Whether you are looking to hire a college graduate or a veteran worker, social media is increasingly becoming an important recruiting tool. From LinkedIn to Twitter to Glassdoor, companies who don’t embrace social media risk missing out on what could be a great employee.
“It’s more than important, it’s an essential part of the formula,” says Steven Canale, manager, global recruiting and staffing services atGeneral Electric. “You have to be where your customers are.”
When it comes to social media, there isn’t one formula that every company subscribes to. Some companies use it as a way to publicize open positionswhile others see it as a way to vet potential candidates. Take Dreamstime.com, the stock photography website. Instead of posting available jobs on LinkedIn or promoting the company on Facebook, Dreamstime.com uses social media to make sure it is hiring the right people. “I do an extensive research project on everybody’s social media pages whether you give us the websites or not,” says Noelle Federico, chief financial officer at Dreamstime.com. “When someone comes to a job interview they are on their best behavior. You don’t know what kind of person they are sometimes until it’s too late.”
Not only does Federico visit all prospective employees LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages before she’ll have them in for an interview but she will also do a Google search of their name to see what type of hits it yields. While Federico knows not everything on the pages will be professional, a red flag does goes up if she finds any inappropriate content. “People don’t really realize that almost 80% of recruiters and HR managers are looking at social media pages,” says Federico. “The little bit of time you put in for the investigation is minor compared to the pain and suffering if you bring in the wrong person.”
GE is a big believer in using social media to recruit job candidates and utilizes the popular ones including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. According to Michael Tresca, who leads GE’s recruiting communications, the foundation of all of the company’s social media efforts is the GE career blog. Each day GE posts an article that is linked out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. The topics vary and can include profiles of employees or glimpses into what it’s like to work at the conglomerate. While GE’s social media efforts are successful – after all, globally 150,000 people read the career blog in all the various social media channels – at the end of the day the company thinks it’s the face-to-face relationships that actually seal the deal when it comes to hiring candidates. “Ultimately at the end of the day, after taking in all the social media information sources, the decision a top candidate makes to join one company versus another comes down to the people that they met and how well they were made to feel,” says Canale.
Progressive Insurance is another example of a company that fully embraces social media to reach potential job candidates and isn’t afraid to test the waters with newer social media channels like Pinterest. According to Christy Palfy, recruiting manager at Progressive, the insurer has found it most effective to use different social media channels in different ways. For instance, LinkedIn has been an effective way to seek out and engage talent while Facebook isn’t used as a recruiting tool but to provide information about the company and what it’s like to work there. Twitter is the medium to share career related announcements and articles of interest with a large audience while YouTube is used to showcase what it’s like to work at the insurer. Even with Pinterest the insurer created a board to talk about jobs and link back to the corporate website.
Although Progressive is utilizing a lot of different social media channels to recruit and get the word out about the company, Palfy says companies should take a slow and steady approach if it’s just starting out. According to Palfy, companies should pick one social media channel to start with and build a presence there before expanding the efforts. She also says employers should go with the tried and tested websites instead of jumping on the bandwagon when something new starts getting buzz. For example, even though Progressive is on Pinterest, its efforts are limited compared to the other social media pages. “I do not recommend doing it all at once,” says Palfy. “It takes five minutes to create a Facebook or LinkedIn page but it takes a lot of time, energy and resources to keep it updated and to respond to candidates.”