Recruiting In the Trenches – Should You Care About Social?

The following is a re-post from a guest post shared on recently. You can find the original post here.
By Lars Schmidt

This week I’ll be presenting at Recruiting Trends annual conference. My session,Recruiting Lessons From The Trenches: How To Develop, Champion, And Manage Social Media Recruiting Strategies That Work, will explore how recruiting leaders can develop and integrate social recruiting into their workflow, and the impact it has.

NPR Recruiting Manager Infographic

There is a lot of chatter about social recruiting; benefits, costs, ROI. My aim will be to demystify some of that, and provide actionable examples of how to implement social into your branding initiatives.

Social Media is a tool, not a strategy.

With all the buzz around social, it’s easy for recruiting leaders to get caught up in the hype. Don’t. If you feel compelled to get your recruiting efforts on social, just to say you are, it will show – and it won’t be effective. It’s not enough to have a presence on social. You have to actively and regularly nurture your network and build the type of engagement that helps supplement your traditional recruiting methods.

While I do think an employment branding strategy should be integrated into every recruiting strategy, the delivery mechanism doesn’t have to be limited to social media. Your career sitejob descriptions (like the example on the right), candidate experience– all of these are tools at your disposal to enhance your talent brand.

Social is a long play endeavor.

If you decide to pursue social, it’s important you’re prepared to put in the time and work needed for it to pay off. Social is not a quick fix solution. It takes roughly a year to build an engaged network that begins producing measurable and consistent results in source of applicants and hires.

At NPR, we’ve built ‘the big three’ (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) into our top 10 sources of applicants and hires. Twitter, specifically, is our #4 source of hire. It’s been a key resource for helping us reach that elusive ‘passive talent’. This didn’t happen overnight. It took months of engaging, tinkering, and learning to build the kind of engaged community the bears this fruit. You can learn more about NPR’s employer branding journey here.

The image below is a graph from my Recruiting Trends presentation breaking down the three phases of a social recruiting roadmap. This is based on my experience at NPR, and skews towards the employment branding aspect of social recruiting.

3 Phase Social Recruiting Roadmap

So yes, social recruiting takes time. It takes a sustained commitment, and it’s not for everyone. If you’re recruiting blue-collar talent, there are other resources where your time may be better served. However, I personally feel social has transformed recruiting and should be a component of most organizations talent strategy. It’s not easy, and it takes commitment, but it’s worth it.

I understand the thought of this kind of commitment to social can be overwhelming for talent leaders. Trust me, as a non-profit recruiting leader I certainly feel your pain of limited resources – time being the most valuable. There are tools you can use to help you be more efficient, but it’s really about going through a process of trial and error to find the best way to incorporate social into your workflow – even if it’s just you managing it all. It can be done. And when it is, social can be a game changer to level the playing field and be an effective add-on to your traditional recruiting efforts.

Lars Schmidt is the Senior Director of Talent Acquisition & Innovation at NPR where he is responsible for providing leadership and advocacy for talent acquisition strategies that align with NPR’s strategic mission and core values. You can follow him on: Twitter at @ThisIsLarsFacebook, and LinkedIn.