Social media recruiting is becoming more popular and more effective. As proof, I’ve sifted through the latest social recruiting data and found some of the most popular posts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Here’s why this content engaged job-seekers, and how you can use similar tactics to find top talent.
Union Pacific offers an example of a perfect social media job posting. It includes a lovely photo of a train and starts with a compelling question, “Have you ever dreamed of becoming a locomotive engineer or conductor? Then get started with this great career opportunity with Union Pacific Railroad!” The opening itself is for train crew, a less glamorous position, but the company connects it to a larger goal. It also goes the extra step of stating the salary. After that, the post again mentions that this role will help job-seekers “get started on your career path.”
The result? An astonishing 604 Facebook likes, along with 37 shares (even more important), and 14 comments. Some of the commenters are tagging their friends, a form of sharing that notifies users about the post. The railroad also allows commenters to talk to each other.
How you can be like Union Pacific: Accompany all job listings with photos, which get more attention on Facebook — they’re harder to scroll past! Be as honest about the position as possible. Show why each job is special or valued, or how it can lead to bigger things at your company. Let people say whatever they want in the comments. To go even one step better, be sure to monitor the replies and jump in when job-seekers have questions.
One of the hardest parts of the job application process is the waiting. No one likes uncertainty, whether it’s a candidate for a C-suite position or an internship. Video-game maker Blizzard reached out to the latter group with a photo of an adorable dog. “Don’t worry, Mason,” reads the tweet, “University Relations and our hiring teams are getting through the mountain of intern applications.” It’s a cute way to tell applicants to be patient and to forestall the usual “Have you made decisions yet?” questions.
The tweet generated 19 retweets, 80 favorites, and a dozen replies — mostly applicants commenting on the dog and thanking Blizzard for the update. The company even replied, agreeing with a commenter that Mason was a bit overweight and could use enrollment in the company’s wellness program — a clever way to mention that perk. That tweet got a retweet and five favorites.
How you can be like Blizzard: Animals always do well on social media, so if you have an office pet, be sure to show them off. But the real message here is that Blizzard was keeping candidates informed about the process in a fun way. And the company responded to replies, reinforcing their emphasis on candidate care. Think about how your organization can better communicate with job-seekers.
Though it was posted more than two months ago, KPMG’s video “American Dream” recently got a surge of new views this week on YouTube. The seven-minute video is in black and white, and features interviews with employees (talking directly to the camera), and occasionally holding up photos. There are no images of employee events or of KPMG’s offices all over the world or even of the actual customers that the company helps.
But it’s remarkably touching. The employees, showcasing incredible diversity and including many from working-class backgrounds, talk about how they were the first in their families to go to college. They share how grateful they are to KPMG for giving them a chance and for being such a caring, supportive company. They tell viewers that KPMG helps them support both their parents’ dreams and the dreams of their children. It’s an amazing testament, both honest and compelling. The result is more 3,400 YouTube views and 31 likes. And people are sticking around to watch other KPMG videos as well.
How you can be like KPMG: In this age of irony and cynicism, outright sincerity can be a breath of fresh air. Can you create a video as brave and direct as this? Would you reject fancy editing and graphics in favor of employees speaking right to camera, with no interviewer or voiceover to frame them? Even if the employees start crying? If not, there may be other ways you can connect with job-seekers on an emotional level, by letting employees share their stories, photos, or videos. What do you find most rewarding about your organization? If KPGM — which is an accounting firm, not a non-profit — can find an honest way to touch job-seekers, certainly your company can to.
My agency, Brandemix, creates social media strategies for talent acquisition. We write posts, take photos, and produce videos as well. If you’d like our expertise to assist with your recruitment efforts, contact me and we’ll talk.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.
Jobvite just released its 2015 Job Seeker Nation report, which examines how job-seekers are using social media and mobile to look for employment. Their findings show that not only is everyone using social to find a job — they’re looking even if they’re already in a job they like.
One of the clearest signs of a recovering economy is that workers are looking for new opportunities even if they’re currently employed and satisfied. Of the more than 2,000 respondents to the Jobvite survey, half of whom are in the labor force, 45% said they were satisfied in their current job but looking for a new one. About half of all workers in every industry felt the same.
Why were they looking? Poor compensation figured into 32% of workers’ decision, and lack of growth opportunities was a factor for 16%. When deciding to take a new job, compensation jumped to 61%, along with location (42%) and work-life balance (38%). I would have thought that the abundance of opportunities would have made job-seekers consider culture fit or company mission, but those factors were actually at the bottom of the list — with culture at 21%, leadership at 15%, and mission at just 12%. Jobvite’s report even called them “negligible.” When the highest earners did research a company’s culture, they used Facebook the most, then Twitter, with LinkedIn in third place — and Pinterest close behind.
Facebook took the lead of all social networks for job-searches, with 67% of respondents using it. Twitter was second at 45%, while LinkedIn — the social platform made for business — only factored into 40% of job searches…and just 36% of women’s efforts. Most interesting, Jobvite found that other social sites were creeping into the mix: 31% of respondents said that Instagram led to them “finding a job,” with 25% giving that honor to Pinterest and 17% crediting Snapchat.
When it comes to learning about a company, job-seeker use Twitter and Facebook about equally. In many of Jobvite’s categories, LinkedIn never gets above a 20% response from people who are researching an employer before applying. At the same time, Millennials are adding Instagram (14%) and Snapchat (14%) to their due diligence. With pressure coming from both directions on multiple fronts, I wonder if LinkedIn won’t eventually find itself squeezed out of the job hunt altogether.
What about mobile? One third of all job-seekers under 30 said that the ability to apply for a job on a mobile device was important to them. In fact, about half of Millennials are using mobile in their job search, the largest percentage of any demographic. Of all mobile job-seekers, 42% are using their mobile device for at least 11 minutes a day to search for work. 38% say they’ve searched during their commute, and 36% say they’ve searched at a restaurant. Most surprising — 30% say they’ve searched while at their current job, and 21% searched while attending a meeting!
What are my takeaways from all this data? First, employers need a social presence beyond LinkedIn. They should be recruiting and employer branding on Facebook and Twitter for certain, possibly with additional accounts on Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, or Snapchat, depending on the preferences their ideal talent. Second, employers should make sure their careers sites are mobile-friendly, don’t require registration, and don’t take too long to apply. Finally, organizations should look at how they promote their perks and benefits, since compensation, location, and work-life balance factor so highly into candidates’ decisions.
Are you ready to expand your social recruiting presence beyond the “Big Three”? Is it time for a mobile-friendly careers site? Is your employer branding not reaching your ideal candidates on social media? Brandemix has a long history of social recruiting success, and we’d love to help with your social and mobile talent acquisition campaigns. Contact us for more information.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.
Images courtesy of Jobvite.
Bailiff: The District Court of ERE will now hear the case of Marketing v. Recruiting.
Marketing: May it please the court, we believe that an organization’s Marketing department should own its social media recruiting channels. Marketing professionals have experience in social media from their consumer-facing efforts. They know how to create content, how to engage audiences, and how to track success with analytics. Recruiters have little experience in this type of interaction. They should stick to careers sites and job fair brochures, where they can best use their strengths – evaluating résumés and holding one-on-one conversations with candidates. A company should have one brand and speak to all its audiences with the same voice: the voice of Marketing. Thank you.
Judge: Very well. Recruiting?
Recruiting: With all due respect to my colleague, Marketing has no experience in connecting with job-seekers. Marketing messages don’t speak to the talent that most organizations want to attract. Job-seekers can’t interact with a careers site or a Taleo form; they want to ask questions, make comments, and share their experiences with a hiring manager. In addition, Marketing is known for, shall we say, embellishing the truth when it comes to describing products and services. But we’re talking about a job that someone will have for years or decades. Recruiting communications must be honest and transparent and should be in the hands of those who understand what today’s workers are looking for. This is our position.
Judge: Marketing, do you wish to present evidence?
Marketing: Your honor, I present Exhibit A: the US Coast Guard. Its Twitter and Flickr accounts are for marketing purposes only. But their content includes photos, historical fun facts, and news of the Guard’s latest operations. Its Flickr albums include “Women in Command” and “A Week in the Life of the Coast Guard Academy.” These do a perfect job of enticing candidates. And they’re run by the Marketing department.
Recruiting: Objection, your honor! The Coast Guard does specifically recruit on YouTube and Facebook, with great success — a quarter-million likes on Facebook and almost half a million views on YouTube. And these are run by recruiters; the Coast Guard posts their names and photos.
Judge: Sustained. Does Recruiting have evidence to show the court?
Recruiting: We present Exhibit B: Taco Bell Careers. 145,000 likes on Facebook. 2,077 followers on Twitter. 571 followers on Pinterest. And well over 100,000 views on YouTube. All run by a social media recruiting team. These experts maintain Taco Bell’s casual brand voice while providing entertaining content that job-seekers want to see. They present the job of preparing food honestly. They show employees having fun, attending company events, and advancing their careers. These aren’t marketing messages and have nothing to do with how good their burritos taste.
Marketing: Your honor, Recruiting admits that Taco Bell Careers has only 2,077 followers on Twitter. While its main Twitter account has more than 1.5 million. Why are these “experts” reaching less than half a percent of what their marketing colleagues reach?
Recruiting: It’s called “audience segmentation,” which should be an obvious concept to anyone with a marketing degree.
Marketing: A brand’s customers become its employees, and vice-versa. That means a single voice is more important than personalized messaging.
Recruiting: Job-seekers are looking for information that’s completely different from what a customer needs. Their goal is to actually make the company part of their lives.
Marketing: That’s Marketing’s goal as well! Branding that creates a personal connection.
Recruiting: Who has a connection to a lightbulb? And yet employees love working for GE.
Marketing: Small businesses don’t have the luxury of hiring a separate social media recruitment team. They may not have a recruiter at all! They do their own recruiting and marketing, and they do them both very well.
Recruiting: Slick salesman.
Marketing: Silly softy.
Judge: Enough, both of you! Counsels, I’m ready to render a verdict.
Recruiting: Yes, your honor.
Marketing: We’re listening.
Judge: After listening to both sides, I think organizations can find the most success in attracting top talent by having this department run its social media channels.
Marketing: Which one?
You be the Judge. Which department do YOU think should run an organization’s social media recruiting channels – Marketing or Recruiting?
The Social Recruitment Monitor places Marriott in the top ten for recruiting on both Facebook and Twitter. The SRM also ranks the hotel chain as 21st in the country on YouTube and 38th on Instagram. Last week, its six Facebook posts garnered a total of 1,889 likes, 180 comments, and 336 shares. Let’s check in to Marriott and check out how they engage job-seekers in such successful and innovative ways.
In 2011, Marriott was one of the first major brands to embrace gamification in its talent acquisition. Rather than just explaining what it’s like to work in a hotel, the company created My Marriott Hotel, which simulates a day in the busy hotel kitchen. Players must hire and train chefs, buy ingredients and cookware, and field meal orders, while keeping within a time limit and a fixed budget. The goal was to “recruit staff with little exposure to the lodging industry,” as the Washington Post put it, and it worked: The game attracted more than 50,000 users from 120 countries.
The Takeaway: Marriott’s game accomplished two things — it helped the company stand out from its competitors and it gave job-seekers a glimpse of what their job would actually be like. Differentiation and transparency are important pillars for successful employer branding, so look for opportunities that can apply to your own organization. What sets you apart? Is your brand young and hip? Classic and stable? Bold and curious? And how can you accurately convey what it’s like to work for you? Think about a “day in the life” video, employee testimonials, a blog from the C-suite, or a photo gallery on Pinterest.
One of my favorite things about Marriott’s social recruiting is that it’s fearless. The company poses difficult questions, on its public Facebook page, to its employees and job-seekers (both audiences are served by the page). A Facebook post such as “It’s Bill Marriott’s 82nd birthday! We’d like to leave him 82 birthday wishes below,” is virtually begging for inappropriate or sarcastic responses from workers. But all I see is a lot of love for the man and his namesake company — and for the job itself. And I also see 1,378 likes, 175 shares, and dozens of nice, fun, sincere replies from a proud, satisfied workforce.
Sure, birthday wishes are one thing. But Marriott posts a series of work-related questions in a series called #WhatWouldYouDo? In January, the question was: “You receive a phone call from a guest complaining about a baby crying in the room next door, but the hotel is at 100% capacity and you can’t move them. What Would You Do?” Did employees take the opportunity to complain about hotel policy or unreasonable guests? No — they suggested all sorts of remedies. I count 45 replies, some of which generated their own replies from other employees. And 79 Facebook likes.
The Takeaway: Another one-two punch from Marriott. These questions and unedited answers engage employees and serve as powerful internal engagement. But it also shows candidates the sort of respect and honesty they can expect when they join the company, and the challenges they’ll face on a daily basis. It even speaks to me as a hotel guest, showing me that Marriott’s staff look at problems from every angle. Can you be as bold as Marriott in speaking to employees and potential employees? What do you want to ask them? What do you want to say to them? Try it!
Marriott has scores of videos on its recruiting YouTube channel. Some are immensely valuable to job-seekers, such as How to Prepare for a Job Interview and How Long Should My Résumé Be? I’m a huge fan of the Ritz-Carlton “The Art of the Craft” series, beautiful-looking videos that show what it’s like to be a concierge, housekeeper, chef, steward, and other positions in the hotel. Interestingly, the most popular video on Marriott’s channel is Applying to a Job @ Marriott: How to Set Up a User Account (93,538 views).
Marriott is one of the few big brands recruiting on Instagram as well. The company takes full advantage of its picturesque locations, with photos of beaches, sunsets, and gorgeous buildings. But it also shows employees at their jobs, attending events, and having fun, and runs a #CaptionThis contest for funny pictures. How many recruiting websites show their employees sleeping on the job?
The Takeaway: A picture is worth a thousand words; a video is worth maybe a million. How can you use YouTube, Vine, Instagram, or Pinterest to speak to job-seekers? Consider interviewing your employees, giving a tour of your office — or your neighborhood; where do employees have lunch? Show off your products, your successes, your employee events. Anything that seems like a “sneak peek” behind the scenes of your workplace or factory is always attractive. If you want to have a little fun and add some music, your video might even go viral. That kind of recruitment advertising is priceless.
From clever games to honest communications to compelling videos, I name Marriott a Social Media Recruiting Superstar!
My agency, Brandemix, specializes in employer branding, social media recruiting, and online talent acquisition. If you’d like to discuss using innovative strategies and targeted content to target your top talent, contact us.
Jason Ginsburg is Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix.