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Mar 27, 2013

Over the last few years, recruiters and employers have come to see the immense value in harnessing the power of social media to source and attract talent. The sheer number of candidates we can reach with a click has skyrocketed, and more people than ever are drawing in talent via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and more.

But there’s a problem.

Too many recruiters are forgetting the “social” part of social media, and are losing out on the trust and relationships that are so important for successful candidate sourcing. Being able to target your social media efforts and deliver a message your ideal candidate wants to hear is a crucial step that often gets missed in the typical “quantity over quality” efforts of many recruiters today. It’s not just about getting your message out there; it’s about making sure the right people want to hear it too.

So how can you make sure your social efforts aren’t wasted?

Go where your candidates are

It’s no use posting job descriptions on sites where your ideal candidate isn’t browsing. Don’t waste time and energy sending your message out on every social media channel, or on ones where your people won’t see it. Instead, try to gain insight into where your candidate is spending time online and focus your efforts on specific communities.

Make it engaging

If you’re reaching out to candidates (especially in-demand ones like software engineers or high-level managers) you’ve got to give them a reason to want to learn more about your position. Treat your candidate outreach like marketing; you should grab your customer’s attention and stand out in a sea of cookie-cutter recruiters. Don’t be afraid to punch up your language and give the listing some personality. Share photos of fabulous office space and link to cool projects the team is working on, so candidates have something concrete to get excited about.

Make sure you’re Google-ready

If a candidate gets a message from you, the first thing they’re likely to do is Google you. What will they find?

It’s easy to think the role should be the only thing that matters, but the truth is that it’s not. Make sure your website and social media presence is established and engaging for someone who wants to find out more about you. Your goal should be to assure someone who likely doesn’t know you yet that they can have confidence in your ability to give them a great job.

Build your community

Trust is maybe the most important factor for making candidates want to sign on with your company or open positions. And the only way to build that trust is to create relationships with the people you want to hire. This means not just posting ads and content on your Twitter and Facebook feeds, but also actively engaging with candidates before you’re ever trying to hire them.

You can also do a lot to build community by tapping into the “old-fashioned social networks” of conferences, meetups, and other networking events. Become a presence in your community, and pump up your brand by speaking at industry events where your kind of candidates will be. Sponsoring a meetup demonstrates that you’re supporting the community, and can often cost as little as $80-100 for a local event.

Candidates are always more likely to go with someone they know and trust, and having those relationships gives you an invaluable leg up on the competition.

Social media makes it easy to reach a huge number of candidates at once, but unfortunately there are still no shortcuts to effective recruiting. Focused time and relationships are still the most important thing to bringing in top-notch candidates that are going to go the distance, and those can’t be faked with a few tweets. But – if you use the tools at your disposal strategically and focus on quality of relationships over quantity of leads – you’ll come out ahead every time.

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