Just Getting Started? First, Make Sure Your Infrastructure is in Place

According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the top “frequent and fatal flaws” that sinks product launches is that companies aren’t capable of supporting fast growth. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you are unable to deliver it to market.  The lesson learned is that you need to have a plan to ramp up quickly if the product takes off.  This same lesson needs to be applied to launching a social media recruitment campaign.

I’ve noted a very recent and frequent phenomenon in the consulting inquiries I have received in the past 90 days.  The calls go something like this: “Our CEO wants to know why we’re not using Facebook or Twitter to recruit.  We need to start tweeting our jobs ASAP.  Help!”  Or, alternatively, the call goes like this:  “I feel like we should be recruiting on <insert social media outlet here> because everyone else is.  We’re missing out.”

For a variety of reasons – but I suspect mainly due to planning for FY2017 – we’re seeing a definite uptick in inquiries from small to mid-cap sized, non-tech based, growing organizations wanting to implement social and alternative sourcing practices. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I often quickly learn that the infrastructure – people, process and technology – needed to support such approaches simply does not exist.  

So, while it seems simple to jump onto the social recruiting band wagon, a true social sourcing strategy goes well beyond just “tweeting” jobs.  In the absence of a solid recruiting process or a technology platform, these well-intentioned actions will likely prove ineffective or, in the worst case scenario, negatively impact your employer brand.  

Overall, any organization embarking on a social media strategy needs to deal with the following considerations and answer the questions linked to each before getting started:

1. BUSINESS STRATEGY.   It goes without saying your recruiting strategy should be in direct alignment with your business strategy.  However, just as your business strategy is multi-pronged to meet various customer needs, your sourcing strategies should be multi-pronged to meet the needs of your various candidate pools.  If, for example, millennials are anticipated to account for 50% of your hiring needs within two years, that will require a greater investment of time and resources than if that pool is only expected to be 10% of your total hires. Make a social strategy investment that appropriately supports that need; one that would be greater if 50% of your hires emanated from that demographic.   What investment are you prepared to make in social sourcing as a strategy?

2. PERSPECTIVE. Aside from the tools that are used, social media recruitment requires an entirely different mindset than job postings.  The latter is about filling immediate needs; the former is most appropriate as a part of a long-term strategy.  Using social media, you are building talent communities online from which you can recruit both current AND future positions. It takes time to create a community of followers. That requires a long term perspective and dedicated effort. This is important to recognize if you – or your CEO – are looking for instant gratification.   Is your recruiting team set up and equipped to leverage a social sourcing strategy?

3. PERCEPTIONS. The effectiveness of any form of social media recruitment depends on your employment brand.  How you present yourself needs to accurately, consistently and honestly reflect who you are as an organization. This means producing meaningful and interesting content about your organization to a far greater extent than what’s currently on your website “careers” page.   Just being on social media outlets is not enough.  How will your employer brand stand out from the rest and engage your target audience?

4. TECHNOLOGY. A social media strategy also requires having a technology platform to automate the distribution of your messages as well as a viable CRM-type platform on which to build and monitor your community of followers. Your current ATS system may be up to the task but many are not and that’s definitely something to consider prior to launch.  What tools do you already have in place and can they be used in a new way?

These four considerations are not intended to discourage those organizations ready to delve into social media recruitment campaigns from doing so. Quite to the contrary, it’s imperative that you get on the band wagon NOW or your competition will pass you in the fast lane.  We do however recommend that you FIRST fully consider the impact on your current recruiting organization. Get started with a quick TalentPULSE assessment to map the road ahead.  TalentPULSE combines the power of an brief internal stakeholder survey and expert insights that results in a scorecard regarding perceived strengths and weaknesses in your key recruiting capabilities – strategy, organization, processes, technology and employment brand.


To learn more about the TalentPULSE assessment click here.

Allicia Hahn

About the Author

Allicia Hahn is a Managing Director at TalentRISE, bringing more than 20 years of leadership experience with Fortune 500 corporate recruiting functions and global search firms.

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