Taking Your Recruiting Brand to the Next Level

February 24, 2014 3:26 pm Published by Tony Restell

With the hiring market building up steam again, recruiters are becoming increasingly nervous. Forward thinkers know there are two key success factors that will determine the winners and the losers; two assets that will set your company apart from its competitors.

The question is: Will your talent attraction strategy suffer from having overlooked one of these two key elements of future hiring success?

Let’s explore your potential vulnerabilities.



Identifying Talent and Making a Successful Hire

If we look back in time, there have always been two elements required for hiring success. First, a company has to be able to identify the talent it wishes to hire. Second, it has to be able to convert the identification of suitable talent into actual hires.

So how have companies historically fallen short? Well, in the last decade, the ability to identify the talent a company wished to hire necessitated that you:

  • Become an expert in the use of job boards and CV databases
  • Have an effective corporate website that attracted candidates in volume and enticed them to give you their details and become a part of your prospective talent pool
  • Maintain strong relationships with the recruitment agencies best placed to deliver candidates in your niche
  • Be visible at careers fairs, in newspaper career supplements, within careers guides, and at campus events

I’m sure you’ll agree that we can all think of companies who’ve lost out to competitors through a failure to get one or more of these things right. 

Similarly once a target shortlist has been drawn up, a number of factors have historically undermined success in producing actual hires. You’ve needed to:

  • Be able to put candidates through your recruiting process fast enough that they aren’t hired by a competitor
  • Offer a career path and remuneration package that’s compelling
  • Win the candidate over in terms of wanting to work for your business

No doubt you can think of companies in your industry who struggled to make the hires they needed owing to shortcomings in one or more of these areas.

How Social Recruiting Transforms These Challenges

Social media has had a massive impact on both aspects of recruiting success. In terms of identifying suitable talent, it has empowered both internal recruitment teams and external agencies to research a market and reach out to candidates in ways that hitherto were unthinkable. 

Many recruiters are actively looking to attract and reach out to candidates on Facebook. Some are using people aggregators to uncover less obvious targets through more effective mining of candidates’ social profiles and online presence. Increasingly, companies are finding that social networks are enhancing the results of their employee referral programs, too.

Social recruiting has massively strengthened recruiters’ ability to identify and approach candidates—and so your team’s ability to use these new approaches is undoubtedly a key success factor. 

What is less well understood is the role social media now plays in helping recruiters convert their target candidates into actual hires. It’s an area where there’s huge potential to differentiate your company—and where the early-mover advantage you’ll enjoy could be hugely significant.

Were Being Influenced By Social Media

Across industries it’s being reported that consumers are increasingly influenced by the social media presence of brands—and correspondingly less influenced by mainstream advertising. I’m witnessing something similar in the recruiting space. Companies investing in their social presence are becoming publishers in their own right. They are building their own niche candidate readership and a fan base of people ready to help multiply the reach of their recruiting messages.

The importance of this is two-fold. Firstly, you can expect to see an increase in the number of relevant candidates applying to your open vacancies across all media, thereby increasing your pipeline of potential hires.

Perhaps even more significant is the effect social media can have on candidate conversion. What a difference it would make if, when reaching out to candidates, their initial reaction was one of enthusiasm and interest. Your ratio of candidate approaches to interviews gets a boost. But then, as the candidate progresses through the interview stages, they are already won-over and want to work for your company. Your ratio of interviews to hires also gets a boost. 

This is how I foresee employer branding (and indeed recruiter branding) having a significant impact on your hiring fortunes as the market recovers. More and more recruiters are investing in their direct sourcing capabilities, spending on both training and licenses. Being adept at identifying and approaching the right talent will no longer be a significant differentiator. Rather, it’s something your company has to be able to do just to be in the game.

The real differentiator in each industry lies within the ability of recruiting teams to convert identified candidate targets into actual hires. That’s where your recruiting brand on social media stands to have such a dramatic impact on the business in years to come.

Strengthening Your Recruiting Brand on Social Media

You want to make sure your recruiting brand has at least as strong a voice on social media as any other in your market. How can you achieve this? I suggest you consider and act upon the following:

Research where your target candidates spend their time. Too many recruiters are fixated on LinkedIn, when research suggests that people are actually far more active – and can therefore be more successfully engaged – on other platforms, especially Facebook. Twitter and Google+ both offer huge scope for building a following of engaged candidates as well. For some industries, other sites like Pinterest present a great opportunity to showcase your company and its personality. Remember, if you’re only doing what everyone else is doing, you’re only going to generate the results that everyone else is generating. So reach out further than your competition—and with a personality and approach that’s tailored for each social site.

Invest time in thinking about what would really add value to your candidates’ lives. What challenges do professionals face in your industry—both in a business sense and also from a personal and work-life balance perspective? Sharing content that helps people overcome these obstacles and challenges is a great way of building a strong following, as well as a fan base of people always looking out for your next update. Similarly, sharing key news, reports, and data from your industry is a great way of making sure your profiles are valuable. Make updates about your own company only a small proportion of what you share and instead focus on what adds value to your target candidates’ lives.

Pounce on every opportunity to interact. Great networkers are always at ease sparking conversations and do so at a rate that more introverted professionals can never match. That’s what’s so great about social media. Other people are sharing content from your website, mentioning your company or talking about issues in your industry all the time. The potential for you to leap in and engage is immense. Be proactive in this way, and you will already be well ahead of the more conservative approach that most of your competitors will invariably take.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you in thinking about how you might better leverage social media in your teams’ recruiting strategy. If you have any questions or observations of things that have worked particularly well in your business, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.


This post was written by Tony Restell

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