When you’re buying a product or a service, usually you get what you pay for. So what are companies supposed to make of social recruiting, which seems to promise access to all the best candidates for essentially no cost?
Partly it comes down to changing your understanding of social recruiting. Many companies like to think they’ve got an effective social media campaign as soon as they’ve got accounts set up on all the major sites.
What many of them forget is that there is an entire ecosystem of different social media services from Facebook all the way down to regional sites with a focus on specific industries.
Even news aggregators like Reddit boast lively social networking and recruiting possibilities in some of the subsections of the sites.
When Free Isn’t Free
But to some extent you might also have to reconsider whether these tools are, in fact, “free.”
Probably one of the biggest problems companies face when they’re trying to use social media for recruiting and employer branding is that they see it as an easy platform — a place where you can generate substantial returns based solely on the fact that they require minimal investment.
To a certain extent that’s true. You don’t have to pay for accounts on many major social networking sites, though there are sometimes costs for messaging and other recruiting activities.
From another perspective, however, you could see social recruiting as even more costly than many traditional forums, because your returns will ultimately depend entirely on your level of engagement and activity.
Paying the Price in Time
If you utilize your Twitter as a way to push out announcements and job opportunities, you might attract some job seekers, but you won’t be very interesting to the most qualified candidates. These people, who are often not actively looking for work, will want to see active participation in the community and real insight.
What that means is that you can’t count on just any intern to keep your account updated, but rather you should have someone with real talent putting in the time and effort to maintain your social recruiting efforts. While that may seem like a small task, to a busy professional that time can be very expensive.
With that in mind, how can you best ensure that all your social media remains as relevant as possible? Who should bear that responsibility?
There are a few ways to approach the problem:
Some companies try to spread out the burden so no one person has to take responsibility for being an earnest thought leader in the industry. The problem with this approach is that, without a strict schedule, it can make your social media presence inconsistent.
You can try to put the whole weight on one person, but managing that many accounts can be an entire job in itself, sometimes more than one.
Unless you want a social media manager exclusively, you might want to consider an approach that blends the two, giving one person sole responsibility for coordinating and, potentially, incentivizing contributions to your social recruiting efforts.
How much time do you think should be spent on social recruiting? Is the investment worth the returns you get in high quality candidates?