Mar 16, 2010

HR, Recruiting and Social Media

A friend asked me some questions on doing Recruiting through Social Media. Here's what I answered:

1. What is the web2.0 (pl explain in the simplest terms!) and which of these can be used by the Staffing team of the company?

Web2.0 is the collective name for a lot of technologies by which people can interact with other people (and organizations) on the web, publicly and in a transparent manner. It can include forums, blogs, twitter, linkedin, facebook, orkut etc.

We believe that Social technologies help people connect around some Core Dynamics - Content Generation, Conversations, Collaborating together, Community Formation and Collective Intelligence. Different functionalities enable users to connect differently

2. How widespread is the use of the web2.0 for finding top talent ? (can you give examples of companies who are doing this?) For instance, are there companies who are using Twitter to keep in touch with the campus crowd?)

The first question the recruiter needs to answer is - who is my top talent and what is he/she interested in? Primarily there are interested in the content and knowledge component of the job. Followed by organizational culture and the mechanics of the job. The recruiting firm needs to reach out to the community where top talent is likely to be present and present the above - by way of blog posts, youtube videos, pictures and discussion forums.

An example of a recruiter using Twitter is Christa Foley [@electra] of She gives followers an inside look into her career at Zappos. She tweets out examples of negative recruiting interactions with potential clients, outreach she does with high school and college students, and ultimately looks for potential Zappos candidates.

A different example From HBR Blogs on how Best Buy tweeted an opening and then changed it based on feedback from the community:
Consider what happened at Best Buy when they posted a job description for a position as Senior er of Emerging Media Marketing. The qualifications included one year of active blogging experience, a preferred graduate degree, and 250+ followers on Twitter. Yes that's right: the number of followers you have on Twitter is now finding its way into a job description. This led to internal commentary, and spawned a number of blog posts and dozens of re-tweets and conversations.

What happened next is an indication of the future direction of recruiting: in listening to these conversations, Best Buy decided that the community had other ideas — and good ones — for how this job description should look, and what the qualifications should be. As a result, the job description was crowdsourced, and anyone with an interest was invited to post qualifications to the job role on Idea X, a forum for Best Buy customers and employees. The final job description spoke to the traits of the social media revolution we are all experiencing: humor, collaboration and authenticity.

3. What are the simple ways for companies to start using the web2.0 to connect with top talent?

Here's some things that EMC has done using social media
External employment branding - encourages bloggers to act as organic brand ambassadors
EMC Careers on YouTube - Twitter - Facebook - Wordpress - LinkedIn
Help Save Nick Glasgow – a social media campaign to save an employee suffering from cancer

Microsoft has Microspotting - An HR and recruitment focused community platform

-Twitter becomes a great medium to share news and information with people who choose to follow you – and making it relevant for their use. On a different note advertising using Google Adwords is a great way for reaching out to people interested.

- Making a Facebook page and Orkut community are other tools that businesses can do to engage talented candidates in conversation.

My view is that someone in the Marketing/Recruiting function needs to take a “Talent Community Manager” role to drive these initiatives – and to get others internally in the organization to get engaged with the candidate community. This community manager needs to have a mindset of open and honest collaboration and organizations must be clear about what objectives they expect from her/him and therefore what metrics to track to check his/her performance.

Social Media can be used as a channel to keeping candidates enagegd between the time they are handed the offer letters to the time they are on-boarded.

I think soon companies will collate all these efforts into a community that they will own - and which will have representation on social networks and blogs.