If you’re in the business of hiring—whether you’re a human resource professional or a hiring manager—social media is likely your number one tool for scouting prospective employees and connecting with candidates.
And yet, using social media to hire is no easy task. With people increasingly using sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for both socializing and professional networking, it can be difficult to screen candidates without crossing ethical—or even legal—boundaries. Further, with so much happening online, it can be tough to source the right people or to filter out irrelevant noise.
But fear not. The following tips can help streamline your social media hiring practices.
Build your brand
Just because you’re on the lookout for candidates doesn’t mean you should solely occupy yourself with active searching. On the contrary, a crucial element of social media hiring is finding ways to draw potential candidates to you, via strong social media branding.
Jody Bishop, Vice President of Development and Recruiting at the Toronto-based Alliance Financial Group, says the starting point is honing your own profile. “How you describe yourself and what you’re committed to on LinkedIn or Facebook really speaks to who you are—you’re representing yourself, but you’re also representing your company on your profile.” Make sure your self-presentation on each social networking site each is clear, articulate and confident, and that you state concrete interests, values and goals.
Bishop suggests checking out the profiles of competitors in the field and those at the top of your profession, to get a sense of how they attract followers and build connections. Further, be conscious of the groups you join on sites like LinkedIn, because, as he affirms, “You’re going to draw people to you by being in the right groups.” Your groups should highlight your professional interests and company’s attributes, and you can boost your profile by regularly contributing to them—assuming your input is thoughtful and intelligent. “Know what’s going to be acceptable to share with your network; when you have something that’s valuable or news-worthy…those are the kinds of things people like to hear about,” Bishop says.
“…a crucial element of social media hiring is finding ways to draw potential candidates to you, via strong social media branding.”
Pay attention to passive job seekers
According to a social job seeker survey conducted in 2011 by social recruiting and applicant tracking site Jobvite, just under 70 per cent of the 1205 adults surveyed—both employed and unemployed—identified as “job seekers.” This means they were either actively pursuing a job or simply remaining open to new job opportunities.
The takeaway is that effective social media scouting shouldn’t just focus on finding individuals who are explicitly looking for work, but should include qualified people who are already employed.
Mel Kleiman is founder and president of Humetrics, a Texas-based company that helps businesses develop their hiring processes. He touts the merits of LinkedIn, as it “attract[s] people who didn’t know you existed.” “I think everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job [in some way]…at least looking for something better than what they already have, or looking to know what their options are…the people you may want [to hire] may not be actively looking for a job.”
Use the LinkedIn search function to scope out individuals who have specified that they are looking for new opportunities, then contact them directly, by e-mail, direct in-message or phone. Introduce yourself and let them know you think they might be a good fit for your company. Even if there are no immediate results, this could pay off in the long run.
Develop relationships—even when you’re not hiring
As with dating, the best time to find someone is when you’re not really looking. Kleiman says it’s important to consistently use social media to make connections and build strong relationships.
Once you have a relationship with someone, “it’s way easier to pick up the phone and call them when you are looking. Even if that person isn’t interested in the position, you can ask them to refer you to someone else… it’s less meet you in the bar and see if we can hook up for the night, and more, ‘we’ve been dating for six months.’”
“I think everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job [in some way]…at least looking for something better than what they already have, or looking to know what their options are…the people you may want [to hire] may not be actively looking for a job.”
As finance and accounting recruiters, we at Clarity Recruitment can vouch for the promise and power of social media as a tool for attracting and hiring talent. By keeping your own social media profiles strong and directed, being mindful of both passive and active job seekers and building relationships on an ongoing—rather than a one-off—basis, you should maximize your ability to find excellent people.
Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!