Power of Social Media Listening for Employers & Recruitment


Check out part 1 of our social recruiting series by clicking here

Social media is but one tool in a company’s tool belt when it comes engaging, relating and learning about candidates as well as employees. Because of curiosity  excitement or lack of strategy, employers jump into the world of social media too soon. While I’m a fan of securing your employment brand by creating a Twitter or Facebook account, it doesn’t mean you should just dive in. One must first research, learn, absorb and plan a strategy, and that starts with social listening.

The Power of Social Media Listening for Employers

Unfortunately, I’ve found that most employers and senior leaders including HR and operations don’t understand how much information is actually available on the internet. Last week while attending the HRO Today Forum, I watched Matt Charney give a brief demo of how a much information is available using a free tool like Spokeo.com combined with the power social media platform’s Twitter and LinkedIn. The air sucked out of the room as conference attendees gasped once they realized that information like your home address, personal phone number and email address is available easily online. When it comes to the internet, nothing is really safe and true privacy no longer exists. The idea while terrifying for myself is only intensified by the fact that I’m a mom a to a 4 year old. These tools, however, can also be used as part of your social recruiting strategy. Understanding that fact is where the power of social listening for employers really comes into play. Somes a little shock like Matt’s drives business leaders to this reality.


When looking at the Hire-archy of Social Recruiting (see above), the foundation to leveraging social media for recruiting starts with Social Listening. Listening comes in the form of many, many things:

  • Putting Your Ear to the Internet. This means following Twitter hash tags, reading blogs and understanding the fundamentals of how marketers, recruiters, and businesses are using social media. Questions to ask include how social media is impacting employment law, understanding the NLRB and social media discrimination as well as how different employers are using mobile to reach employees and job seekers differently. And more importantly, what exactly is Spokeo? That’s a question for @mattcharney.
  • Social Monitoring. Chances are your marketing team is already monitoring customer engagement when it comes to social media. If not, considering leveraging a social listening platforms like Radian6 or Vocus to help you monitor conversations across channels going beyond Twitter to sites like Reddit, Tumblr and industry chat rooms and forums. You must develop a PR and HR social media crisis strategy before an employee publishes or posts something. Not sure you understand what I mean, click here to see how one waitress’ photo or a customer’s receipt hurt Applebee’s along with a running laundry list of others.
  • Engaging a Subject Matter Expert. It’s important to work with someone who can help guide and consult you down the right path whether internally or with a consultant like me. This person must be experienced and senior level who understands that while important, social media is not the only way. Social media is just another channel to reach your candidate base leading to quality candidates who perform well and turnover less. This key is the name of the recruiting and employment life cycle game. They key is working with someone before rather than after you dive into social media and recruitment.
  • Conducting a SWOT Analysis. Understanding the competition as well as where your own strengths, weaknesses and opportunities lie. Where are you lacking in terms of engaging candidates or your employees and how can social media help you develop a relationship or grab their attention in a casual and strategy way. 

Your candidate pool and employe population is sharing their opinions, thoughts and experiences in real time. The question is are you listening?

Check out part 1 of our social recruiting series by clicking here or continue with part 3 of this series by clicking here.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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