Jessica Lee, a senior employment manager with APCO Worldwide, is among the dozens of great presenters at ERE’s #socialrecruiting summit in New York on Nov. 16, which is our featured event this month. SmartBrief on Workforce Senior Editor Mary Ellen Slayter recently spoke with Jessica about how employers can use social media to attract the best workers more efficiently and effectively. An edited transcript of that conversation follows.
MARY ELLEN Many people look at social media and see nothing but a time and money sink. But you were able to deploy a social recruiting strategy for APCO Worldwide on a limited budget. How?
JESSICA: The fact that there may be hard costs associated with using social media to recruit is probably one of the biggest myths. The only cost involved is an investment of time. Besides that, you just need to have a willingness to experiment and comfort with the level of accessibility job seekers may have to you — and that’s really all that was involved when I decided to dip my toes in on behalf of APCO. I didn’t have a strategic plan or a roadmap, I didn’t have any ideas on how to track success. It was completely a process of trial and error and learning along the way. And we’re still learning.
What is the biggest mistake you see HR departments make in establishing a recruiting presence on social networks?
The biggest mistake I’ve seen in HR or recruiting folks who are trying to get involved in social recruiting is that they are not being social enough. Social media is great for getting the word out about job openings and your organization’s culture –- but you can’t just get the word out and expect results. You have to work to build relationships with people on social networks and have conversations where there are actual exchanges, which means that you have to stop and listen.
How does adopting social media affect traditional recruiting? Does it replace it? Or supplement it?
Social media channels are just additional tools for people to recruit from, still using traditional methods if that makes sense. A great way to look at social networks is as gigantic candidate pools. Where recruiters may have sourced candidates previously via job boards, they can now source them via social networks. Where organizations may have advertised previously on the Web or in print to enhance their employment brand, they can now do the same thing but in a more conversational tone via social networks. We’re using the same methods and at the core, using the same messages just different channels. And rather than broadcasting where the flow of information one-way, it’s now a two-way stream full of rich dialogue.