I spend a lot of my time working with corporate clients helping to integrate social recruiting. This is really a combination of methodology, technology, psychology and tactics, topped up with training.  One of the most common questions I get asked is “Which is the best channel for us to recruit in,and what tech to use?” It’s a difficult one to answer because it is really dependent on what you are trying to hire, and more importantly, where your audience is. Your audience being the type of people you are trying to hire. The easiest way to find this out is to start any social recruiting initiative is to talk to your existing staff or candidate base. The people who do the job now.
It’s logical that if you are looking to hire programmers,your programmers will be connected with other programmers. They will belong to forums and groups for programmers, and share and like content amongst their peers. Your best focus group to identify the channels to use, and how to use them, is right under your nose. A questionnaire to the target group of employees, in your target candidate category will tell you what you need to know. It will also help you to enlist brand advocates, to generate and share the relevant employer brand and content.

These are example questions I include in the questionnaire:

  • What groups and on-line places they currently belong to. The most popular will be reflective of target audience.
  • What channels they use and how often
  • What blogs they read and who blogs now
  • Twitter names and accounts (Run all twitter accounts through www.klout.com to identify “influencer” score. This gives an indication of who has the most impact in social places.)
  • What users are using the social channels for now
  • Types of content they share and like
  •  What meet up or similar network groups they attend
  • Willingness to join the referral network and share jobs and content with social media contacts
  • Who is willing to contribute to the a work community 
  • Any other thoughts

This is the first thing you should do before you start on your planning for social recruiting. Each of the channels have different benefits, and ways that you can maximise your efforts. Let your existing team guide you in the decisions you make. Channel choice should never be an either or, or a versus. More of a combined effort to get the best result.

Choosing  Technology:

When you are considering what tech works best to achieve your hiring objectives, you need to be thinking about now and in the future.Social recruiting tech will probably involve using a combination of applications and plug-ins, some of which will be channel specific.You also need to consider how this new activity will mesh with the more traditional activities you might employ now. I measure all tech against 5 areas to determine what fits for me.

> Collaborative capability

I want tech that will work together rather than independently.I don’t want lots of applications, accounts and channels holding data. I need all my tech working in unison. This usually means looking at middle ware, something like like Tribepad. I want one place in and one destination for candidates, even if they are coming via multiple applications, and from multiple channels. I also want one place out at the back-end. Middleware glues the tech together. I also want to post jobs once in one place, and remove them once. I don’t want to be repeating actions in multiple places. Collaboration with any device is also critical, with access via mobile, i-pad, laptop etc becoming increasingly important. If you are going to attract candidates by mobile, then they are increasingly going to be coming by mobile.

> Real time data mining.

Most recruitment systems have been built around data storage rather than data retrieval, in particular around the A.T.S. I’m looking for data to be simple to tag, segment, search and retrieve. The data needs to be real-time. That means that if anyone updates their LinkedIn profile, the data needs to update, making the data current. Applications like TheSocialCV were built for this. historically, data has been up to date only at the point of submission. I want to go beyond this.Data needs to be current, without candidates needing to do updates. Data needs to cover both external and internal employees, with internal mobility becoming as important as external talent attraction. The technology needs to support all search methodology, so that the recruiters can work the way that they want to.

> Analytics

I want to be able to see what is working and what isn’t. To know where i need to make adjustments, and to follow the progress of the job. applications, recruiter performance etc. If everything is measured, i can determine what I want reporting and in what format.

> Recruiter Experience

Any technology needs to be simple for your recruiters to use because time is at a premium. That means being able that each recruiter can operate from a single screen in all applications, channels and functions, and get updates. When a recruiter enters a job, the functions need to be intuitive, with suggested, ranked candidates, and support a wider social referral network.The tech needs to support recruiters pro-actively sourcing as well as dealing with incoming talent from attraction initiatives. No recruiter activity should be dead time due to a lack of data-capture. That means integrating with products like recruiter LinkedIn accounts.

> Candidate Experience.

The application process needs to be simple, giving candidates choice, and access to additional information if they want it. This means single click registration using social profiles, with no duplicate information being asked for at any stage. Connecting needs to be separate to applying, allowing for talent network or talent community functions, so that opt in communication is always relevant. If a candidate is applying from Facebook, they need to be able to stay in Facebook, in Twitter, to stay on a Twitter style landing page etc.

Identifying channels and tech is the first stage of integration, the rest is down to recruiter and brand advocate training,and getting the psychology in your team right. Considering dtails like how you are going to organise your recruiters, which i will address in my next post.

The answer to the question of what channel or tech is best is really going to be dictated by the research you do at set up. Your thinking at this stage should be to take a multi-channel approach, with the collaborative tech that works in harmony. Your brand advocates and recruiters will take care of the rest if you get the training and psychology bit right.