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I came away from Bill Boorman’s #TRU “unconference” in San Francisco with an analogy that emerged during my track on ‘social’ (1) recruiting: social referrals are to Spotify (2) what social media recruiting, as we know it, is to Pandora (3). This analogy may not immediately sound like music to your ears, but hear me out.
The idea was initially borne after reading this Mashable article on the “brilliance” of Facebook’s new advertising strategy and recalling my recent discovery of new music via friends’ Spotify activity on Facebook. How does this relate to recruiting? At their core, job opportunities discovered through social media referrals are compelling for the same reason music discovered on Spotify is interesting. More specifically, both leverage true “peer-to-peer” relationships to help promote the discovery of interesting content—social referrals’ case, job opportunities (4).
Fellow attendees at #TruSanFran offered an insightful question about my analogy: What’s the Pandora of recruiting? Social recruiting (5) as we know it—a practice largely characterized, at present, by broadcasting open jobs — was the obvious answer. Much to the chagrin of many practice leaders, the missing element of ‘social’ recruiting, as it currently stands, is often the engagement that actually makes social media powerful recruiting channels (6). Still, the general approach remains powerful: audiences opt-in to a channel (in this context, connecting with recruiters on social networks, and tacitly consenting to exposure to their updates), which can curate content based on individuals’ preferences.
That leaves us with job boards, which have no better parallel than satellite radio. Candidates are presented with a wide variety of choices—perhaps too wide—and must actively “tune-in” to job boards’ and until they find what they’re looking for (7). Recruiters, as Doug Ellinger writes, are left “chumming the waters” for good candidates, much like radio advertisers can only pray that their expensive campaigns are reaching the right audience. Like their counterpart in satellite radio, it doesn’t take a seer to see that many recruiters are witnessing a decline in ROI of spending on job boards, and are moving toward the “easier, faster and more effective” solutions of social recruiting, as Ward Christman notes.
So which is better — the ‘Spotify’, ‘Pandora’ or ‘satellite radio’ approach? I will dive deeper into what this means and approaches to thinking about it during the presentation.