Social Recruiting around the world - Part 3: Some thoughts from the USA

Next up in the Social Recruiting around the world series are some thoughts on brand and reputation from Sabine Gillert of TMP Worldwide North America Sabine is a Senior Brand Consultant for TMP currently living in San Francisco. She is someone whose opinion I've valued greatly ever since I worked with her in London a few years ago. She has some interesting thoughts on what Social Recruiting is and what companies should be doing to take full advantage of it -

"When Matt asked me to write about social media recruiting, he did not send an email to my work email address, but rather he asked me over an email on Facebook – this in itself should tell you just how much Facebook and other forms of social media have become such an integral part of our daily lives.

Today, people communicate with each other in so many different places, we no longer rely on just one email address or a phone number we have multiple ways that people can communicate with us and when we seek out information about a movie, a restaurant or an organization, we no longer rely on just one web site or source to obtain our information, instead we consult multiple online sources for information. Many of these contain user generated content and since we rely so much on the opinion of our networks, these messages appear to us to be more transparent and credible than content generated by for example a marketing department of an organization.

This applies to our approach to searching for jobs too. If we want to find out about the employment experience at an organization, sure we’d look at the company web site for opportunities but before the application is made, we’d talk to our network of friends and peers (most likely online) and we’d search (Google) the internet to find more information about the employment experience.

Here in the US we have seen a rise in  employee opinion web site such as Jobvent and Glassdoor where users go to so they can openly discuss their employment experience. Search being as dynamic as it is, means that these comments are starting to come up in search results when a user searches for information about a company.  Along with these specific sites, anyone can post their comments on their own Facebook pages, or write blogs or post you tube videos. The possibilities for communicating how one feels about work are almost endless today, all of this can appear in a search result.

This type of openness can obviously create a certain perceptions about an organization as a place to work and it may not always be positive, so what can companies do to change the way their organization is represented in the social media space?

The first and most important advice is to join in the conversation.

We have helped organizations find success with the creation of a company page on Facebook as well as branded pages on Linked In and  Twitter but the companies that have used these tools successfully are they ones that actively participated in the chatter.

Companies that are actively training their employees to become brand ambassadors that can actively help to manage the tone of the conversation in line with their employer brand are the ones that are proactively managing their brand in the social media space. After all, you don’t want other people creating a perception about your employment experience on your behalf.

TMP recently polled participants at a webinar how they were using social networking, responses included almost all of the “popular” social media platform available today and most notable included the top three that we believe should be in any social media strategy today. Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.

There are three key ways in which a company could utilize social media for recruiting:

-       Networking

-       Building a talent community

-       Traditional advertising

The most successful companies will use a combination of all three.

For network building we see a great amount of activity on Linked In. Recruiters seem to be most comfortable in this space since there are specific tools available for recruiters to use. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be utilized to build a talent community. Twitter is relatively easy and certainly cost effective to manage and implement and here in the US over 60% of Twitter users are between the ages of 35 and 49. This may very possibly be your target audience.

Traditional web advertising still has relevance in this mix especially on sites like Facebook because even though this environment is often recognized as being a more “private” environment over say Linked In, the eyeballs are on Facebook and it is a good way to drive the audience to your job related content elsewhere.

Don’t forget that using social media is not anything like a web site, it is critical that you actively monitor your social presence. How you manage your brand online is becoming one of the most important tools companies can have in their recruiting toolbox today."