What Do You Really Know About Social Recruiting? #recruittrends

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I was at a gathering over the holiday break recently and overheard a friend chatting with some other friends about a job opportunity. The opportunity came via a mutual friend who was not present. However, instead of people getting out their smart phones or tablets to start an employee referral through an app or syncing up on LinkedIn, our friend was told to give him a call or  grab him for lunch when he got back to town. Wha, Wha? The friend wasn’t even the hiring manager. I dare not bring that up during the gift exchange and do my “HR thing,” although I did pull him aside later and drop an idea or two. It hit me that not all industries have really taken to the some of the social recruiting trends in the employee referral space. If your company doesn’t have this on your tech plan for 2014, here are some of the reasons why you should re-consider it (or at least start working your way towards it — and getting your employees thinking that way too) .. regardless of your industry.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Simply put, great individuals tend to associate with other great people. Employee recommendations are a terrific method to take advantage of it. According to certain measurements, businesses say that about 25–27% of their new employees come via employee referrals. If one of your excellent employees, who hangs out with excellent people, happens to know someone else who possesses the technical or functional skill set you desire, then YOU’VE HIT THE BONANZA! Why not make it as simple and pleasant as possible for them to connect with and recommend members of their networks for open positions? Facilitate communication between the referrer and the referee (and potentially increase your employee referrals). While word-of-mouth advertising is still effective, it’s critical in today’s fast-paced society to provide consumers with alternatives to the traditional phone call or lunch date. It must be accessible via mobile devices and easy to reach.

Extend Your Reach

So, let’s say that your employee has a great network of great people, but the technical or functional skill set is one level removed — with many of the social employee referral sites, you are now able to extend your reach. So in my example, had the original mutual friend posted the job opportunity to his network any one of us could have reposted it to ours and given additional visibility to that opportunity, say to our friend who was at the party with us. Don’t discredit the fact that its a 2nd or 3rd level connection, while its not the same as a first level connection, its still within the network. So you may still get some of the same benefits that we just discussed. It could be someone you want to know, or maybe someone you do know that you are not connected with. Plus, going back to one of my earlier point, its convenient and fast — no waiting for someone to get back into town to explore a possible job opportunity.

Better Metrics and Integration

As a technologist, the big thing that gets me most excited (maybe I should have lead, with it) are on the geekier side. Some of my favorite benefits to call out are:  the data, the analytics, the metrics, and all integrations that you can build.  Just think of all the process efficiencies  that you could gain :). Together this information helps you build better programs, better rewards and incentives, predict better trends and pipelines, process improvements through automation—  I could go on and on into one big run on. 🙂  I won’t, but with a better understanding of your sourcing and employee patterns and needs the better plans and strategies that you can build.

Some of the mistakes that I see people make is that they want to boil the ocean. Don’t take the “go big or go home” approach. There are many great options out there at a variety of different price points — work with your HR Technologist or IT partner on requirements to find out what might be the right need for to get the right bang for your buck. When in doubt, start small with a clear defined scope (say “no” to scope creep). Maybe even start with a segment or specific role so that you can get your arms around it. Actual implementation time will vary, but depends on your requirements, complexity of your project, your existing systems, and integrations. Worried that your employees aren’t going to feel it? I wouldn’t dwell too much on that. Engaged employees want to make referrals — if its easy. Plus many of the latest options out there lend themselves to people’s need for play and have incorporated gamification aspects into them. For example employees can earn badges or compete as a top referrer. So it makes it fun and people want to participate.

Social Recruiting will be #1 in 2014.

Do you agree? 

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Andrea Devers

Andrea is an HR technologist and change management expert. She’s has built her career in global HR Compliance, HR process improvement, and shared services across all functions of HR. Connect with Andrea.

Reader Interactions


  1. RolePoint says

    This is spot on! Mobile needs to be incorporated in the referral process. As you noted, great people tend to associate themselves with like-minded individuals. Why not make it as easy as possible for them to refer solid candidates? In addition to mobile referral programs, mobile applications and text and push notifications can also help to bridge the gap between mobile and your future employees.



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