Image via Madalina Balaban
Posted by
May 19, 2014

I’ve been doing some recruiting over the last few months. 3 people, to be precise, all of them infinitely more social than me (I’m nearly 40, social for me involves being able to sit down with the missus for more than 20 minutes in the evening). They’re teaching me more about marketing than I’ve learned in the last 15 years, but above all, they’re teaching me that if we want to recruit more people like them, we’ve got to get our social on.

Candidates are choosy

I can yak on all I like about how millenials are not millenials and they’re just real people, but they are slightly different in their approach to their careers. And this is stereotyping older generations a little, but bear with me… in “days gone by”, people had defined career paths.

They sought security that came with internal promotion, they sought stability in ‘solid’ jobs and very specific career paths that came with, for example, graduate schemes.

My own generation started to tear this up, jumping around from job to job, but still with the same idea of career path at a very early age – but less reliant on one single employer. What we didn’t do was feel that we were empowered enough to “choose” our own employer. The very idea! Employers choose us!

Even in a world where youth unemployment is at an all-time high, the most talented young employees are choosy about where they go.

They want ethical employers, they want CSR portfolios, they want somewhere they can grow as a person and somewhere they can make a difference. They’re reading your Twitter feeds, they’re watching your output, they’re on your Facebook page, they’re probably even pinning your stuff on Pinterest.

The ease with which people younger than I take to technology is frightening (you should see my 3-year-old daughter on an iPad). They see it as a natural extension of their lives, and that explains why they see social as a natural extension of a business. Candidates are choosy, so if you’re not providing the evidence they want to see that you are the kind of people they want to work with, then you’re getting it wrong. Image via L.E.E

You should be choosy first, though 

In order to get the people you want, you’re going to have to understand the future profile of your business a little better.

Simply replacing employees as they leave isn’t the way forward. Understanding the kind of people who are going to help you grow – whether they join today, next year or in five years’ time, is the way forward in this social world.

This is where HR and Marketing need to get round a table and talk. The way you talk about your business is the way you project yourself not just to prospects (hello, marketing), but to prospective candidates (hello, HR).

Who do you, the recruiter, wish to hire in the next few years if you’re going to grow the business? And therefore, how are you going to project your employer brand through the social channels that are currently in the hands of your marketers?

You have a stake – and a business case – for getting involved and shaping that message. Your candidates are stalking you – a lack of output, or the wrong kind of messaging can result in a top candidate saying “you know what, they’re not half as interesting an employer as I thought, I’m going to go with the other guys.”

Crack the whip (metaphorically)

It’s one thing to decide to take control of your social employer brand, it’s another to get it on.

What’s your plan? One great thing we’ve decided to implement is a social “wall of fame” (not shame), but it’s giving us the opportunity to highlight who has blogged, who has tweeted, who has shared, who has pinned stuff, etc. in a week. The winner gets out of making tea for the next week.

How very British. We don’t crack whips, we leave them on display.

But it’s a great incentive to get people more active, and if your brand relies on the expertise of your people, putting your people out there through social channels (and ensuring that they’re using personal-business handles) displays not just expertise, but atmosphere. It shows candidates that you want to profile your people and advance them.

And that you’re a good place to work.

So get yer social on – it’ll pay off. – Tweet it!