Recruitment process outsourcers (RPO) have one job: to find the best talent for their clients. The rise of social media is the newest tool in their toolbox.
“Social media is not just all the rage. It is a powerful platform,” says Sue Marks, CEO of Pinstripe, an RPO. “RPOs are embracing the new wave,” adds John Younger, CEO of Accolo and the current President of the RPO Association.
“The old way of reactive recruiting is in danger of extinction. Social media is where people hang out today,” adds Peter Brasket, Co-founder and Senior Vice President, RPO Alliances, at Jobs2web. “Employers and RPOs need to use social media as a hunting ground for talent, especially because the best talent isn’t looking for a job.” The outsourcer currently works with 160 employers, helping them with their talent acquisition strategies, which includes social media recruitment.
Jobs2web clients, which include Pinstripe, Best Buy, Cleveland Clinic, Microsoft, and Rosetta Stone, use its interactive recruitment platform. Brasket says the service provider has thousands of people visiting its clients’ job listings and social networks; about 2,100 flow from the Jobs2web portal. He says today’s job seekers perform 300 million searches a month on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Many are using mobile devices.
Marks says today when professionals are looking for a job, they rarely go to a corporate site anymore. Instead, they will do a Google search for, say, “engineering jobs in Cleveland.” Jobs2web’s platform drives talent through search engine optimization (SEO) to the correct channel, which, for example, may be Facebook.
“When a prospect is ready, they migrate from Facebook to the hiring area of the employer,” Brasket observes.
How to use social media for recruiting
Today recruiters have to “narrowcast not broadcast,” explains Marks. Brasket says it is “not effective to build a Facebook page for all careers. You have to be relevant and specific.” Adds Adriel Cueva, Project Management Specialist at Manpower Business Solutions, “You have to know how to go after the right candidate and know where they are.”
Jobs2web’s technology targets groups by function areas or specific geographies. RPOs then embed this technology in their own.
It’s best for employers (and customers of RPOs) to create a community. “You have to know who you are trying to reach and then make sure they can find you. The goal is to have a large group of followers who frequent your community,” explains Brasket.
“Creating communities is all about having conversations,” adds Marks. “They are happening whether you like it or not.” The CEO says some outsourcing buyers are reluctant to enter the fray because they are worried about negative posts or tweets. “I tell them, ‘You need to know about those too,’” she says.
Marks says employers entering social media recruiting need to clearly define what they want to achieve. “Many clients say they expect us to be using Web 2.0, but they don’t fully understand what that means,” adds Cueva.
The Pinstripe executive adds that employers also have to study their current online profile. “Companies have to know their online reputation and that of their competitors to understand where they stand in the marketplace and what opportunities they have,” the CEO notes.
To reinforce or correct their online reputation, companies need to create and generate relevant content for the appropriate Facebook pages, select the applicable LinkedIn Groups, and target influential blogs.
For example, Manpower created a Facebook page and YouTube video for a beverage company that sells an energy drink to a young demographic. The video showed employees in this age group describing what it was like to work for the company. Pinstripe manages social recruiting efforts for most of its clients, which include all the relevant channels – Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube, etc.
Cueva adds employers must understand social media only works “if there is frequency and consistency.” He says someone “has to be posting constantly to keep up the demand.”
All the important social media have important mobile applications. Corporations need to make sure their recruiting work – including their own career sites – is available on hand-held devices.
“Social media is a great way for HR departments to create and manage a brand,” she observes. Today HR executives have to also know about marketing and metrics, she explains.
Young says social media produce cost savings for RPOs. In the past, he says he would have to pay a significant fee to search for, say, a certain type of engineer in the San Francisco area. “Now it’s a simple LinkedIn search,” he reports. He also reports “saving a bundle on job posting fees.”
Young says he weaves social media into his other hiring strategies, which allows him to “limit costs.” Social media allow RPOs to “fill jobs with less effort and time,” thus making the service providers more efficient.
How Jobs2web helps RPOs
According to Marks, 75 percent of Pinstripe’s buyers are using social media.
The Jobs2web solution sits upstream, before any data hits the RPO’s applicant tracking system (ATS). The outsourcing service provider builds landing pages so its clients have a presence on Facebook. LinkedIn, and Twitter as well as blogs.
As for RPOs, Brasket says they want best-in-class technology and best practices from their partners. “They want new sourcing technologies to compete for talent,” he explains.
For the last two years, Jobs2web has used its technology on behalf of Pinstripe’s clients. “We’ve been able to increase Pinstripe’s candidate capture rate,” says Brasket. “We bring in new talent sources so we can deliver a better yield.”
RPOs like the analytics available: Jobs2web can measure the traffic from each source.
How Best Buy is using social media for recruiting
Tracey Racette, Senior Manager, Global Business Services for Best Buy, says the big-box retailer “is on a continuing journey to leverage social media.”
Best Buy uses Jobs2web to handle its external Web site and its search engine optimization. Currently Best Buy has the largest talent community on the Jobs2web Web site. “We have 4.5 million people who want to learn more about working at Best Buy,” she reports.
She finds the Jobs2web dashboard useful. “We can tell what time of day someone joins our talent community,” she marvels. Best Buy is using this kind of granular data to “tailor our message,” she reports.
Racette says a great starting place to make hiring decisions is “a well-stocked pond of the right candidates.” Social media and Jobs2web help fill the pond. “Both help recruiters find more of the right people who will be a great fit for the role and the organization versus just more people who may or may not be a great fit,” she explains.
“The beautiful thing about social media is that it allows people doing the hiring to focus on what they do best, which is looking at a pool of candidates, then making great decisions about who to interview and slate for a hiring leader,” she continues.
One thing hasn’t changed, though. Racette says Best Buy still uses recruiters to find candidates. She says the retailer still has key HR partners in the field doing the hiring. Racette says “recruiters rock” when ferreting out “those high-quality, passive candidates who are the best of the best.” Recruiters, in her opinion, are great at selling the employment experience and culture to a group of top-tier candidates, some of whom they found leveraging social media, she points out.
Concludes Cueva, “Before we had Rolodexes. Now we have profiles on the Web.”