If the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, then the best time to start recruiting is before you have a vacancy to fill.
Every company needs to have a recruitment policy which is created and implemented way before they need to recruit, and one major part of that policy should be focused on ‘social recruiting’.
Every company has its own external communication channels, whether that be their website, social media and of course their PR; social recruiting is how a company uses these communication channels to attract talent.
But social recruiting isn’t just about sticking a job advert on a website or on social and sharing it, to do it properly a company should use their communication channels to create and convey their brand, a persona that will resonate and appeal to exactly the sort of talent that they’d like to attract, BEFORE they need to attract it.
Every company has a reputation, and you can split this into two sides of the same brand: their consumer brand, which is how their customers and potential customers see them; and their employer brand which is how they are viewed by their former, current and potential employees.
A positive employer brand is critical to attracting the best talent to a company, especially in a competitive sector.
There is also a third, employee brand, but that’s a story for a different day
Many of the larger agencies in our sector are well known, they have a reputation, and everyone knows of them.
But is your brand positive or negative?
What do you want people to think about your company?
What are people saying about you?
Not just about the work that you do, but how you are as an employer?
How are you known for treating your staff?
It’s a smallish industry and people do talk to one another.
When you do advertise a role, I’m sure that you will put it all over your social channels, but the first thing that any potential employee will do is to check out your website and take a peek at your social output to get a vibe for your company.
Having a careers page on your website is a bare minimum and a good first step in your social recruiting plan.
Create a page that explains your values and culture, shows off your amazing and flexible home working policy and shows potential employees what’s it’s like to work for you.
It will give an insight into the team plus let potential new employees get a glimpse of life behind the website.
Maybe a video show round the offices, some images from the last staff event or even a case study from a team member about the training you enabled them to undertake and how it impacted on them and their career.
Basically, this page should showcase you are a great employer, your company fosters a great environment to work in and that you offer real tangible progression
Don’t be shy, make sure this page really shows exactly what your company is really like to work for and encourages people to form a really positive opinion of your brand.
Social media is also an important social recruiting tool.
Think now about the content you are putting out there, because you can’t suddenly start posting positive employer brand posts only at the time that you need to recruit; you need a full history and a ‘pedigree’ of really great content that can be scrolled back on and assessed by your potential employees.
Share some of the great things you and your team have achieved on a regular basis, the fun that you have and what its like to work for your company.
PR is also important – nominate your team for some of the ‘rising star’ type awards we have in our industry, and of course CN’s prestigious Thirty Under 30 list.
These awards offer you great ways to show your team that you value them and that you care about their progression. And of course the nominations and finalist list make great content to bolster your social media channels too.
Encourage your team to write blogs for your website, to discuss topics, trends and things they have experienced.
Give them some time and the opportunity to learn and to write about their experiences within the company.
These are great social recruitment tools as you enable your team’s personality to shine.
Of course, the only downside to social recruitment is that it can be hard to measure; applicants won’t apply directly to you via the social channels, so many companies may shy away from investing time and money in it.
But as with most marketing, it is all about the sum of all the parts. Candidates should encounter several touch points of your company before they decided to contact you so it can be hard to define which one was the trigger.
You can of course ask a candidate at the interview though, a simple “what made you apply?” is a great way to find out more about your employer brand.
Building a great employer brand will of course have a positive impact on your consumer brand too because your clients will love to hear about how great a company you are to work for and how much you value your teams.
Recruitment is a two-way process so don’t be arrogant and assume that everyone will want to work for your company just because you are recruiting. Take a good hard look at your employer brand and act now to ensure yours is the one that everyone wants to work for.
Change is the only constant, so remember to act upon any feedback you receive as trust me, not all of it will be what you want to hear.