Four Social Media Recruitment Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

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May 18, 2012

When today’s job candidate seeks a new opportunity or simply surveys the employment landscape, they use search engines, social networks and personal connections to find the best places to work. Many candidates start the process on a search engine, and as we have seen, search engines are the gateway to social media since they index social mentions.

Organizations have responded by establishing a presence on some or all of the major social platforms. To get the full value from their social media efforts, companies need a strategic approach and an understanding of where to focus their efforts.

Are you prepared to succeed and stand out from the competition with your social strategy? Below is a list of the common mistakes companies make on social platforms. Ask yourself if you’re making any of these critical errors. If the answer is yes, it’s time to rethink your digital strategy.

Put up or shut up

In the film, A Field of Dreams, the idea was “if you build it, they will come.” However, in social media and digital recruitment, “if you build it, they won’t come” – unless you drive people there (but that’s a different conversation). The real question is: Will they come back? The social experience is about sustainable engagement – getting people to interact with your brand whether they’re communicating directly with your organization or carrying your messages and job opportunities forward to their personal networks. The value of social media isn’t just in getting found, but in what people discover when they visit your career site, Facebook page or Twitter stream. With so much competition from multiple platforms, personal posts and the general abundance of digital information, you’ll lose your audience if returning users see the same content they saw during a previous visit.

Pro-tip: Commit to keeping content fresh. Include new images, videos and updated copy and seek opportunities to interact with your audience.

Forget the “Spaghetti Method”

Throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks is a recipe for failure. If you’re basing your social strategy on it, you’re doing it wrong. Instead of rushing to put up a presence on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc., think carefully about your audience and the platforms they are using. While Pinterest may be the “new shiny thing,” it won’t prove effective when sourcing for talent if your audience isn’t using it for their job search (and they might be). Wasting time and energy on the wrong platforms won’t advance your cause. Always ask yourself these two questions: “Who are we trying to reach?” and “What do we want them to do?

Pro-tip: It’s better to have a narrow focus and get it right.

Be in it to win it

Many organizations make the mistake of not defining their goals. Are you looking to create employment brand awareness? Gain market intelligence? Increase traffic to your website? Encourage individuals to like your page, comment on your posts or share jobs with their friends? Achieving ROI requires defining success metrics upfront so you can measure against them.

Pro-tip: Understand the end-goal so time and resources are aligned with business priorities.

Frozen by fear

Fear keeps many organizations from allowing employees to post on the company’s behalf, but this is shortsighted. Organizations that don’t open up and get employees engaged in the social space are missing a huge opportunity. Third-party endorsement – especially from individuals who know the company and its culture – is extremely powerful. Employee-generated referrals can produce candidates who are a better cultural fit and tend to have higher retention levels. So, it makes sense to conquer the fear and use your employee network to competitive advantage.

Pro-tip: Update your social media policy and activate your internal workforce to serve as brand ambassadors to find right-fit talent faster.

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