I’m a big believer in the power of social media for talent acquisition. Each month, I conduct a survey of the most successful recruiting content over a seven-day span on the three biggest social platforms. If you’d like to engage your ideal job-seekers and create a buzz on social media, here are the latest best practices.
I love it when companies use recruiting channels to speak not just to job-seekers but also to its current employees. That strategy lets potential workers, and even the general public, see how a company values its staff. This week, haircut franchise Sport Clips provided a perfect example with a Facebook post that began: “Do you have a Culture Queen in your store? Someone who always has a positive attitude and is passionate about what she does. She always does her best, does what is right, and treats others the way they want to be treated.” Sport Clips then asked its stylists to nominate their store’s Culture Queens.
The replies showed great camaraderie and generosity. “Always smiles, and brings joys to our days.” “Best store manager I ever had.” “Pushes everyone to do their best.” The nominating stylists often tagged the nominees in their replies, so the person saw their nomination and would say “thank you” in their own replies. All along, Sport Clips “liked” all the responses and even returned to answer a question.
The result was 32 likes, 29 shares, and seven replies — each of which begat its own chain of replies. The employee engagement, good feelings, and strong employer branding the post generated is impossible to quantify but immensely important.
How you can be like Sport Clips: It’s easy for an organization over a certain size to hold its own “Culture Queen”-like contest. After all, the only prize was to be featured on social media and in Sport Clips’ quarterly newsletter. Simply use your social recruiting platform to ask your staff to nominate an employee of the month, or a worker who embodies one of your core values. Don’t abandon the post afterwards; Sport Clips made a point of “liking” each response to show they acknowledged it and to add more activity to the post, which helps Facebook show it to more people.
Everyone likes to vote or share their opinion online (just ask BuzzFeed) and to share positive information about themselves. You can bet that every nominee shared that Facebook post…and “liked” the Sport Clips Jobs page if they hadn’t before.
I always tell clients that social recruiting channels should serve as a general job resource and not just a continuous feed of a company’s open positions. Comcast illustrated this important principle with a live chat on Twitter. Using the hashtag #MeetComcast, the entertainment giant’s recruiting channel, @ComcastCareers, gave tips on using Twitter to find internships — and not just at Comcast. “Have you tried searching for recruiters [on Twitter] at your target company? Add ‘company name’ + ‘recruiter’ to your search,” went one tweet. The company even asked questions: “Anyone have any luck getting #internship through Twitter?”
Students replied and asked their own questions. When a LinkedIn professional added some advice about his social network, Comcast retweeted it. The company even managed to plug itself, with tweets like “Some companies make it easy to engage recruiters via Twitter lists. Here’s how we do it,” followed by a link to its own lists.
The result was dozens of retweets, replies, and favorites. Comcast also educated job-seekers and how to better engage its talent acquisition team on Twitter, and how to use Twitter to research opportunities in general. @ComcastCareers gained some new followers, showed tremendous goodwill, and demonstrated its tech savvy by hosting an event on a social platform.
How you can be like Comcast: A live Twitter chat costs nothing. Simply create a hashtag and promote the event in advance. Create five or ten tweets ahead of time that you can post regardless of the chat’s attendance or activity. Have a recruiter on standby to jump in and answer questions, or to provide their own advice if it’s slow going at first. Offer tips that are specific to your organization as well as tips that could lead job-seekers to your competitors. Once the event is over, you can link to the hashtag, and thus the entire chat, on other social channels, providing an evergreen resource.
Some of the most effective recruiting videos don’t take place in an office. General Motors illustrated with a video uploaded a month ago that has generated a steady flow of views. The GM Student Corps Story is a beautifully shot nine-and-a-half-minute video about GM’s outreach program. Student Corps is paid internship program for high school students in the Detroit and Flint area, where GM is based. The organization allows the students to conceive and implement their own events to give back to the community. This summer, it included painting school buildings and repairing playgrounds.
GM partners retired workers with the students to help teach them about the working life and to provide an insight into a career at the automaker. The video shows interviews with the retirees, the students, and college-aged volunteers who serve as advisors between the too. The stories are inspiring, as 65-year-old mechanics and high school freshmen bond over their shared love of their communities.
The result is a touching short film that doesn’t show a car or an assembly line or a boardroom. The video has generated 1,086 views and 29 likes.
How you can be like GM: You probably don’t have an outreach program on par with GM’s, set in the unfolding drama that is the fall and rise of Detroit. But your company probably does have at least one official charity or partners with some non-profit organization. Even if your workers only volunteer one day a year — say, around Thanksgiving — that can still be the basis for a powerful video that shows your corporate social responsibility, which matters to 78% of Millennials. A one-day shoot at a hospital or a food drive or an animal shelter can provide a dozen feel-good videos, photos, and testimonials for your recruitment materials. It also highlights your culture, your core values, and your company’s commitment to making the world a better place.
These three posts point to the “softer” side of recruiting — making employees fee valued, offering advice to college students, and giving back to the community. These strategies have hard metrics on their side, however. Employee reward/referral programs like Sport Clips’ bring in more quality applications. Providing a selfless resource of information is a compelling differentiator in the social recruiting space. And corporate social responsibility has become a major factor in choosing a company among Generation Y. Two of these strategies are free, so there’s no reason why your organization can’t take a giant leap forward in its social talent acquisition efforts.
Brandemix has had tremendous success introducing organizations to social recruiting or enhancing their social talent acquisition efforts. If you’d like to be like Sport Clips, Comcast, and GM, contact us.
LinkedIn just released its 2015 Talent Trends report, compiling responses from more than 1,600 professionals in the US and Canada. Their findings show the rising importance of employer branding, candidate care, and social media recruiting.
Only 30% of the workforce in the two countries is considered active talent. That’s actually up from last year, when 25% were active talent. Is the war for talent easing? Not at all. The LinkedIn study finds that active searchers aren’t necessarily unhappy with their jobs — nearly half said they were satisfied, while 20% said they were neither satisfied nor unsatisfied.
Even more fascinating, both active and passive talent are participating in professional development opportunities, “with one eye open for their next opportunity,” as LinkedIn puts it. These includes researching jobs, researching companies, networking, and updating résumés. 45% of all American and Canadian workers are doing this, even though only 30% are actively looking for a job.
What this means for you: Unemployment is decreasing (from 6.1% last August to 5.1% this past month) and even happy workers are on the hunt for better opportunities. That means now is the time for more targeted recruiting and a stronger employer brand to reach new talent, as well as employee engagement initiatives to retain your best talent.
LinkedIn’s survey found that 65% of workers turn to their personal and professional networks for company referrals and recommendations. 62% looked for opportunities on online job boards, while 61% checked “social professional networks” (LinkedIn’s generic term for itself). Only 54% visited company websites and just 31% used search engines.
What about social media apart from LinkedIn? Jobvite’s 2015 Job-Seeker Nation survey fills in the blanks: 67% of job-seekers use Facebook in their job search, and 45% use Twitter. Only 40% actually use LinkedIn. When it comes to professionals making more than $75,000, the Twitter percentage jumped to 54%. Millennials add Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat to their research as well.
What this means for you: Social media is now officially as important as job boards when it comes to recruiting, so you need both a presence on and a strategy for social talent acquisition. Once again, employer branding comes into play, as workers’ most trusted resource is their circle of friends and colleagues. What they hear about your brand, from social media posts and Glassdoor reviews and LinkedIn company pages, affects what they tell their job-seeking friends. Online job boards are becoming less important, so perhaps it’s time re-allocate funds from your careers site to your social media channels.
The LinkedIn findings are loud and clear: 83% of global talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or a company they once liked. 77% say the interview is extremely or very important in making their final decision to accept or reject an offer. After the interview, 49% want to hear from the company periodically, even if there’s no update.
Post-interview feedback is even more influential to job-seekers. 94% of those surveyed want feedback, and those that receive it are four times as likely to consider the company for a future opportunity. Yet only 41% of respondents say they’ve received feedback in any form.
What this means for you: Candidate care can be a powerful differentiator for your organization. It can reinforce your employer brand and show off your culture — which is one of the top three factors in US and Canadian job-seekers’ consideration of a job offer. If you’re keeping candidates waiting in the lobby, not telling them about your culture, and not communicating with them after the interview, you could be alienating your ideal workers. Make candidate experience a valued part of your recruiting and employer branding efforts to stay ahead of your competitors.
LinkedIn’s survey makes clear that there are three important factors for hiring in the competitive landscape: Employer branding, social media recruiting, and candidate experience. Job-seekers, both active and passive, are searching for companies that engage them online, treat them well during the application process, and have a reputation as an employer of choice. Looking ahead to your 2016 budget, these areas should take focus. They certainly will for your competitors.
Brandemix has worked on successful initiatives in all three fields. If you’d like our expertise in helping you attract top talent, contact us for more information.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.
Implementing a social media strategy for marketing, branding, or recruiting isn’t as daunting as it seems. Still, there are questions — not obvious at the start — that become very important as your social presence expands. Make sure you address these issues to get the most out of your social media initiatives.
I’m not talking about the easy questions, which I’ve outlined before. Those boil down to who your target audiences, what you want them to do, and how they respond. The more complicated questions affect not only your audience but your content and your workflow as well. Answer these to ensure smooth sailing.
All my clients have must-haves: They must be on Instagram, or post humorous content, produce day-in-the-life YouTube videos of their employees. But when analyzing your competitors, be sure to note what they do wrong and what their weaknesses are. Learn from their mistakes. In my competitive analyses, I’ve seen brands that litter their tweets with @mentions and hashtags; brands that post two Facebook articles within five minutes of each other; and brands that ignore comments and replies. You may also find that your audience isn’t on Instagram after all, so you can safely drop it from your strategy — at least for now. Maybe your content does fine without any extra humor, or maybe video is too difficult or expensive for this year’s budget. Must-NOT-haves can be just as useful as must-haves…and they’re always free!
There are important days for your company: New product launches, company anniversaries, hiring fairs. Your organization might also hold seasonal events, such as a hiring spree near graduation time, or special offers around the winter holidays. Plan your social media posts for those events in advance to build buzz and awareness. Make sure someone is there to take photos and tweet, so that your fans (or job-seekers or employees) can follow along in real time and experience it no matter where they are. Of course, what this question really means is that you should have an editorial calendar for your social media content, taking advantage of any important dates to increase interaction and conversions.
The person who creates isn’t always the one who posts. Social media recruiters may find photos coming from marketing. Social marketers may get instructions from the C-suite. Multiple departments may want, or even think they have, final approval over posts. Making sure the workflow and approval process is clear to everyone involved is essential to an effective social media strategy. A weak link in the chain can lead to all kinds of very public disasters, as well as hurt feelings — but also missed opportunities, as stakeholders who could have provided assistance or insights are wrongly sidelined. A clear social media policy, with agreed-upon procedures for likely scenarios (i.e. someone complains on Twitter and tags CNN), can make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them. While we’re on the subject: who’s creating and posting the content when the regular person is on vacation? Better put that on the calendar mentioned in question 2.
This often requires the help from colleagues outside your department. People won’t know about your social channels if they’re not highlighted throughout your materials and documents. First and foremost, that means a prominent placement on your website (and careers site for social recruiting). It also means adding URLs, shortened links, and/or icons to your letterhead, business cards, brochures, presentations, and “leave-behinds.” Micro-sites, splash pages, and your LinkedIn company page as well. And your social channels should mention each other! Put your Twitter handle on your Facebook page, a Facebook link on your Instagram, your Instagram on your YouTube, etc. Even if followers of one platform don’t follow you to another, it’s important that they know you’re engaged on multiple channels and are keeping up with your competitors. Any organization — even a non-profit — that’s not on a few social media platforms looks old-fashioned and unattractive to customers and job-seekers alike.
The answer often eludes organizations who are entering the social space for the first time. Social media is great, and follows, likes, shares, and comments are wonderful, but what are your actual goals? Do you want fans to click a certain link, apply for a job, read an article, download a paper, buy a product, visit your website? If so, your strategy should be tailored to that outcome. A goal like “brand awareness” or “recognition as an employer of choice” is fine, but it helps to have some kind of metrics to make sure you’re on the right track. In cases like those, shares, retweets, and repins are more valuable than simple favorites or likes, which Ford Motor Company’s social media director called nothing more than “digital grunts.” Determining objectives and benchmarks will keep your content from seeming aimless — and ensure your realize social media’s full potential for your organization.
Brandemix has ten years of experience in creating social strategies for marketing, branding, employer branding, and recruiting initiatives on both small and large scales. View our most successful work, download our exclusive Social Media Marketing Strategy Guide, or contact us for more information.
Jason Ginsburg is Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix.
Several employer branding reports have come out in the last few months, including surveys from Futurestep, Universum, BLR, and my agency Brandemix. Together, they produce a fascinating snapshot of where employer branding is today — and where it’s headed.
One issue that becomes apparent right away is what an employer brand is and whether a company has an official, formal one. While 59% of respondents to Brandemix’s survey said their company had an articulated employer brand, only 27% of BLR’s respondents said so. I think this disparity can be blamed on some executives, especially outside of HR, not being clear on what an employer brand is, or how it differentiates from a consumer-facing brand.
Another range of responses, but probably because of different corporate philosophies rather than confusion. In Universum’s survey, 60% of CEOs said they “owned” employer branding, while a majority of talent acquisition executives said that HR owned it. Marketing executives were split, with 40% saying HR owned the role and 40% saying the CEO owned it. 58% of BLR’s respondents said HR was responsible for employer branding, with 25% naming “Other,” naming such positions as Social Media Strategist, Community Relations Manager, and Communications Manager.
Organizations are using an employer brand to address a large number of challenges. In our survey, the top two goals for an employer brand were “Recognition as an employer of choice” and “Ease in attracting candidates.” The top for Universum’s respondents were filling positions in the short and long terms, followed by “Improving retention” and “Differentiation ourselves from the competition.” While 69% of BLR’s respondents said that filling job openings was the main objective, 41% said it was also to “raise the company’s profile among consumers.” BLR also discussed what it called “internal branding,” aimed at employees instead of job-seekers (a distinction most companies don’t make), whose most popular goals were to raise employee engagement (66%) and increase retention (58%).
It’s evident that strong employer brands do more than simply fill open positions: They speak not just to job-seekers but also to current employees and even consumers. They set the company apart from its competitors, increase worker engagement, and improve retention. Futurestep’s survey found that the qualities that provided the best competitive advantage were organizational culture (63%) and employer brand (26%). Of course, job-seekers won’t know about the former without the latter.
The short answer: Yes. It certainly works more than not having an employer brand, letting your competitors better position themselves, and allowing their employer brands to de-position your organization.
In BLR’s survey, 48% of respondents said their employer brand was either “very” or “somewhat” successful in boosting employee morale. 80% of larger companies and an amazing 91% of smaller companies in the Brandemix survey said their employer brand was successful. Our survey found that success was was linked to both “hard” metrics like increased applications and career site traffic and “soft” metrics like higher employee engagement and better quality of hire. A recent LinkedIn report showed that companies with a strong employer brand have a turnover rate 28% lower than companies with a weak or non-existent one.
The Brandemix survey found that 22% respondents who didn’t have a formal employer brand intended to create one within the next year. PwC’s Global CEO Survey found that 93% of CEOs say they must change their recruiting strategy to attract and retain talent, but 61% say they haven’t taken any steps to do so. Add to these intentions the fact the job market continues to improve, with an unemployment rate last month of just 5.3%, and LinkedIn’s finding that only 30% of the global workforce is actively looking for new opportunities. It looks like the competition for talent is going to increase, making a strong employer brand — or an updated one — a necessity for every organization.
Ready to create or improve your employer brand to better compete in the marketplace and attract your ideal candidates? Brandemix makes it easy to get started with our Rapid-Cycle Talent Branding, which will furnish your organization with a real and compelling brand framework, articulating the benefits and realities of your culture and business objectives. Learn more here.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.