How #SocialRecruiting Is Changing Sourcing

Yesterday I received a notification from Jobvite that the results to their 2010 Social Recruiting Survey were available. This is a topic of great interest to me, as it is to many of you, so I couldn’t wait to take a look at it. Sure enough, not much surprised me – more companies are embracing the use of social networks like LinkedIn, more money is being put into the purchase of social technologies, and more companies are claiming that greater percentages of their hires are starting to come from social networks and other online resources.

Big shocker! But there is a message that we, as sourcing professionals, need to find between the lines here…

Social recruiting is changing the scope of our job.

Let’s face it sourcers, we used to be able to get away with hiding in the corners of our offices, nose glued to our monitor(s), feverishly typing away on our keyboards drumming up complex Boolean search strings to scour the Internet for our diamond in the rough. In the words of Fergie, “That’s so two-thousand-and-late” these days. Gone are the days of total introversion and zero interaction with potential candidates.

You guys know me. You know how I feel about the phone. I’ve been shouting at the top of my lungs for eight years that I refuse to talk to people. So you’ve got to know how hard it is for me to come to this conclusion.

Take a look at this image, taken from the Jobvite survey (sorry, I know it’s tiny). It shows that one of the most popular uses of social media in recruiting is for employment branding:

Publishing jobs came in second overall – which in my book warrants another post all its own because the whole idea behind ‘social’ recruiting is being ‘social’ and not just sticking jobs into the conversation, but I digress…

A colleague I met with recently told me that his sourcing team was just moved from reporting directly to a recruiting manager and was now reporting to a manager in charge of workforce planning and employment brand. If who we report to is any indication of how our jobs are going to eventually evolve (and I believe it is!), then we need to pay close attention as this starts to happen in more organizations.

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Most recruiting organizations, whether they are corporate or third party, understand the importance of using LinkedIn to find candidates.78% of the companies surveyed said they use it, in fact, and of those, 89% have indicated that they have made hires as a result of using LinkedIn. More and more are starting to incorporate other channels into their hiring tool-kits though: 55% use Facebook, 45% use Twitter, 19% use blogs,14% use YouTube, 5% use MySpace, and only 15% indicated that they use no social technologies in hiring.

Look once again at the graph above: the most popular use of the tools listed above is to promote a brand. Brand promotion is a task that has typically been the responsibility of Marketing/Communications/PR teams. It’s now creeping its way into recruiting, and guess who’s going to be charged with managing these campaigns?

This means interaction, outreach, engaging communities and individuals, and all of the other tasks that go into giving people warm-fuzzies about our respective companies. To loop back to the beginning of this article, this means no more  sitting in dark corners pounding away on our keyboards. We’re going to be expected to do employment branding activities in addition to active sourcing.

Please understand, this does not mean that understanding Boolean is a dying skill. I think our knowledge of Boolean will also evolve, bringing forth a need to understand semantic search as more and more online resources will be populated with user-generated content, and thus be more conversational in nature. That, too, will evolve over the coming months and years.

Researchers and sourcers, it is important to polish your existing skills at this point, but make sure you’re also paying attention to the new ways in which people are communicating. Understanding the way we socialize will help you to be successful in your career as a sourcer as time moves on. Keep up with the technologies and keep yourself relevant. I encourage you to take a look at the survey yourself – you can download it here.

Please share your thoughts below on how you believe social recruiting and social technologies are changing the way we do our jobs. Do you find it easier or harder to find candidates? Do you feel that a great number of potential candidates are being overlooked due to our new reliance on online resources? Do you feel that our jobs will evolve in a completely different direction? Leave a comment and share!

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter and SourceCon.com with ERE Media. She currently works as Sr. Manager, Technical Talent Sourcing for Walmart eCommerce. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.

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