By Peter Weddle for Hcareers.com
For the past five years, social recruiting has primarily been implemented in two ways: data mining pools of talent and networking with prospective candidates at social media sites. While such techniques will continue to be important, the thrust of social recruiting in the future will shift to a far different kind of activity: building and leveraging individual allegiance at employer and staffing firm sites. It’s the next phase in the War for Talent – the era of post-social recruiting.
The current incarnation of social recruiting has been stimulated and structured by social media sites. The way we socialize with candidates is governed by the format, functionality and focus of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. These sites enable us to promote our brands, advertise to and connect with large pools of professionals in a wide range of industries.
These interactions have effectively defined social recruiting as a fleeting and thoroughly functional relationship. Basically, we’re saying to prospects: “Hey, we’re a buyer of talent, you’re a seller of talent, let’s do a deal.” While it isn’t the most alluring of propositions, the fact that it is aimed at a cohort of the workforce not easily reached by other media – so-called passive job seekers – has made it an important addition to our recruiting capabilities.
The word “social,” however, means something very different from fleeting and functional relationships. Dictionary.com defines the term as “pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.” Translated for our purposes, it is the creation and ongoing development of individual allegiance. That’s post-social, at least as we have to this point understood social recruiting, but truly social if we intend to use social technology on a large enough scale to address more than one-off requirements.
Post-social recruiting means interactions with prospects, candidates and applicants that make them feel at home with and thus committed to an organization. It gives employers and staffing firms a way to forge an enduring bond – a psychological rather than simply an electronic connection – with select talent populations.
Why is it the future of social recruiting? Because of the past. In the early 1990s, economic conditions and competition forced employers to change the way they dealt with employees. They could no longer afford the expensive overhead of managing workers’ careers, so they jettisoned both the career ladder and the gold watch. They still employed those workers, of course, but each person was on their own when it came to managing their career.
In the two decades since then, individual workers have had no place to hang their career hat. No homestead where they can get the practical and psychological support they need and deserve. Professional societies and associations have long served that purpose for a person’s field of work, but nothing has existed for a person’s career.
And now, the potential exists to correct that situation and, in the process, create a formidable, new talent acquisition strategy. Post-social recruiting involves using social technology to create true career communities – not today’s posers that are actually databases of candidates – without the expensive overhead of traditional corporate career support. These virtual “careersteads” nurture allegiance among talented workers and that bond, in turn, transforms them into genuine employment prospects.
Careersteading for Talent
A post-social community is not a network of active or passive job seekers. It is not a one-off interaction based on a specific opening. Rather, a careerstead is an ongoing relationship that employers and staffing firms establish with prospects (i.e., people who haven’t even expressed an interest in working for an organization) as well as with candidates and applicants.
Its purpose is not near term sourcing, but rather, long term interactions that help to promote the career success of those who participate. That effort, in turn, develops and sustains individual allegiance, and it’s that bond which generates recruiting benefits. These benefits include:
• A heightened viral effect, because those who participate feel safe and supported enough to tell their peers about the community. The allegiance community members feel toward the organization encourages them to champion participation in it to others in their field.
• A heightened employment propensity, because those who participate feel as if the organization has their best interests at heart. The allegiance of community members encourages them to work for the organization as many times as possible throughout their career.
In effect, a careerstead is a highly focused, self-sustaining talent generator that exclusively serves the recruiting interests of a single employer or staffing firm.
How do you create such a community? Not with questions and answers on a Facebook page. And, not with job postings in a LinkedIn group or on Twitter feed. No, the only way to establish a true careerstead – one that scales the power of social technology to address all or most of an organization’s talent requirements – is by breaking all the rules we’ve learned to date about social recruiting. I’ll talk more about that in my next column.
Thanks for reading,
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Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including WEDDLE's 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet, The Career Activist Republic, Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System and Recognizing Richard Rabbit. Get them at Amazon.com and http://weddles.com today.
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