When Will We Stop Talking About Social Recruiting?

social recruiting shut upSocial technology has had a huge impact on the enterprise. From the way we do business to the way we find business – it’s changed many things.In recruiting, it’s changed the way we source talent, the way we assess candidates, not to mention the way candidates assess us.

There are still many organizations only dabbling in social recruiting. In fact, as noted in my recently published State of Talent Acquisition 2014 report, only about 7% of organizations have a formal strategy with clear goals and KPIs. Perhaps this is why there are so many blogs, webinars, and even entire conferences dedicated to educating folks on tactics and key practices.People clearly need help.

One question has been running through my mind for the last year or two: When will it end?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think the Facebooks or the Twitters or the Tumblrs of the world will be going anywhere anytime soon. Frankly, few things excite me so much as the myriad opportunities we have to continue innovating in talent acquisition through the catalyst that is social.

What I want to know, however, is when social talent acquisition, social recruiting, et cetera will become just plain, old talent acquisition in our minds. Five years? 10? 20? Something tells me it’ll be quite a while.

Case in point is a call I had last week with the recruiting product lead from one of the world’s largest enterprise solution providers. We talked for nearly an hour about the features and functionality needed to both support and drive a more social-enabled, collaborative talent acquisition process. Being Grade A nerds, we had plenty of ideas – surprisingly few of them far-fetched. But as soon as we ended the call, I kept thinking about my survey, about the 7%.

I realized that less than 1 in 10 organizations – those with formal social strategies in place – were likely to find any value in any of the ideas we’d spent the last hour discussing.

A rather sobering thought.

You see, what I didn’t tell you earlier is that while 7% of organizations have clear goals and KPIs for social recruiting, 43% of companies are using social technology on an ad hoc basis with no strategy in place. That means almost half of recruiters are using social with zero oversight, no rules, no regulation. As if that weren’t enough of a reality check, 24% aren’t using social at all.

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest goings-on in talent acquisition, to lose yourself in the various use cases for advanced talent analytics or the business impact of recruitment marketing. While these things make for interesting conversation up in the ivory tower, however, I think it may be time to rein things in a bit – lest we render ourselves irrelevant to the masses.

We’ve got a while before social (and mobile and video and…) is so ingrained in hiring practices that people stop talking about it. Getting social more deeply integrated into the technology we use to source, assess, and onboard will help, but I think the bigger challenge is establishing key practices and tenets of mature social process. That’s where I come in.

76% of companies are using social in talent acquisition to one extent or another, and I want to know how. More than that, I want to know what’s holding the remaining 24% back. In the coming months, I’ll be investigating tactics, programs, and strategies for social talent acquisition to get an idea of when we can move past all the talk and start discussing the next “big thing.”

Stay tuned.

 See more at Talent Acquisition Today

Kyle Lagunas-9
About the Author: 
As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle Lagunas heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding – as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting.

Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today’s business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent.

Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead.

Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM’s We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleLagunas or connect with him on LinkedIn.

  • dfraser11

    Kyle, I am a representative of the 24% you are referring to and I own a recruiting company that specializes in IT Recruiting. I can only speak for myself, but I think we are behind the 8 ball in social recruiting mainly because of my personal old school mentality. I learned to recruit/headhunt in the early 90's and it was pretty much beat into my head that my success is based on making phone calls. I have also beat that into the head of all rookie recruiters I have trained since that time.

    Even today as I am embracing the social networking tools I still think a phone call and personal verbal communication is extremely beneficial if not essential. I think the social tools definitely have a place, could it be that a hybrid type approach will be the solution?

    I am very passionate about technology and it's practical application to solve many recruiting challenges. I also think social recruiting is a bus that I have missed. I am now working hard to get caught up hence becoming a new blogger. My reasons for missing the social recruiting are strictly personal as I had not even been a Facebook user until recently. Though I have used LinkedIn since 2004 but not as aggressively as I am using it now.

    That is my 2 cents as one of the new comers to social recruiting. Here is an interesting point though, Our company has been the #1 IT Recruiter for a high profile client here in town. This company has experienced unprecedented growth and is a top 100 company to work for. There were at least 12 vendors at any one time working on the jobs. I can't say whether or not the competition utilized social recruiting tools, but I know we are behind in that area yet we were the top provider in all areas, # of hires by vendor, submit to interview and hire ratios etc… I am saying this as someone who wants to use social networking tools more but this stumps me. What are your thoughts about this?

  • Kyle Lagunas

    Great points all around, sir. I think this is a great example of how certain recruiting conversations are different for third-party/agency recruiters and corporate recruiters. Social recruiting certainly isn't the end-all-be-all for either party, but it's certainly proved to be a useful medium for certain elements of corporate recruiting strategy. Social media is a great channel for broadcasting opportunities and lightweight candidate engagement – but not always the best channel for directly sourcing candidates (which is probably why it's not as valuable for third-party recruiters).

    NPR's social media campaign is a great example of the value-add for corporate recruiting strategy: NPR employees are encouraged to share their NPR experiences on the social web and tag it with #lifeatNPR. Since launching the campaign, Twitter has become one of their top sources for candidates (#3, I believe) – saving them thousands of dollars in sourcing spend a year. Not only does #lifeatNPR give candidates a look inside the organization, it's also added an organic element to NPR's employer brand.

    For an agency recruiter, I can see sourcing on LinkedIn to be a more valuable use of time than sourcing on LinkedIn or even Facebook. LinkedIn's search capabilities are just more conducive to candidate sourcing than even Facebook's graph search (which I'm still wrapping my head around).

    I'm curious, though: Is there value in employer branding/recruitment marketing through social media for a recruiter who's working with multiple companies at any given time? Is candidate sourcing the only valuable use case for social for third-party recruiters?

  • nice to see this post

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