A few weeks ago, I attended the Spring 2011 ERE Conference and Expo in San Diego, which was an excellent experience. I for one am not a recruiter by trade, and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to spend time with recruiters over the past few years. Personally, I take more enjoyment from the strategy development aspect of talent acquisition – so it was great to hear about this discipline of HR from their point of view in the trenches from a level I do not typically get too involved in.
I want to touch on one idea that was brought up throughout the conference, the idea of “Recruitment 3.0.” Keynote speaker Matthew Jeffery made the point that the days of “lazy recruiters” are essentially over. One cannot simply just post an opening on a job board anymore and wait for that perfect candidate to apply at that exact moment. Organizations need to actively engage passive candidates online through various forms of employment branding & interaction while providing an authentic and open transparent insight into the company culture and environment.
How does an organization begin to do this? Many strategies were shared throughout the sessions, but the overall goal is the same: build an emotional connection with your audience, and humanize the experience to make it as authentic as possible. Some companies accomplish this through the use of employee run blogs – which include their unique stories and maybe pictures from company events (official and unofficial – but of course appropriate). Videos shot by employees are another pure and unorthodox way to go about doing this. A few presenters discussed handing a flip cam to your employees, and see what (appropriate) things they can do to show off the culture. Zappos has a great example on their Insights blog. One of their employees set up a hidden camera and recorded another employee’s morning ritual of unpacking his bag for a good five minutes with some of the most random things you probably couldn’t picture in a workspace. Ok, so maybe sounds bland, but if you watch it, it is random, pretty entertaining, and worth sending to your friends – friends that could be passive candidates. Hooray virality! More importantly, it also showcases their fun culture and makes you wonder what it’s like to work there.
Another main idea was the building of comprehensive “talent communities.” By utilizing popular social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Youtube, etc., a company can communicate with and generate a user base of passive candidates. All of those options are free to create accounts on by the way, and take little time to get up and running. The content distributed from these outlets does not necessarily need to be 100% job related either. Let’s be real – seeing job posts one after the other is boring, and I likely wouldn’t go back to a site, or even share it for that matter, if that was the only content. You cannot engage talent by posting a tweet that you need a new engineer. Instead, try starting some threads about hot topics in your industry, a whitepaper you organization has put together, maybe a new technology, or maybe even something random such as “what is the weather like where you are?” If you have a few thousand people following your organization, you are likely to gain some responses which can start interactions.
Ok, that’s fine and dandy – so what’s the point? This is essentially pre-emptive sourcing. Building relationships with candidates in advance, before a position is needed. Let’s say you’ve built this active community and regularly interact with select followers. More likely than not, these followers have interest in your company, and potentially have a skill set that may be appropriate to your needs (ok, so this may be more applicable to smaller companies with unique niches). All of a sudden, your company needs engineers – as luck could have it, you already have a few relationships in place which may be worth reaching out to either as candidates, or as someone who can introduce you to some. If you provide a great user experience with interactions, show you are real humans and build that active connection – I have no doubt that it would garner more responses than if you flat out asked the internet “who knows a good software engineer?”
Mr. Jeffery is certainly correct. Despite the unemployment problem, it isn’t realistic to expect that the perfect candidate will be available and apply at that very moment. The best talent is likely already in another opportunity and not actively thinking about moving on. Give them reasons to consider it for your organization! Recruiters and HR professionals need to be much more proactive in the creativity of their sourcing efforts to be successful – and developing a user base utilizing cutting edge social media may give you the edge you need in the competition for talent.
About the Author
Joshua is a respected HR Manager & Strategist located in San Francisco, CA. He has had extensive experience in helping grow HR functions in a number of start-up environments. You can follow his regularly updated blog at: http://www.josh-in-hr.com
Copyright © 2011 Joshua Barger, All Rights Reserved.