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Harnessing the Power of Social Media – Without the Headache


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The Kony 2012 film has more than 87 million hits on YouTube. Invisible Children, Inc. has more than 3.2 million members on Facebook.  Kony 2012 – reminiscent of a presidential campaign – aimed to make a heinous warlord famous so that his crimes would be known and, ultimately, he would be captured. It took a little known cause to mainstream awareness in less than a week.  How did they do it? Kony 2012 harnessed the power of social media and personal networks in a big way.

Just like advocacy has changed, so has the business of recruiting. The question is no longer if social media is part of the recruitment strategy but instead, how it can be best used to attract the right candidates. Social media can be time and resource-intensive, especially with so many platforms to manage and monitor; but there is a way to harness its power without the headache: use the right technology, put candidates in control and engage an army of referrers.

Talk to any recruiter, whether it’s in the financial services, pharmaceutical or professional services industry, and they share the same concerns: finding the talent they need when and where they need it. But chances are, if you can find someone with a particular skill set– say, a commodity broker – someone else in their network (or their network’s network) will have a similar education, experience or career path. We’ve noted in previous posts that relationships matter; but relationships extend beyond a single candidate to his or her personal and extended network. And, the value of the network increases if relevant people are part of the chain.

How can you harness the power of an extended network and optimize social media to find the talent you need?

Let candidates own their information

A cloud-based talent community lets candidates easily create and update their own profile. Unlike the typical application process that requires candidates to start from scratch every time they want to apply for an open position, users can create a single profile to apply to multiple opportunities. Updating information in one place is easy, so candidates are more inclined to post their current status, achievements or career developments, enabling recruiters to access to the most current data.

Streamline the posting process

Aggregating all sources on a single platform not only simplifies the posting and reviewing process, but also provides better reporting and insight into which online sources deliver the best candidates.

Look for a match

Whether it’s a discussion group on LinkedIn, a hashtag denoting a particular topic on Twitter or another online network, communities are important for finding specialized talent. Looking for a Harvard MBA? A Ruby on Rails developer who speaks Japanese? A broker who has worked for Goldman Sachs? Identify communities where people with similar skills or experiences are engaging and encourage them to communicate your opportunities to their network.

Promote sharing

Make it easy for candidates, employees, recruiters and hiring managers to share job postings with their online networks—there’s power in a third-party endorsement.  Functionality that allows individuals to post an opportunity on their Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter pages can help organizations find the talent they need. Not only does this tool give the company credibility as a great place to work, but it begins to create and engage a community.  Even if someone isn’t ready to make a move or is not a good match for the position today, most people like to be helpful and can extend the reach of your talent search.

Motivate employees as brand ambassadors

Who knows your culture and business better than current employees? A cloud-based application makes it easy to match internal people with opportunities and allows them to quickly share available positions within their networks, helping organizations connect to the right talent, faster.

In the information age, companies need a recruitment strategy that effectively harnesses the power of social media. A candidate-maintained community and access to innovative sourcing tools can help organizations match candidates to new opportunities, leverage the power of internal networks, and build pipelines to meet their hiring needs today and in the future.

Brin McCagg, co-founder, president and COO of Onewire, has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial and executive management experience. Between 2005 and 2007, McCagg served as Executive Vice President of Control Point Solutions, a telecomm expense management company owned by ABS Capital Partners. McCagg helped restructure the operations and position the business for a sale. Between 2003 and 2004, he served as Executive Vice President of Flight Options, Inc., an $800mm private aviation company owned by Raytheon and Monitor Clipper Partners. McCagg helped restructure the business, reduce losses from $40mm to $6mm and position the company for a sale. From 1998 to 2002, he founded and served as CEO and Chairman of TradeOut Inc., a 240 person, online industrial asset management company, which was financed and partnered with GE Capital, Goldman Sachs, Chase Bank and eBay. After filing to go public, the company was ultimately sold. From 1991 to 1997, he co-founded and served as President of Full Circle, Inc., a hazardous waste recycling company, which merged in 1995 with EVTC, a NASDAQ listed company. McCagg started his career as an investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert and received an MBA from The Wharton School. You can follow him on Twitter at @Brin_McCagg.