The most powerful social recruiting technique of all

  • So it's been a while……I didn't intend to take such a long break from blogging it just sort of happened. I'm back now though and just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention to what has been going on and frankly I'm a little bit worried.

In the plethora of blog posts, white papers, conferences, webinars and hang outs about social recruiting, the focus and topics are always very similar. New tools, new ways of sourcing and vague unquantified references to engagement and "being social". Lots of focus on platforms and tools and very little in the way of explaining how employers can harness social media to brand themselves and actually persuade the talent their find using these "cool tools" to join their organisation.

Meanwhile outside the recruitment bubble the world has changed dramatically we are relying on feedback from our networks to make decisions on everything from the films we see, to the holidays we go on, to what we put shelves up with (scroll down that page for the user reviews!) We truly live in a feedback society where anything can be and is researched using the power of networks, the wisdom of crowds and very often the views of strangers. There is a phrase for this, it's called social proof. Savvy brands and companies have realised this in the consumer world and, rather than fighting it, are encouraging users and customers by making it easy for them to share their thoughts good or bad

Unfortunately despite the social recruiting revolution this mainstream everyday phenomena of social proof doesn't seem to be being embraced in the world of employer branding and talent attraction. Corporate careers sites still seem to favour the staged managed people profiles that have been with us pretty much since online recruitment started. Even those employers who have employee blogs on their site seem to heavily control or at least strongly influence the content. Of course there are exceptions but unfortunately at the moment they are just that, exceptions in a world that is otherwise made up of corporate communications spin.

In the last few months I've lost count of the number of companies who I've introduced to employment feedback site Glassdoor who have then found reviews about themselves already on there. It is actually free for companies to claim their profile on the site now and hopefully this will help in some way to raise awareness of social proof in the recruiting world. This is very important stuff as I passionately believe that if an employer can find a way to incorporate authentic social proof into their talent attraction activity their quality of hire will increase.

So if you are an employer what should you do? For most larger organisations embracing this kind of approach will be an internal stakeholder filled political nightmare but just because it is difficult it doesn't mean it isn't important. Starting off by taking a few simple steps might well provide some internal case study material, so why not:

Claim your Glassdoor profile
Encourage your employees to write reviews
Link to these reviews from your corporate site

Even something this simple might be a step too far for some and many organisations fear bad reviews if they have been downsizing etc. If you're in this camp then perhaps you should read this string, the Pandora's box of social proof is open and people are going to write about their work experience whether you like it or not. You're not going to beat them so I would suggest that you don't just join them you actually encourage them, that might be just the kind of openness your next potential great hire is looking for in their job hunt