The volume of traffic on social media today is staggering. As of spring of this year Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn draw in over 2 billion monthly active users1 combined. With so much information being exchanged on such a wide scale, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to not just target their message to a specific group but actually make it resonate in a vast sea of competing content.
This reality is proving particularly challenging in the case of social recruiting. Engaging potential recruits, and young talent in particular, via social channels continues to be a struggle for many companies.
With that in mind we wanted to dive deeper! We recently organised an event to explore where social recruiting strategies go wrong and to uncover the secrets behind a more successful approach. And what better way to find out what works for millennials than to speak with some young professionals about this in person?
With my colleagues, 30 Oracle clients and a group of willing millennials on hand we wasted no time in splitting everyone up into groups and getting the conversation started. Minutes later, it become clear businesses still have a lot to learn about engaging young people via social.
What follows are some of the findings that really stuck with me after spending the day with the bright young minds in attendance:
Real conversations don’t happen on social: Social media is an engagement platform first and foremost. While a proactive LinkedIn message is perfectly suitable for first contact, our attendees made it clear they prefer to continue their conversation with HR or Line Management via email or over the phone.
Get personal: Generic messages blasted out to the masses will just be treated as spam alongside all the other impersonal messages young people receive and swiftly be deleted. Or worse yet, they may not even register. Messages with typos or that were clearly pulled together in a hurry are just as ineffective. Our young informants were adamant in specifying they want to see that some effort has been put into a company’s social posts or messages.
Bring recruits into the fold: Young people want to feel they are being courted because they are unique. That’s why some companies have taken to hosting intimate online forums or live on-site visits with just a few recruits to give them a deeper dive into the business or a particular role. Once too many people are brought into the fold many potential hires will feel less valued and look for an organisation that is more interested in their specific skillset.
Above all else, be real: With few exceptions, potential hires want to know they’ll be working with people they can relate to, not with robots. When a recruitment message from HR reads like it was pulled together by Deep Blue a recipient is hardly likely to believe a real person put real thought into it, and certainly won’t expect the company who sent it to be much fun to work for. Even when it comes to the photos companies use to recruit on social media, the young attendees I spoke to said they are more likely to engage with in-the-moment snaps of real life in the office than with the glossy corporate photographs still favoured by many businesses. Social media is very much about spontaneity and sharing moments as they unfold; active users will quickly see through content that comes off as calculated and pre-meditated
So there you have it. The inescapable takeaway from the above revelations is that there remains a disconnect between the social recruiting strategies companies employ today and how young workers actually engage with social media. On the bright side, the businesses who attended our event now have a better idea of how to bridge the gap.
I cannot stress the value of discussions like these in helping businesses improve their recruitment strategies. Even in the digital age the best way to learn something is often to just sit down with the right people and have a real-life conversation.
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