Feb 14

The Social Media Recruiting Trap

Stephan Polomski
Stephan Polomski is director human resources, coach and trainer

Out of all channels we hear and in all channels we read: do social media or die. The truth is, if you do social media in order to recruit and you do it not appropriately, you might die as well: loss of image, damage to your brand, demoralization of your recruiting team, loss of money and time.

A recruiting success is a signed working contract.

Recruiting has become so ruthlessly a sales topic that the closing is nowadays what (head)counts.

Of course, doing employer branding, we are happy to grow publicity and image. So here, we might be successful doing You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, blogs or Google+. We should have a message, and we should have valuable content.

However, on these platforms, measurable success – a closing – was not recorded so far. Here we are into employer brand building.

And frankly speaking: is this really worth the effort?

Exactly this question I was asking my team and myself as HR-director of a medium-sized company in Germany working for the automotive industry – right on the main battle field of the war for talent. We need experienced engineers, and the market is empty.

And as everybody is talking about social media and the must haves of it and spreading opinions all over the place, we said, fine, before we really start, we will do a market research for our company finding out, which social media strategy is exactly fitting for us and our very target groups.

And here come my recommendation right away: look in a differentiated way to the topic social media as recruiting tool and look to it according to the size of your company and according to your recruiting and employer branding strategy – and your budget and workforce.

Of course, desktop research will tell, yes, social media platforms are heavily frequented by graduates and professionals – however, only rarely for recruiting purposes. And even better: Facebook, for example, cannot be imagined to be recruiting platform at all by one fourth of interviewees and is in use merely privately by three-fourths. In our research, by the way, almost four hundred people were asked.

What we clearly learned that is to consciously choose the recruiting and communication instruments according to very purpose of employer brand communication.

And if you check where candidates search for information among the first and most important touch points, social media comes last of all channels.

For us, these results were really food for thought as they demystified social media in our strategy landscape.

“For us, these results were really food for thought as they demystified social media in our strategy landscape.”

We decided to choose new priorities when dealing with the topic social media.

Sure, you need a presence in Facebook, in order to be there – but what happens, if you do not post regularly? What happens if you cannot generate a community of followers because your company´s brand is not fancy like Mercedes Benz or Porsche? These brands are strong in brand imagery, and companies find candidates even without fostering brand building in Facebook. They do not feel the war for talent, because for them, it does not matter if they receive 25.000 applications or 23.000 applications. They still have the choice. And, on top, they easily can afford to realize the benefits of Facebook: that is community building and thus direct social interaction as they have the workforce available in their HR-departments.

What we are doing now, is to focus on the platform Xing (the German version of Linked-In) which is clearly related to business and recruiting, meaning we can use it as platform for classical direct search. This is valuable, as contact is the most important driver of success when it comes to closing a contract.

And, of course, we are ongoing optimizing our careers sites on our homepage.

Anything else for a medium sized company in our business and industry, our target groups and our size is a waste of time and money. I am glad we did the research, before putting hell of an effort into social media platforms.

Nonetheless, using social media in order to be show presence on platforms like Facebook, I have to consider seven drivers of influence which are in my command and which generate success:

  1. Definition what success means to me: closing versus branding as well as closing and branding
  2. Choice of platforms relevant to me
  3. Keeping usage simple
  4. Arranging platforms clearly
  5. Generating relevant content
  6. Keeping it up-to-date
  7. Entertaining the user

Once you say yes, I want to do it and apply it successfully at the same time (meaning not to fall into the social media trap and die), please, keep these items in mind.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 09:01 and is filed under Human Resources, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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