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Tue, Apr 3, 2012

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#SHRM12 Preview: A Q&A with Oracle’s Steve Boese on Social Recruiting

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The annual conference for the Society for Human Resource Management is being held in Atlanta this year, June 24-27. Among the sessions I’m looking forward to attending: “Is Social Recruiting Really Working?” with Jeremy Langhans, program manager for global brand and talent attraction at Expedia; John Sumser, CEO of HRExaminer.com; Robert Hohman, CEO and co-founder of Glassdoor; and Steve Boese, director of talent management strategy at Oracle. I recent spoke to Steve about how social media has — and hasn’t changed — the fundamentals of recruiting.

Do you think social media has changed recruiting? If so, how?

I think social media and social networking are starting to change recruiting, just as it has changed marketing, PR, communications, sales, etc. Once the social networking platforms went mainstream, (Facebook opening to more than just college students, Twitter rising in popularity beyond the tech crowd), it became only a matter of time before corporate and independent recruiters began to look for opportunities to exploit these platforms to find talent, advertise openings, and build the employment brand.

Looking a bit deeper, there has been a recent emergence of tools that help to augment or supplement traditional recruiting applications and processes, (the ATS and the actual application process, the employee referral program, the corporate career site, etc.), with socially mediated or powered capability. My guess is that we will continue to see more connection and integration of recruiting processes with social media and social networks in the coming few years.

How closely are job seekers paying attention to social media when it comes to finding employers?

I think this trend is on the upswing, and seems likely to continue to grow. Job seekers still like to use traditional means of finding opportunity, just look at the traffic on job boards, but more and more they will try to leverage their own social connections to learn about companies, open jobs, and to try to network their way into an organization. While people have always done this, the power of social networks makes this process easier than ever before for job seekers. This combined with more attention being paid to social networks by employers, and numerous new tools designed to facilitate this “socially powered” job seeking process, will only make platforms like Facebook and others more effective in making connections between companies and talent.

What’s the biggest mistake you see HR people and recruiters make when it comes to social media?

Probably the biggest mistake is a lack of understanding what their specific goals are first, and then forming a strategy or plan that attempts to assess how using social media can help them reach those goals. Every company has a unique set of challenges in their recruiting efforts, and not all social media or social strategies work in all circumstances. It can be tempting to read a case study or see a presentation on social media use for HR and recruiting and think that one company’s successful efforts can be copied, but that is often not the case. So I think that you should learn as much as you can about what has worked for others, but don’t ever forget to think about these platforms and channels in the context of your own challenges.

Do you think HR people and recruiters must use social media?

Yes, it only makes sense for HR and recruiting to be active in these areas, as their increasing importance for communications, marketing, collaboration, and more, simply can’t be denied. Additionally, if your organization is still working on your policy and approach to social media, then the only way HR can really understand the platforms and issues is to be active on them.

What are your favorite tools for managing your social media presence?

I don’t really do much out of the ordinary. I like Hootsuite as a Twitter tool as it allows easier following of Twitter lists and event hashtags. I sometimes use an application called Buffer to share links out to Twitter or Facebook. But other than that, I don’t worry too much about it.

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