Social media goes way beyond Facebook, and its effective use is helping companies around the world to find the right people to hire. Here is our pick of the 10 things that hiring managers need to know about using social media to improve the hiring process.
The hiring process is a two-way street. It may seem obvious, but many hiring managers forget that recruitment is as much about candidates finding out whether the company is right for them as the company assessing whether the candidate is the right person for the job. Social media and employer branding can make this process a whole lot better, by improving self-selection.
Effective employer branding via social media use saves you time in the hiring process. Back in the old days, candidates used the advertisement and the job interview to find out whether the company was right for them. Now, though, there is a huge amount of information out there, including conversations on social media, and content posted from within the company, including employee advocacy. Candidates can see whether the company looks like the sort of place they want to work, and they self-select.
Social media-supported self-selection offers the opportunity to slim down the ‘hiring funnel’. By encouraging self-screening, the ultimate aim is to avoid the need for expensive and time-consuming screening before interview, reducing the time and cost of recruitment. For example, if you only receive 10 CVs, you can afford to phone-screen them all. If you receive 200 CVs, you have to sift to reduce that to a manageable number, and then phone-screen, and it all takes time.
Better qualification of candidates saves you time and money. Slimming down the ‘hiring funnel’ through self-selection saves you time sand money. By reducing the need to sift, you can reduce the expensive involvement of senior hiring managers, and also the time from advertisement to hire. The average time to fill posts is 45 days; self-selection can reduce this considerably, also reducing the risk that your chosen candidate will have found another job. Paper sifting is notoriously inefficient as a recruitment mechanism, and you may lose a very good candidate that way.
Self-selection also improves the candidate experience. Candidate experience is key to employer branding. You have a lot more candidates than hires, so potential considerably more ‘noise’ from them. More than half—51%— of candidates share good experiences via social media, and around a third share bad ones. Knowing whether or not the candidate experience will be good is important to potential applicants, and candidate experience therefore affects your future pipeline.
Job specifications are your opportunity to facilitate better self-selection. Unfortunately, many hiring managers are very bad at writing job specifications. This may require new and different skills, drawing on other parts of the organisation or even external help. However, that work will pay off in the longer term.
Today’s rejected candidate could be tomorrow’s perfect hire. Rejections should therefore be polite and elegant. It’s not a good idea to ignore unsuccessful applicants, although many organisations have started to use this approach. You want them to become a part of your community, and potentially to come back another time, for a more suitable job. A personalised response is more feasible as self-selection reduces applications to a more manageable number.
Digital is all about self-service. When we shop, we understand this. We choose our own goods, they are ‘picked’ for us, sometimes by a person, and sometimes by machine. We have them delivered, or we collect them. All the aspects of the process that we see are self-administered. The same goes for recruitment, and we expect to have sufficient information to self-select effectively, to avoid wasting our own or the hiring manager’s time.
Introducing new hires to the company is also part of branding. The ‘on-boarding’ process is a crucial opportunity to ensure that your new hires understand your company brand and its values, and are motivated to work effectively. Miss this opportunity, and you are left with self-education, which may not be so effective.
Social media can play a key part in the introduction process. Traditional induction processes might require a day spent on forms and checklists, in the company of the HR team. A slightly more sophisticated approach might include some training and formal introductions: a process, rather than a paper-based approach. Strategic ‘on-boarding’ becomes a key part of the hiring process, involving socialisation and mentoring, supported by technology including social media.