Social Recruiting And Personalization

Social networks have the potential to act as a recruiting power-tool, it’s true.

 Social Recruiting And PersonalizationBut this can happen only if recruiters are able to harness the power of personalization, and stop thinking in terms of ‘candidates’ and instead start thinking of connecting with an ‘audience.’

First, let’s have a think about the way the internet has changed the recruitment world, even since the advent of Facebook in 2006.

Before Facebook, recruiters would ‘post and pray’, meaning they would post a job on the company website and a few jobs boards and then hope for high-caliber applicants to respond.

When professional social networking sites like LinkedIn became popular, recruiters moved to a ‘source and spray’ approach, where they identified every java programmer in the area and sent out mass emails hoping for a few hits.

Neither approach makes any sense.

Recruiters must woo not only the right candidate, but those who may not be a right fit – for now. Many applicants you reject could become a perfect fit for another opening. With that in mind, every applicant should be considered part of a larger network of talent, who you want to stay in touch with for possible future openings.

Talent attractors not talent rejecters

This will be the year of recruiters behaving less like job brokers and more like relationship-builders.

Strategically-minded recruitment professionals will spend less time trying to fill a specific vacancy and more time building talent networks. If it’s true that recruiters will be given the role of building networks for forward-looking talent needs, then we must stop thinking about candidates and clients and start thinking about audience. How will we interact with this network in a way which is interesting and engaging?

Recruiters must ask: What sort of information do job candidates seek out online? Which social networks do they use and for what purpose? How do they like to receive information? Do answers change when we consider different segments of the market, such as engineers vs. developers?

By understanding job candidates as members of an audience, recruiters will be able to develop content streams to keep in touch with candidates beyond a single job application.

The promise of personalization

First, let’s understand what personalization means. When marketers discuss personalization, they are referring to content personalization, which offers web visitors content or product recommendations based on the individual’s viewing or purchasing history.

To apply the personalization concept to recruiting:

  • Sourcing tools offer very nuanced profiles of individual candidates or groups of candidates. Ideally a recruiter can use all the details within these profiles to create a customized candidate experience. For example, if a Toronto-based statistician working in bio-tech visits your website, he or she will encounter open positions well-suited to his background location.
  • If a UX designer opts-in to receive updates from you, she will get notices of open positions and educational information which suits her profile.
  • If your organisation wants to host an event for developers in the London area, you’ll be able to ask your database to find out who should be invited, and which educational tracks you should promote to different segments of your developer database.

Personalization doesn’t have to be technology driven. Consider this example. Your company will need to hire 10 java programmers in the London office over the next 10 years, beginning in six months, so you have time to develop relationships. Your sourcing solution has divined a group of 200 high-value java programmers in the London area and 200 more across England.

How to begin? Send out an email? Pick up the phone and start dialing? If you answered yes, for shame!

This is a ripe opportunity to personalize the recruiting process for your 400 targets. Do they use social media and where are they most active? Which social network groups do they participate in? Set up listening posts to study your target candidates. Use HootSuite to build Twitter lists of cohort groups (such as java programmers at Dell) and listen for common themes and activities.

Then segment the list with an eye towards personalization. Choose segments you feel will meaningfully segregate the different cohorts, particularly in relation to what your cohorts find interesting online and develop content streams for each of these.

What drives your high-value candidates? Do your competitors’ programmers like to visit the Starbucks two blocks from their office? Place an ad on the bus-stop outside to catch their attention. Do they share an obsession with Family Guy? Live-tweet an episode and engage them. Approach them in a way which is interesting and personalized.

The goal is to treat people less like job candidates for open positions and more like members of a life-long professional community of talent – a community of which the recruiter plays an integral part.

For more on targeting social recruiting, download the ebook, The Tru Files Social Recruiting and Personalization.

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Innovation » future of business