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Could going social be the key to your next hire?

Could going social be the key to your next hire

Figures show that 92 per cent of businesses use social media when hiring new staff. But is it a viable way for SMBs to build their workforce? With platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn now driving so many of our daily interactions, it definitely makes sense to add social media to your recruiting toolbox.

How can it be used?

If you plan to start hiring immediately, social media can be just as effective as traditional recruitment channels such as job boards and agencies. Most social sites integrate paid advertising into their platforms, which can be used to promote job openings to the site’s users.

The real power of social media, however, is in its ability to deliver your message to a large audience for little or no cost once you’ve built a social presence. You can use it to contact potential hires through crowdsourcing, research a candidate’s background and suitability, and reach out to passive candidates who are open to new career opportunities.

What are the benefits?

A clear benefit of social recruitment is lower cost, which can be as little as the time taken to write a post canvassing for candidates. Social recruitment can also be used to:

  • Improve the quality of your hires: You can use it to find candidates who better align with your core business values, and to strike up relationships with them before you start the formal hiring process.
  • Target niche staff: Discussion groups, hashtags, extracurricular activities and other qualifiers enable you to more closely match potential candidates to job vacancies. If you have the budget, social media advertising can do at least some of this matching for you.
  • Provide access to untapped talent: There will always be social media users who are seeking a better salary, professional advancement and a better work-life balance. Reaching out to these passive candidates can be a powerful way to fill your talent pipeline.

Choosing a platform

LinkedIn is frequently touted as the leading social network for professionals. It offers rich profiles, industry-specific discussion forums, targeted job postings and a publishing platform that allows users to share their professional expertise in a range of formats.

It can also be worth tapping into networks such as Facebook and Twitter, which together host more than 1.7 billion active users a month. For example, Twitter can be useful for sharing content that will showcase your company’s brand. Facebook can help you to get to know candidates on a more personal level, and with so many active users on the site, it can also be a great source for referrals.

Developing a strategy

When recruiting via social media, it’s important to know your expected outcomes and have a plan in place for achieving them. Your social recruitment strategy should include the following steps.

1. Define an audience

Who are you targeting? This will help determine what to put in your company profile, and to narrow down the social networks and groups where your most suitable candidate is most likely to be.

2. Set goals

Are you planning to increase awareness of your business? Or actively reach out to potential hires? Also think about the measurable benefits you want, such as increased productivity or reduced costs.

3. Plan your content

Make sure your content – blog posts, SlideShares, infographics, etc. – are aligned with your overall branding and the type of person you want to attract. Social media is really about conversations, so be sure to outline a plan for engaging with potential candidates.

4. Monitor your progress

Measure social metrics such as clicks, shares and mentions – and compare them with desired results such as volume and quality of applications – to assess and tweak your social hiring strategy.

With social media supplanting older channels such as print, email and phone calls, adding it to your recruitment mix may significantly reduce time to hire, improve candidate quality and increase referrals.

Social media can also affect your relationships with existing employees. Find out how to develop an effective social media strategy for your business.

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