It seems as if every day brings another announcement regarding a new social media application or platform. Sites such as BranchOut, which claims it can help Facebook users leverage their profiles and friends to land their next job, and the Q&A-format site Quora are among those making recent headlines. And just staying on top of the ways in which Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter continually change could be a full-time job alone.
While the growing social media landscape may seem daunting to many employers, that’s no reason to shy away from developing a long-term social recruiting strategy. At CKR, we’ve helped a number of clients launch effective programs by following a step-by-step process that involves research, analysis, planning and evaluation — the same steps you would take to implement any other recruitment-related initiative. Here’s what we recommend:
#1. Get a sense of the landscape. Your first step should be to fully understand what’s being said about your employer brand — yes, you’re already being talked about even if you have never used social media as an organization — and how it compares with what’s being said about your competition.
#2. Define realistic goals for your program and determine how you will measure success. You need to establish clear expectations for your social recruiting program that are based on a range of factors such as available resources, current and projected openings and your particular target audiences. These factors will also likely shape how you want to measure success, which should be determined now rather than after you’ve launched a program. There are numerous metrics you can use to evaluate your success and you’ll want to get buy-in from all stakeholders prior to the launch of your program to avoid complications down the road.
#3. Create your action plan. Finally, you’re ready to outline the specifics of your program and determine which tactics you’ll be using for your efforts. Your plan should cover social recruiting policies, best practices and tips for your recruiters and an editorial calendar that can keep you on track and ensure that you are providing content of value to your target audiences.
Also, make sure that during the planning phase you consider all of the opportunities that exist for integrating social media and user-generated content into your entire recruitment marketing program. For example, think about how your corporate career site can be improved by adding social characteristics. A static career site will only bore today’s job seeker. Offer a blog, which will provide the ability for visitors to post comments, or create an interactive FAQs section. Make your site experience richer and bring your culture to life through video footage generated by current employees. Or, let users personalize their own content — you could implement functionality that helps job seekers visualize how their career path might evolve over time at your organization.
Basically, the opportunities for a social career site are endless and should be part of your social recruiting discussions.
#4. Monitor and measure your success. Once you’ve launched your program, start measuring your success by monitoring results and reviewing them against the goals and metrics you defined early on as being critical to your efforts. Your analysis should help you both demonstrate the areas in which you excel and those that could use improvement. Remember, this is an ongoing communications effort so you’ll find that you are continually tweaking your tactics and reshaping your program to reflect what you learn through your evaluation.
About the Author
With nearly 15 years of experience, Kendra Van Nostran oversees account planning and research for CKR Interactive (http://www.ckrinteractive.com) clients. She conducts secondary market research and audience analyses to arrive at strategic solutions for employers in response to a range of recruiting challenges. Today, her work encompasses employee engagement and retention, and she counsels clients on novel approaches to reducing turnover and fostering engagement through customized and innovative programs, such as applying web 2.0 features and functionality to corporate intranets. Prior to joining the agency in 2007, Kendra held a number of marketing and communication roles in agency, nonprofit and university settings. A published author, her work has appeared in Communication World and ERE.net. She holds a M.A. in Culture and Communication from New York University and is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).