Social Recruiting around the world: Part 2 A case study from New Zealand

Part two of my Social Recruiting around the world series features a real life case study from Richard Long the Manager of Talent Acquisition for Deloitte New Zealand. With so much talk, theory and speculation surrounding the role of social media in recruitment, it's great to hear from a company that is actually putting things into practice and I'm really grateful that Richard is prepared to share his experiences. I also absolutely love his idea about "Community DJs"! A bit about Richard - Richard Long is Manager, Talent Acquisition at Deloitte NZ and has been at Deloitte for about 4.5 years. His role is to lead Deloitte NZ’s recruitment team and develop talent acquisition strategy for the firm. With a background in marketing, he has been in recruitment for 11 years (mainly internal corporate recruitment). Richard lives in Auckland NZ with his partner Tracey and 2-year-old son Curtis. Outside of work and family he is into music in quite a big way.

"When I first started researching social media’s application to recruitment for Deloitte in New Zealand, I found I got confused by the enormous amount of deep analysis available on the topic. The more I read, the more confused I got – to the point where I felt I would never understand this thing called social media – even though I have been a keen user of Facebook, Myspace and other music related web 2.0 platforms like Soundcloud. It was not the technology that baffled me it was the thousands of articles of analysis and endless strategising.

One day, I had an epiphany – social media is simply about talking to each other. We can take that a step further when thinking about how social media can be applied to a firm like Deloitte’s recruitment – it’s about creating dialogue and engagement. I was lucky enough to be able to work with Paul Jacobs from Engage and it was Paul who framed social media to me in those terms and after that it seemed so simple, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t realised this before!

The thing about social media I have observed is that many organisations would love to be in it, but are paralysed by issues including: •    Endless research •    Over strategising •    Lengthy report and proposal writing to board and management groups •    Fear of risk (what will they say about us??) •    How will we measure it (we must have numbers!!) •    Fear of failure It is my belief that social media has actually changed business rules to the extent that the processes we may have gone through in the past to get initiatives like this off the ground no longer apply. Indeed if we try and apply those old rules we may fail. The reason; the landscape of social media and web 2.0 is changing by the hour and if you don’t draw a line in the sand and jump in with both feet a couple of things will happen: •    Those who are in it will always be ahead of you •    You will always be following – not leading •    It’s difficult to understand unless you’re in it •    You can’t see opportunities as they develop Don’t get me wrong – I think you need a strategy and you need to understand the risks that apply to your business. However, you need to do it fast. It’s a movable feast – the old framework of research, proposal, sign off, project plan, development and implementation and measurement of your nicely structured, well planned and neatly implemented thing does not apply with social media. With social media you kind of do the whole thing at once – the project changes and develops along the way – how will we measure it? I’m not sure, let’s see what happens...

Social media for our business has been about handing over control to the user. Our approach to social media has been to hand over the reins to students and allow them to control the experience. I really didn’t want a Facebook page that consisted of my team telling students what’s great about Deloitte NZ. I wanted our Facebook page to communicate who we are as people and to give students a taste of the unique culture of Deloitte New Zealand – communicate the human face of Deloitte, as Paul (Jacobs) likes to say. The theme of our page is “up close and personal with Deloitte New Zealand” and that’s exactly what is – up close and personal with Deloitte New Zealand. How else could students understand who we are?

As a student, you could look at the Big 4 firms and say ‘well, they pretty much look the same to me – what makes them different to each other?’ I think that statements fair enough – we’ve always said it’s our people and our unique culture. A business’ culture is a very difficult thing to articulate to an audience via static media. That’s the beauty of a platform like Facebook – it’s all about dialogue, engagement, community – culture!

We used Facebook primarily because I felt I understood it better, I wanted to get started and most of our student target market said it was their primary social media platform. I also like the way Facebook allowed you to interface many other platforms and applications which I felt allowed for more possibilities in terms of providing a rich user experience.

I wanted the page to subtly reflect our graduate recruitment brand (visually) for the sake of identity and consistency but I didn’t want it to appear overly engineered or corporate. If it looked to corporate or slick I felt it may put our savvy Gen Y audience off who will be pretty well tuned in to corporate pages they felt aren’t genuine, infiltrating their Facebook space!

Additionally, I wanted the content of the page to be user driven – driven by internal Deloitte users and external fans of the page. I wanted to create dialogue between the students and Deloitte people contributing to the page and also between the students themselves using our page as their communication platform. In this way we built our community. The primary thing we are always asking ourselves whenever we post or launch something new on the page is ‘will this create conversation?’ I think if the answer is no, then you really have to ask yourself if it has a place on the page. So we’re no longer just talking employer brand – we are no communicating employee brand (I stole that term from Bill Boorman – I really like it)

Just on the measurement thing, I didn’t really know how we were going to measure success when we first started. First we were looking at fan numbers – the magical 1000 fans number appeared as a target (as I write this we are sitting at 966 fans after 4 months). However as we’ve progressed I’m more inclined to think success is measured by the number of quality engagements and conversations we are having on the page. I am still figuring out how to report on this...

I believe that to get the most from social media you have to be constantly pushing new ideas, launching new applications and developing new ways to engage your fans. The old WIIFM (what’s in it for me) is a very good acronym to keep in the back of your mind when developing your social media plan and strategy (quickly!). Why would I, a young intelligent student with many companies vying for my attention decide to become a fan of your page, keep visiting and most of all – contribute my own ideas, opinions or comments? Because the content is fresh and innovative and I get something out of it I don’t get anywhere else.

Recently we hosted the first of a series of live streaming video chat sessions through Facebook by mashing Ustream (streaming video platform) and Facebook. Fans could view a panel of our Consulting team via live streaming video on Facebook, ask them questions by typing them into a comments box and the panel answered them live. Thus, the fans control the direction and the content of the show. It was very successful and we have more lined up. If you are interested, the next one is on Feb 16th at 5.30pm (NZ time) http://bit.ly/aenpPT We claimed a world first for recruitment in using this approach – it has been used by pop stars like Shakira and Mylie Cyrus (so Paul tells me, his musical tastes are different to mine I would like to point out!) but as far as we’re aware it’s a first for recruitment.

A final note – recently I’ve noticed the term Community DJ being used to describe people whose business is social media. Initially I didn’t understand this title and was suitably cynical as often those in the recruitment business can be – I think it’s healthy... However, the more I get to know social media, the more I see synergies between the title of Community DJ and working with social media.

A DJ plays their tunes to a dance-floor full of people (community). The success or failure of the night is down to the DJ’s ability to understand what’s happening on the floor and take the crowd (community) on a journey/experience. The DJ needs to understand their audience and listen to what they’re telling him/her in order to know what direction to next take their set. All the while gradually and subtly building the floor – drop the wrong tune at the wrong time and you’ve lost the floor – it’s called a groove. I think social media is all about hitting a groove and holding it there in a social sense – so Community DJ? I think it’s a pretty good description of the role really!"