Make the Most of Social Media

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Social media is now fertile ground for the recruiting and staffing industries. Despite this, a major study of trends in the recruitment industry reported last year that fewer than half of recruiters believe their companies have an effective strategy for finding candidates on social networks or major search engines.

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Make the Most of Social Media

  1. 1. Social Media for Recruiters:Making the Most of Social Networking
  2. 2. IntroductionDespite the increasing growth of online communities, many recruiters are failing to leverage social media. With more andmore people creating information-rich online profiles and participating in social networks every day, online communities havebecome productive sources for candidates, new job orders or both.Yet the recruitment industry has yet to truly mine this fertile resource, according to a major project studying trends in therecruitment industry. The study reported last year that only 49 percent of recruiters believe that their companies have aneffective strategy for finding candidates on social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The same report, from theRecruitment Genome Project from Arbita, said only 47 percent of recruiters feel their companies have an effective strategy forfinding candidates using major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.Leaders in the recruitment industry, including Sendouts™, the leading, single-source provider of recruiting software for third-party recruitment and recruiting firms, say the primary reasons that recruiters are not taking full advantage of social mediaare:1. Not understanding the benefits of social media.2. Not understanding how to get started.3. Thinking social networking sites are more trouble than they are worth.In this brief but informative paper, Sendouts™ offers quick insight into why social networking is beneficial to recruiters, howto get started in social media, and how to expand your use over time in an effective and efficient manner to connect withnew clients and candidates.“What we sense from so many of our clients is that more recruiters would take advantage of social media if they only realizedits rich potential for improving their results and had a few solid tips for getting started, without worrying that it will consumetheir lives,” said Don Breckenridge, president and CEO of Sendouts™. “That’s why we have put together this article for therecruiting community.” Social Media for Recruiters: Making the Most of Social Networking
  3. 3. The Benefits of Social MediaIf you are not active in social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, you are simply missing the biggest boat to leavethe recruitment dock in a very long time. Forrester Research reported last year that four out of five people in the U.S.who have Internet access are active in social networks.1Recruiters also need to be very aware that the face of social media is changing. It is trending away from teenagers andhipsters who use social networks for personal pursuits, with increasing numbers of older users, who are utilizing socialnetworks for professional reasons. The Conference Board reported last summer that participation in social networks by olderAmericans grew threefold over the previous year and that the primary purposes for older users are career management andprofessional networking.2“Social media is here to stay,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Onlinesocial networks are more than just a fad [solely] among the younger generation. They’ve become an integral part of ourprofessional lives.”With the expanded use of social media across professional demographics, social networks have become a sort of living clientand candidate database for recruiters. The emergence of search tools for connecting with people in these networks as wellas new opportunities for advertising jobs directly to the members of social networks have significantly increased their value.According to Shally Steckerl, one of the world’s foremost social media recruiting experts, “Social media is proactive. Itrequires strategy, not just tactics and operations. It requires recruiters to be a little more thoughtful in engaging the mediumand to spend a little more time in conversation with people. Most recruiters know that time is money, so they are reticent toget started with social media recruiting because of the ramp-up time. But once the learning curve is over, the benefits areprofound.”The bottom line: Social networks are the world’s largest, richest and most meticulously updated source of information aboutcompanies that could be clients and people who could be candidates.It can take a bit of time to learn to use these tools. But the experts at the forefront of guiding recruiters in the use of socialmedia are adamant that their efforts and time will return significant dividends.“At some point in time, everybody is going to be on the Internet, and sourcing as we know it today will be permanentlychanged,” says Mark Berger, owner of Swat Recruiting, which specializes in supporting the technology needs of the recruitingand staffing industry.31 Forrester Research, 2009, “The Broad Reach of Social Technologies.”2 The Conference Board, June 2009, “Social Media Explosion,” http://www.conference-board.org/utilities/pressDetail.cfm?press_ID=36693 Mark Berger, personal interview, March 2010. Social Media for Recruiters: Making the Most of Social Networking
  4. 4. How to Get Started Using Social Media“Recruiters are all about networking, making contacts, making a connection with one person and turning that into anotherconnection, then another,” Breckenridge says. “Social media enables recruiters to do that on a scale that was not possiblebefore … and either incredibly inexpensively or for free.”“One of the greatest things about most social networks is that they are easy to navigate, have nice and intuitive interfacesand are one more tool for recruiters to get their foot in the door with potential candidates and clients,” Berger says.Breckenridge and Berger agree that the first step in leveraging social media is simply to jump right in and get started. But it’seasy to get overwhelmed quickly with all the possibilities. Below are a few tips for starting slow and maintaining a reasonablelevel of activity:1. Create Your Profiles – The big three networks today are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Start by logging into all three and creating a profile. Don’t worry too much about the completeness of your profile; you can always edit it later. In fact, you really only need your name, a brief professional description, your website link, your email address and your logo or company brand.2. Connect with People – Once you have created a profile, start connecting with people. Use your address book (and steel-trap memory) to find people within your social networks to connect with. Start by connecting with people you know. Later, you can find new ways to connect with larger groups of people. Remember that the more people you connect with, the more reach you will have within the social network.3. Participate – Every social network provides multiple opportunities to create and interact with content. The more active you are, the more rewards you will receive. Participating does not require a lot of time, and you do not need to launch full-bore into a life of social media, hiring a full-time assistant or a consultant to do it for you. Simply spend a few minutes each day updating your status and adding new members to your network.4. Don’t Get Overwhelmed, Look Down the Road for Returns – Many of the most successful online recruiters simply spend a few minutes each morning before they start hitting the phones to contribute something to their communities (and current social media tools make it easy to post to several of your communities with one click; more on that in the following sections). Your contribution can be as basic and simple as a job posting or a short comment on an article you recently read. Later, when you feel more comfortable with the format, you may choose to develop blogs and articles of your own. That is the road to becoming a thought leader; and it is an easier road to travel than you might think. But it does not happen overnight.“Social media for effective recruiting is more of a strategy that you need to employ over a period of time,” Berger says.“The big power of social media is to implement your brand. That takes time. It could be six months. It could be a year. Andrecruiters, because of their sales orientation, are an instantaneous-results kind of people.”The bottom line: It is important to participate in your communities, keep your profiles updated, develop a manageable,effective social networking work habit, stay with it and consider social media a brand-building long-term strategy. Social Media for Recruiters: Making the Most of Social Networking
  5. 5. Expanding Your ReachOnce you have mastered the basics on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you may choose to expand your reach byparticipating in other social networks (there are literally millions of social networks on the Internet) and by increasing youractivities within these networks. Here are a few tips for expanding your use of social networks:1. Join Other Networks – Using only Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, recruiters have the ability to potentially find, communicate with, engage and build relationships with well over 460 million users. Of course, not nearly a fraction of them will be your Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers. But you can easily see the potential. However, MySpace, Plaxo and Ning are excellent options for expanding into new networks. Ning is a social networking platform that allows users to create their own networks on any topic. Example: RecruitingBlogs.com2. Social Media Sourcing – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have tools that enable users to conduct advanced searches very easily, with fill-in-the-blank or menu-type forms and without any need for mathematical logic. An advantage of using these advanced search functions is that you are not just searching within your network but the entire universe of the program’s users. For recruiters, this means you have the ability to search for candidates by capabilities, geography, job title or any number of other parameters.3. Sourcing Tools – Some recruiting software programs provide tools to help their users mine the vast world of social media. For example, SourcePro Toolbar™, a feature of Sendouts™ recruiting software, enables users to pull candidate profiles from popular social and professional networks and any Web page with candidate information. The toolbar enables users to select the source, add to a specific job order and categorize candidates directly from the page.4. Posting Tools – Social media posting tools are another time-saver to consider. Rather than going to each social network and updating manually, these tools enable recruiters to save time by posting from one source to multiple social networks. Many recruiters use FriendFeed, a social media aggregator that allows users to consolidate their social media accounts and view and post content to any or all of them from one convenient dashboard.5. Aggregators – Aggregators are another type of tool to mine the world of social media for recruitment sourcing. Job aggregators are powerful, sophisticated search engines that pull job postings from thousands of corporate and personal websites and job boards. For example, Indeed.com allows recruiters to locate jobs posted on thousands of company career sites, job boards, newspapers, blogs and associations. Simply Hired is a vertical search engine with one of the largest online databases of jobs. And aggregators also work in reverse: They allow you to blast your job posts, blog posts or any other content to all of your sites from a single point.These types of tools are even more effective when they’re integrated into your recruitment software. Sendouts, for example,includes both Indeed.com and Simply Hired at no charge to Sendouts clients. Sendouts Surge enables recruiters to useRSS feed technology to pull their WebConnect job postings and feed them to Indeed.com and Simply Hired for maximumexposure. Social Media for Recruiters: Making the Most of Social Networking
  6. 6. Bonus Section 1: An Introduction to Sourcing for FreeIn the world of social media, with so many candidates having multiple online profiles, finding the right person for that one jobis an achievable task. But you need to be willing to learn how to use the free tools that are available.Here are a few of the most common: • Bookmarklets: These take you directly to a website and then typically bring up a small prompt window that asks you for certain information (e.g., search keywords, target domains or company names). They then run everything else needed to display the results. For information on running bookmarklets in specific browsers, visit www. bookmarklets.com. • Thematic searches: Using the ~ (tilde) Google command immediately returns synonyms of the searched term. This could throw a wider net than you might have thought for your search. Similarly, the Google command related: followed by the domain of a website will return that site’s competitors and related associations. • LinkedIn: There are several methods for getting within three degrees of millions of people quickly on LinkedIn. For example, the websites MyLink500.com and TopLinked.com have the names and links to the highest-connected LinkedIn members. You can import your Outlook contacts directly into LinkedIn’s toolbar and make them connections, which will lead to more connections from there. • Free company searches: Sites such as Jigsaw.com and ZoomInfo.com allow you to find contacts at almost any company for free.Bonus Section 2: An Introduction to Social Media for PostingSocial media is equally advantageous for boosting a recruiter’s posting effectiveness as it is for sourcing. “It’s all part ofgrowing your network, growing your brand,” Berger says.As with tools for using social media for sourcing, tools and tips also exist to help with posting.1. TweetMyJobs, for example, is a Twitter job board that has nearly 8,400 vertical job channels segmented by geography, job type and industry. TweetMyJobs is able to link recruiters with targeted job candidates instantly anytime a new job is posted to its service – which includes any jobs you post.2. SMARTTweet™, another application from the providers of TweetMyJobs, enables recruiters to reach targeted job seekers and the millions of Twitter users around the world.As discussed in the previous section, other applications, such as FriendFeed, Ping.fm and HootSuite enable you to broadcastpostings to multiple communities at once. For example, you can write a blog post and use Ping.fm to push the post (or jobposting) to any number of social websites at once. Social Media for Recruiters: Making the Most of Social Networking
  7. 7. Bonus Section 3: Top 10 ChecklistThe checklist below is a summary of the content covered in this article. Use this checklist to guide your social networkingactivity for the next several months. When you’ve mastered one step, move on to the next. Before you know it, you’ll be areal social media recruiting expert.1. Create pages on the big three networks, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, starting with basic information (your name, a brief professional description, your website link, your email address and your logo or company brand).2. Post regularly to your pages (at least weekly, preferably more often) to each of your networks (a job posting, a comment on an article you’ve read, notes about a seminar or webinar you attended, etc.).3. Create pages on at least three “secondary” networks. Consider MySpace, Plaxo and Ning.4. Learn and use the advanced search tools within Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to more quickly source candidates.5. Use social media aggregators, such as SourcePro Toolbar™, a feature of Sendouts™ recruiting software, and FriendFeed to pull candidate profiles from popular social and professional networks and any Web page with candidate information.6. Learn the basics of free shortcuts and company search sites (e.g., Jigsaw.com and ZoomInfo.com) to find contacts at almost any company for free.7. Use job aggregators such as Indeed.com and Simply Hired to pull job postings from thousands of corporate and personal websites and job boards.8. Use job aggregators to blast your job posts, blog posts or any other content to all of your sites from a single point.9. Use recruitment software that has integrated social media and job aggregator features, such as Sendouts™.10. Take advantage of powerful job posting channels on social media (e.g., TweetMyJobs, SMARTTweet™, FriendFeed and Ping.fm). Social Media for Recruiters: Making the Most of Social Networking
  8. 8. Conclusion“The world of recruiting has absolutely changed with social networks,” Breckenridge says. “Recruiters who move tounderstand and use these tools now will be ahead of the curve as the job market picks up and more and more job ordersstart getting filled.”Understanding and using social media can help recruiters work faster, smarter and more effectively than ever before. Thefirst step is to overcome concerns that social media is difficult to use, too time-consuming or not a tool that belongs in arecruiter’s tool kit.Then it is all about learning the basics, getting started with a few social networks, updating your profile or posting regularly,learning a few tricks of the trade to make the Web work more efficiently for you as both a sourcing and a posting tool, andsticking to the basics until you are comfortable moving into more sophisticated tools.About SendoutsSendouts™ is the leading, single-source provider of recruiting software for third-party recruiting and staffing firms. SendoutsSurge Web-based recruiting software enables recruiting firms to streamline their recruiting process, increase productivity,and make more placements. Additionally, Sendouts provides unparalleled training and support and is backed by an industryleading 98% customer satisfaction rate. Sendouts clients on average achieve an internal growth rate of 48% and increase joborder fill rates by over 20%. Sendouts helps more than 1000 firms automate and manage the entire recruiting process, fromsales to final placement. For more information, visit www.Sendouts.com or call 877-309-5222. Social Media for Recruiters: Making the Most of Social Networking

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