I was at a recruiting tweet-up (RTU) ie Twitter meet-up that was part of Social Media Week London last night and was delighted to meet lots of new people and some old friends including Mervyn Dinnen, Gareth Jones, Wendy Jacob and Bill Boorman (pictured) – plus Paul Harrison after I’d put my camera away.
Before that, there was a presentation / discussion on social recruiting which focused around what this is / isn’t, including some examples of good case studies (Microsoft, Cisco, Sodexho, Deloitte NZ).
Matt Alder (see here and here) kicked the presentations off by explaining what social media isn’t, ie advertising. And I think the final definition that was suggested(a bit hard to be certain above the noise of the clinking glasses) was people having a conversation on-line.
But I liked Wendy’s suggestion: “talking to people, that’s all it is – getting to know the real you”. I like the ‘real you’ piece – SR’s not a conversation about a job, it’s about the person. And I like the absence of the ‘online’ bit.
To me, SR is something we’ve always done, but which is now substantially easier because people are online, and particularly because they’re on 2.0 too.
So as Matt said, it’s different to non-social recruiting in that it’s not just about advertising jobs. And it’s not just about receiving applications. It’s linking the organisation and an individual together through conversations and by developing a relationship. So something like an employee referral scheme would come within the definition of SR for me.
But there is another bit here too though. I’ve previously suggested that social learning should mean learning of the social unit (the team or the organisation as a whole) and not just learning socially (generating, co-creating and sharing content, collaborating etc). And I think this should apply to recruitment too. So I’d suggest that SR isn’t just about using relationships to recruit, it needs to be about developing and then maintaining relationships because these are going to be critical to engagement, retention, collaboration etc after a person joins.
The presentations then moved on to the benefits of SR and the suggestion was that it is good for recruiting young people cheaply.
As you might guess from my definition of the concept, I think this benefit is a bit weak. SR isn’t (shouldn’t be) just about young people, and it’s not just about efficiency. The opportunity is to use SR to get people you’ve never been able to tap before, and to provide your organisation with more / better people with better relationships between then too (higher levels of human and social capital).
SR provides an opportunity to transform what your organisation is capable of doing. If all you focus on is activity (doing things on line) and efficiency (doing HR more cheaply) don’t be surprised when you find it hard to engage the business in this!
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