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Tue, Sep 21, 2010

Ideas & Trends

HR and Recruiting Pros: Sitting on the Social Media Sidelines?

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More than 1400 HR professionals recently gathered at the annual HR Florida local SHRM chapter event in Orlando, Florida, while hundreds of recruiters descended upon OnRec in Chicago this past week.  Having attended both events, one dominant theme resonated with each of these audiences: HR practitioners and recruiters alike continue to wrestle with the concept of social media.

Why does social media engagement pose such angina for many in the HR and recruiting industries?

The HR Florida crowd appeared to be divided into two groups: those who are still questioning the value of social media and those who would like to engage but are absolutely terrified and don’t know where to start.

Fast forward to last week’s OnRec event where attendees, comprised primarily of recruiters, were literally hearing about the value of SEO, trends in mobile, and DM’s on Twitter for the very first time.

The Top 5 Reasons HR Pros and Recruiters Hesitate To Engage in Social Media

1) Fear of losing control

2) Concerns about how to measure

3) Fear of reduced productivity

4) Concerns about how to staff resources

5) How to keep it personal while engaging on a very public and massive scale

HR pros and recruiters appear to be stuck back in 2008, in the hunter/gatherer phase.  They attend sessions and panel discussions, but for a variety of reasons ranging from failure to get senior management on board, to legal restrictions, many are still asking questions rather than executing social strategies.  Recruiter, blogger and social media enthusiast Jennifer McClure reported on this fear from the annual SHRM National Conference in June.

If 2008 was the hunter/gatherer phase, 2009 was the toe-dipping phase, where companies began to test drive within social, developing strategies and objectives to participate on several levels including customer service, recruiting, brand awareness, PR and goodwill.

In 2010, we began to see more brands diving deeper into social engagement, where the focus turned to finding resources to sustain engagement, measuring and monitoring, determining ROI and success metrics, and developing and introducing social media guidelines to give employees the ability to engage on behalf of their companies.

Even the most diehard skeptics began to see the light, accepting the fact that social media is not a fad; it’s a trend, changing how we communicate and how we do business. [Fact: Monster has had more than 1,000 social media related jobs posted by a vast array of companies over the past 30 days].

What’s next in 2011?

Who owns social media content, connections, and relationships when an employee leaves the company? How do non-competes play out in social networking? The legal aspects of social media will be the next big thing, particularly once precedent-setting cases begin to surface in court.

Note to current law students: social media law could be a good career move.  Yet instead of prepping their game plan for the next big wave of social media hot button topics, many HR pros and recruiters are still sitting on the sidelines, stuck back in 2008.

Interestingly, while attending the social media focused sessions at both HR Florida and OnRec, where Tweeting was encouraged by the session leaders, 90%of the attendees at both events came armed with notebooks, jotting down advice the old-fashioned way.

Many of the hunter/gatherers couldn’t write fast enough, hanging on the every word of HR Florida presenters like Shannon Seery Gude and Jenny DeVaughn of the Bernard Hodes group, and Jennifer Merrell Miller, author of “Tweet This.” At OnRec, recruiters crowd-sourced a session led by our own Eric Winegardner, along with HR technology strategist Sarah White and Marie Artim, VP of Global Recruiting for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, discussing the power of social media, and packed into sessions led by talent acquisition consultant Shally Sherkel and Jason Warner of Intellectual Ventures, to hear the latest in social recruiting trends, realities and challenges.

One of the most popular HR Florida sessions included Bloggers Steve Boese (HR Happy Hour) and Trish McFarlane (HR Ringleader and Women of HR) who participated in a social media panel discussion along with bloggers Mark Stelzner, William Tincup and Franny Oxford, moderated by Michael VanDevort. The session was clearly designed to show HR pros the benefits of engaging in social.

Despite the case studies and the quality and quantity of information being shared, based on the questions coming from both the HR Florida and OnRec audiences, many of these folks are stuck in neutral and will need more convincing, more encouragement, and more proof before moving into first gear.

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  • http://www.pkjobs.pk/ Jobs in Pakistan

    Well Kathy there is nothing that does not have pros and does not have cons as well :) . Nothing can stop the idea who’s time has come. Hesitations would not get the them any where, they can be benefited as much they like from the social media and can decide finally as per their way.


  • http://www.steveboese.squarespace.com Steve Boese

    Kathy – very nice review and analysis of these events. I do agree that, at least at the HR Florida event, many of the questions were indicative of a cautionary approach and even perhaps a bit of fear of the unknown. But as you point out, the inclusion of the numerous sessions and panels on the social media topic will certainly help to encourage more professionals to further their expertise and to help jump start their efforts.

  • http://hrringleader.com Trish McFarlane

    Your observations are spot on at events and in HR departments nation-wide. Like anything, it will take a bit of time to filter through the masses and become acceptable. I think the issue is that HR typically has the role of risk minimizer in an organization and this is one area that seems REALLY risky. However, HR pros and recruiters will have to see that if they are not proactive in learning about it, the long-term risk is that they will be left behind, their organizations will be left behind, and they may ultimately lose their job to HR pros who can embrace it and use it in a positive way. Great post!

  • http://www.lisaverde.com Lisa Verde

    At minimum, everyone should be curious about social media and the impact on recruiting productivity. Until you actually TRY it, can you truly understand the value of applying social media networking principles to the recruiting model? For some it may be lead generation and sourcing. For others, it may be competitive analysis or monitoring industry trends. Knowledge is power and if we’re to get ahead in our professions, we have to be diligent about learning the tools that are available – and how to best use them to further our cause.

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  • http://interns.smashfly.com/ Tim Martinez

    Nice post, Kathy! I’m so surprised that so much hesitancy still exists on the part of recruiters to utilize social media, but I can definitely understand how the initial decision to start the campaign could get bogged down in discussion. Also, I’m sure many recruiters and companies still wonder how they will effectively measure the success of their social recruiting campaigns. However, as you briefly mentioned, companies can collect metrics on their social media campaigns now – including real-time metrics that allow them to monitor and maneuver their recruitment marketing strategies with more ease from a single platform. Those tools would instantly tell recruiters if joining the web 2.0 trend would actually work for them.