Wed, Dec 21, 2011
As 2011 winds down, some of my professional colleagues and I were discussing some of the most exciting topics in the HR and recruitment industry.
The hottest topics – and biggest buzz – focused primarily on social media and technology, which has emerged as one of the most exciting topics not only of this year, but pretty much this entire decade. It seems like every other conversation we have about ideas and innovations in HR somehow involves talent communities, or mobile recruiting, talent management apps, semantic searching…you get the idea.
Breaking down these trends, however, we realized that no matter what tool, these topics all revolve around talent - the talent we have, the talent we want and, perhaps most importantly, the marketing we need to attract top talent.
Social Media has really been something of a game-changer for human resources.
“ Social HR is no different than having an employee suggestion box or focus group meetings with staff. With it, we listen, engage, and use it as a tool to aid in facilitating conversations. Social helps us in our talent marketing programs to create a value-based relationship.”
Talent acquisition is no longer just-in-time, with the hiring cycle shifting from filling jobs to developing relationships. Social media, and by extension, talent marketing, are crucial to this relationship building with our colleagues, candidates and clients.
While the core components of talent marketing programs vary widely based on a respective employers’ talent needs and desired outcomes, there are some universal best practices for recruitment advertising success. For Miller-Merrell, successful talent marketing starts with a company blog.
“Think of it as the center of the universe, like the Sun,” she says. “The different planets serve as channels to deliver that message; allowing your audience to explore and learn more about your company, your culture, and job opportunities.”
Carrie Corbin, Associate Director of Strategic Staffing & Talent Attraction for AT&T, takes a slightly different approach. AT&T’s talent marketing strategy uses its award-winning career site as the “hub” for recruitment advertising and employer branding initiatives.
This portal is complimented with a proprietary “Talent Network” which allows candidates to opt-in to career related news and job alerts from AT&T.
Those efforts have led to a variety of accolades for AT&T, including the 2011 ERE Recruiting Excellence Award for Best Corporate Careers site, along with multiple ERE Creative Excellence awards for their groundbreaking use of mobile technology, augmented reality and Talent Network.
According to Corbin, AT&T’s recruiting strategy is managed across multiple platforms, including web, social networks, video, e-mail and mobile marketing, which work together to facilitate membership, communication and delivery.
Unlike Miller-Merrell’s strategy, which centers on blogs, Corbin’s team has implemented a program whose multiple channels focus on achieving a single goal: improving candidate experience.
This is achieved by providing reams of relevant information about the company, careers and culture while enabling engagement and driving candidates to their careers site where they can be converted into applicants – and, ultimately, a successful, qualified, quality hire.
Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of HR Technology focused on creating the kind of candidate experience that job seekers expect – and deserve. It’s no longer enough to throw up a WordPress blog, cut and paste some generic resume or interview content and link to it on all your job descriptions.
And yes, when it comes to talent marketing, “there’s an app for that.“ Thousands of them, in fact.
Of course, technology is expensive, and with so many options out there on the market, there’s no definitive playbook or strategy for how and what platforms and tools to use – or how effective those options may be.
That requires an openness to experimentation, the willingness to make choices and the ability to take chances.
All of these unknown or unproven variables have created something of an enigma around talent marketing, and perhaps that aura of mystery, and the siren song of social seduction, is why it’s creating conversations that are, well, pretty ‘sexy,’ to use Miller-Merrell’s term.
She notes, “Sexy HR means being noticed and taking chances. Using different channels of communication to get your message across. Sending signals much like men and women do to establish their sex appeal.”
Sending the right ‘signals’ to attract the right candidates also creates a tangible shift in perceptions. It’s no longer about broadcasting “We have a job, now apply so we can choose the candidates we want.”
Rather, it’s about marketing, with employers responsible not only for advertising open jobs, but also the intangible, yet indispensable, elements that go into creating a cohesive employment brand, like culture, community and career development.
Recruitment has evolved from selling candidates a job to selling them a lifestyle.
Of course, not every candidate wants to openly engage and interact with employers, and companies must exercise caution when employing their talent marketing strategies.
Corbin points out that like any relationship, social connections are “a two way street. If there’s a bad date, it’s the employer who’s ultimately responsible for the check.”
As Corbin suggests, community and conversation must also be compliant; the burden of proof lies squarely with the employer, who must prove, even if they never so much as looked at a candidates’ social profile, that they didn’t discriminate.
This has always been a complex challenge, but an even more daunting one given the profusion of online platforms and social tools.
“There is simply too much personal information available online,” says Corbin. “When that much information is available about job seekers, when we go poking around in their personal space, whether public or not, we are creating an opportunity for liability and general risk.”
There are, however, several technologies, such as BeKnown from Monster, which provide a solution for job seekers and employers alike by giving users the ability to link their social networks to a single, cloud-enabled platform, creating a profile that highlights all relevant professional information while leaving personal profiles private.
As Corbin suggests, these functionalities are “the direction for social recruiting to allow recruiters to still go where the job seekers are without opening themselves and their organizations up to the risk associated with so much publicly available personal information.”
So just what, exactly, does your organization need to do to build a successful talent marketing program in today’s world of work?
Tonight’s #TNL conversation will focus on social media, HR technology, online employment branding and how these various elements work together to create meaningful talent marketing.
Join #TNL co-hosts Matt Charney, Crystal Miller and special guests Jessica Miller-Merrell and Carrie Corbin tonight at 8:15 PM ET/5:15 PM PT as we discuss “How Talent Marketing is Bringing Sexy Back to HR” by using the #TNL hash-tag on Twitter or through our Focus-powered Radio App.
Check out these questions and join the talent marketing conversation:
Q1. In 140 characters, what do you think has been social media’s biggest HR benefit?
Q2. Why should companies invest in a social HR program if they’ve not already? How do you get business buy-in?
Q3. If you were creating a talent marketing program from scratch, where would you start?
Q4. What role do social media, mobile, and HR technology play in creating a ‘sexy’ talent marketing program?
Q5. What other trends in HR Technology are you seeing, and how are those impacting talent marketing?
Q6. What needs aren’t being met in the current talent technology and marketing marketplace? What could existing offerings do better? Who’s getting it right?
Monster is proud to support TalentNet Live (#TNL), a community for talent managers and human capital leaders featuring some of the brightest minds and biggest innovations in the HR industry dedicated to continuing the conversation – and learning – for practitioners around topics like social media, social recruiting and HR training.