging apps we all have on our smartphones. We all know InMail open rates are low and emails can be a challenge to get read sometimes, so try different candidate communication methods. These messaging apps on out phones - whether it be WhatsApp, Messenger, iMessage etc are used every day by all of us. But how many of you are using the messaging platforms (such as the ones below) that your candidates are using every day with their friends?  Did you know the average WhatsApp user send 1200 messages a month and receives 1400?

Remember many of these apps produce push notifications on smartphones making the messages more likely to be read by the receiver. Have you got any of this integrated into your ATS/CRM to make it easy to connect with them?

Social media is a wide area within recruitment, and to demonstrate this I shared a fantastic social recruiting case study recently, where a company empowered their staff to become real social media recruitment advocates for their business by sharing content across all the social networks their target audiences are on. They used social media as an employer branding tool to help them with their recruiting.

Social media is not new, but it is for many in HR and recruiting. Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Lack of understanding will kill your social recruiting from the start. >> Just doing social recruiting for doing it’s sake, or because you are told to (by a senior manager and above) is a car crash waiting to happen. Take the time to understand the social networks and how they could benefit your company.
  2. Go where your audience is. >> Take the time to figure out what your target audience looks like and where it is. That surely makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
  3. Being generic is boring. >> Social media is all about interactions, engagement and communication. If you don’t personalise your content, you will fail to differentiate yourself from all the others doing the same (and there are plenty!).
  4. You get what you post. >> If you post crap, all you are only going to get in return is crap. You have to make sure the content you share appealing and above all relevant to the audience you want to reach. If it isn’t no-one will even bother reading it, and they certainly won’t then share it with their networks.
  5. Do something different and try it. >> You can waste more money and time on underperforming job boards, career events etc or you can adopt a different approach to finding and engaging talent.
  6. Give people a reason to respond. >> Why should someone respond to your Inmail, Tweet, or Message? What is their motivation to do it? Do you even think about that? It certainly isn’t just because you are a recruiter and you assume they will want to talk to you!
  7. Treating social media like a job board is doomed to failure from the start. >> There is a reason why social networks are called social networks and not job boards because that is what they are! There are many good job boards out there - you know, you use them! Don’t then confuse the two. Sharing jobs on social networks is good, but not every one - just be a little selective!
  8. Don’t wait, do it now. >> There is no logic in waiting for your technology vendor to add social media to it’s roadmap. Get started today - the quicker you start the better it will be. And don’t forget to put a strategy framework in place to get you started.
  9. If in doubt buy the book. >> I can honestly say I have written the book on this subject, so if you need a good ‘how to’ guide then buy a copy of this excellent book. 🙂

Social recruiting is no longer the new kid on the block, it isn’t a fad and it certainly isn’t going away. If used well social media can help transform your recruitment processes (please note I didn’t say ‘replace’ - I said ‘help transform’!)

If your company are in need of advice and want to discuss / need help for any of the above further, just let me know. And remember if you like this post, don’t forget to subscribe to Sirona Says blog to ensure you don’t miss  the weekly posts.

  • Adrian Tan

    Great post Andy.

    I shared with my reader the same thing about treating social media as a job board (https://bit.ly/1P0xA38) - it just doesn’t work that way anymore.

    Keep the great posts coming.

    • NIce post there Adrian, with some good stats. Just subscribed to your feed, so keep them coming 😉

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