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Q&A With Ben Eubanks: Why Social Recruiting Isn’t a One-Way Street

Cornerstone Editors

People are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all day long, so when recruiters are looking for new hires, it’s only logical that they’d turn to these social networks. Many recruiters talk about using social tools, yet social recruiting is not highly strategized. That leaves lots of opportunity for companies to improve on their minimal (or non-existent) social strategy. Ben Eubanks, co-founder of HR Revolution, shares why social recruiting needs precise measurement and strategy to be truly effective.

What should recruiters be doing to reach potential candidates on social networks?

It’s interesting because I see a lot of data that talks about what they’re doing and how they’re using it, but not all of it matches up. For instance, the Jobvite social recruiting survey shows that the number of recruiters using social media is going up. The 2013 survey said 94 percent of recruiters are using social tools. But Brandon Hall Group’s research found that only 7 percent of companies have a strategy and goals for their programs. That’s one of the biggest areas of opportunity for recruiters, to think about what they really want to get out of it.

If you want to prove that social recruiting works and get some momentum, you need to start tracking. Look at the recruiting funnel and break it down by who came from social and how far they got in the funnel, and who came from other avenues and how far they came. At the end of that, you want to be able to say here’s the quality of hire that we get from this source versus another one. When it comes to social, people say it’s the wide world of the Internet and they need to just try something, when what they really need is to measure and gauge to see if it was a good use of their time.

How should companies measure social recruiting to prove it’s a good business strategy?

If they’re looking for a way to treat it differently from all of their other recruiting strategies, they’re going to have a very difficult time selling it as a tactic. If they look at it as one more tool in the toolbox — we have employee referrals, staffing agencies, job boards — and they start tracking it like anything else, they’ll come back and say our average time to fill posting things on Facebook was actually 10 days versus 20 days from job boards. I have actual hard data that proves that was a better method for us and it was less expensive, or whatever the kicker may be. If they’re going to sell and prove the value of it, they can’t try to segregate it out and say it’s completely different.

Which social media networks hold the most promise for recruiting?

My personal experience has been different from some of the data that I’ve seen, but I’ve always gotten a lot of value out of LinkedIn because I am able to build out a separate pool of applicants. There are a lot more recruiters than candidates on LinkedIn, but I’ve never felt that’s hampered me when I’ve been recruiting for positions in the past. A lot of candidates will build their profile and just let it sit, until someone reaches out to them.

As far as Facebook and Twitter go, the other two of the big three, Bullhorn Research found that more recruiters use Twitter than Facebook, but Facebook has a higher success rate of hire than Twitter does. You can get a better picture of people on Facebook and you can get more in depth with the connection there, whereas Twitter you’re limited in what you can say and who you can reach and there’s a smaller pool of people there too.

What are the top mistakes that companies make with social recruiting?

Companies that only use their social platforms for feeding out job postings are doing the same thing as a company that only posts jobs on a job board and nothing else. There’s no communication or connection since it’s a one-way conversation.

Another way companies are doing things poorly is that when they start using a tool and then it becomes less of a priority, the tool they’re using stagnates and for example their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2012. If you’re not going to actively market yourself and connect with people, it’s better to hide those pages until you’re ready to do that.

When folks are just getting started, they will try to be really active all at once when it might have been smarter to ask where their candidates are gathering — Facebook or LinkedIn. I talked with a big manufacturing company about a year ago and they said they couldn’t get any traction on LinkedIn to find hourly employees. And I told them that’s because the people that you’re hiring are probably not going to be on LinkedIn, they’re going to be on Facebook or some other social network. You need to go where they are instead of fishing in a pond where the candidates aren’t even swimming.

Photo credit: Can Stock

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