In “The New Rules of Recruiting,” authors Todd Wheatland and Zachary Misko claim that recruiting has evolved into much more than job posting and interviewing. Recruiters have to behave as the top candidates do to be able to recruit them successfully and they have to move beyond tactical thinking to recruit effectively. That means social recruiting. Millennials are shaping the future workplace, having grown up with technology and being used to using it for communication, education, entertainment, and work. Wheatland and Misko call social media the most significant disruption to recruiting. Everyone who needs to find and hire the right candidates to build their businesses and take care of their customers has to understand and participate in social recruiting.

Things Work Differently Now

The telephone, rolodex, time, and ambition were what used to drive the recruiting process. Old school recruiting factors such as being thorough and knowing your candidates, knowing how to prepare and perform interviews, and verifying candidates’ experience and background still apply. But what’s changed in recruiting and job search are the processes and the environment. Nobody is looking in the Sunday classifieds and circling help wanted ads in red pen anymore. And many recruiters aren’t giving as much weight to resumes either.

Almost all of the information used in job search and recruiting is online and easily accessible to all parties in the recruiting interaction. Information about businesses that candidates want comes from online databases, news sites, and company websites. Information about candidates that recruiters want comes from electronic communications and social media profiles and participation. There are few missed calls when people are always on with email, text messaging, and voicemail.

Employers and recruiters are more interested in understanding how candidates think and act than in what employment history they put down on paper in chronological format. And candidates are more interested in employers who have interesting and challenging opportunities in fun and rewarding work environments than in the corner office or title. Recruiters and candidates can talk to each other in person, but often do it electronically or through video. Social media is a big part of the recruiting interaction.

New Tools for Recruiting

Social recruiting requires a new set of tools. The newspaper classified employment ad has been replaced with condensed and more descriptive, personalized social media job announcements. Job descriptions are supplemented or replaced altogether with candidate personas describing the type of characteristics of the ideal candidate rather than the requirements of the job. Recruiters and candidates can interact through a variety of social media platforms that didn’t exist 10 years ago, in as little as 140 characters.

Until recently, employers and recruiters limited their forays into social media to LinkedIn. Now they use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google Plus to not only source candidates, but to actively engage them with stories, photos, videos, and events. And more recruiting social media platforms are being developed every day, for general and specific social recruiting purposes. There are social recruiting technologies to find and qualify different types of IT candidates and sales professionals, for instance. Employers and recruiters must use these tools to source and engage top talent, or settle for a second-tier workforce.

The last 11 years, since LinkedIn launched in May 2003, have seen the rise of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in rapid succession – 2004, 2005, and 2006 respectively. Others quickly followed: Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, and Vine, and more are coming up right behind them, like Snapchat. This is where the millennial candidates spend their time, and they are pulling the Baby Boomers and Gen X right along with them.

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Accessories for Social Recruiting

The rise of social media and online technologies in recruiting has increased the candidate volume substantially, leaving recruiters and hiring managers needing a fast, efficient way to screen and qualify candidates. An applicant tracking system is almost a requirement for recruiting now. Recruiters must have a way to process and sort resumes and the information that comes with them. An ATS will most likely have social recruiting integration for easy candidate sourcing and filtering, posting and contacting, and other effective social recruiting activities such as employee referrals.

Video interviewing is a recruiting factor that’s evolving right along with social recruiting. Web cams and smart phones with photo and video capability as well as affordable digital video cameras and good video interviewing software and services have made video interviewing a good way to cut recruiting expenses. Companies like HireVue and InterviewStream are paving the way in the video interviewing space.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey polled 1,600 participants in 50 different industries about their social recruiting participation and methods. The survey showed that the trend toward social media and marketing tactics for recruiting has high value for recruiters and employers, and almost universal adoption. Survey participants reported that while social recruiting saves money, its real value is in extending recruiters’ reach to more qualified passive candidates and referrals.

The survey showed LinkedIn is still the most-used social media platform for recruiting, used by 94 percent of recruiters and employers. Facebook is the second most-used platform at 65 percent, with Twitter a close third at 55 percent. Most recruiters are using LinkedIn to search for candidates and Facebook and Twitter to showcase their employer brands. They use LinkedIn to verify professional experience, length of professional tenure, and specific hard skills, and Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to determine cultural fit and industry participation and activity. Attributes that employers and recruiters react positively to when seen on social channels include volunteering and donating to charity. Things they don’t like to see in a candidate’s social media presence include posts or shares about alcohol or illegal drug use, anything of a sexual nature, profanity, bad grammar and spelling, and references to guns.

If you want or need this kind of insight into candidates, you need to use social recruiting. In the 11 years since LinkedIn hit the recruiting scene, social media has changed the way employers and recruiters find and hire employees, as well as changing the way candidates search for jobs and research prospective employers. It has cut through the bigger obstacles in the traditional recruiting process reducing time to hire and cost of hire while improving quality of hire. These kinds of efficiencies are hard to ignore, and recruiters who ignore social recruiting do will get left behind.

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