Thu, Oct 14, 2010
All sizzle, no steak. With much of the discussion centering on authenticity and transparency when communicating using social media and social networking for recruiting, it might seem as though the standard to connect with prospective candidates is unattainable. A recent New York Times article entitled, “I Tweet, Therefore I am” suggests that individuals are already using social media to create a heavily stylized view of their personal identity.
You know the people who only tweet about the awesome parties they attend or those whose days seem to be filled with long walks along the beach…even in the middle of a snow storm. Employers should resist falling into this counter-productive trap when recruiting talent using social media.
The emerging social media landscape favors those organizations that know and are skilled at sharing what they stand for from a variety of different perspectives. Given the real-time nature of communication, the demand for fresh insight makes it impossible to run every blog post, tweet, status update, or YouTube video through the standard corporate approval process. In addition, the scale necessary to create the digital footprint required for a credible social recruiting presence requires the participation of the entire organization. As a result, companies are forced to remove many of the filters that often slow the transmission of information and rely on employees who don’t live and breathe recruiting every day.
On the other side, prospective candidates (the ones you are trying to attract) are constantly filtering through this information to determine whether or not your company is a good fit. They are checking your communication against the archived information that is available about your company for consistency. If everything does not add up, people will not hesitate to earn some social capital at your expense by publicly calling your company out for its transgressions.
In short, the bar for a company using social media is much higher than that of an individual using the social web to weave together an idealized personal brand.
For employers that are thinking that a manufactured version of your employment brand is the key to success, it is not. It is far too difficult to maintain an idealized version of your company. Besides, it won’t help your organization get any closer to your ultimate goal; hiring best-fit talent.
The scale necessary to effectively communicate with prospective candidates requires that employees throughout the organization take an active role in recruiting the next generation of talent. Due to the inability to filter information communicated to prospective candidates, your unique value proposition will be lost in a jumble of buzzwords and corporate speak if you attempt to tell employees exactly what they should say in conversations. If prospective candidates do not know what you stand for or think that interactions have been scripted, they will be reluctant to pursue opportunities at your organization.
In addition, the costs to your organization may increase as precious resources are spent focusing on candidates who do not fit your company culture. If hired, these employees may lower productivity and could wreak havoc on your organizational effectiveness.
While some employers will revel in the chance to share a complete view of their organization, there are others who are worried about the challenges this increased transparency will create.
Instead of anxiety, using social media to communicate your unique value proposition should be viewed as an amazing opportunity. The ability for this emerging channel to create an all-encompassing view of your organization by combining the perspective of: recruiters, hiring managers, senior leadership and employees in various departments will help your company better attract, recruit, and retain best-fit talent. Social media offers an amazing platform to tell your story.
To best take advantage of this opportunity, one of the first things your company should do is understand why employees are attracted to and ultimately select your organization in the first place. One of the best ways to do this is collect data from current employees. See if employees share the same views of the company that are typically communicated to prospective candidates for why they should join. If there are gaps, dig deeper into the data to understand why before you begin to communicate your unique value proposition using social media.
Organizations don’t need to be perfect in order to use social media and social networking to recruit best-fit talent. In fact, candidates aren’t expecting that. Instead, they are looking to gather accurate information from credible sources to be used in their individual assessment of company fit.
Companies that try to present an image that they know is not true will find out that bad things can happen when keeping it ‘real’ goes wrong.