Thursday, 19 July 2012

SMEs Using Social Media to Recruit: FAQs

smes using social media 150x150 SMEs Using Social Media to Recruit: FAQsAre you a small to medium sized business wondering if social media recruitment is right for you?

Once upon a time, it was only big organisations that were fully able to leverage the power of the internet as a tool for attracting and building talent pools.

But today, the rise of social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, has given SMEs a vital and cost-effective way of interacting with and identifying potential employees. And in addition to a candidate rich market full of far greater talent than there is demand; research has found more than half of UK job seekers now use social media to assist them in their job searches.

But how do SMEs take full advantage of this opportunity?

Here are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions by SMEs when considering leveraging the recruitment benefits of social media.

We’re a small business, how will potential candidates find us online?

SMEs are in a difficult situation as they do not always attract the best candidates compared to well-know corporates and big brands.

Whilst there is no simple answer, there are a few things SMEs can do to help increase their online visibility. For example, you can use social buttons as a simple way for candidates to find and follow your social platforms when visiting your company website. You could also share keyword optimised content, such as blogs, to help raise your online profile.

What platforms are best for an SME looking to recruit using social media?

Choosing the right social platforms to spread your message is key to your success.

Consider the type of candidate you’re trying to attract. Do they spend more time on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn? Find out where people with specific interests, skills and experience related to your company are talking. What engages them? Online gaming, blogs, videos?

Whilst LinkedIn is an obvious choice of social network for recruitment, graduates spend more time on Facebook. Twitter works well for niche career specialisms through the #hashtag function.

Remember though, not everyone is signed up to every social media account. So combine your media to get your hiring message out. For example, integrate content and context using Twitter to share short sharp messages or links to your corporate blog, and Pinterest to expose your brand identity and share images of your company.

There are not enough hours in the day already, how will I find the time?

As an SME, you will have limited resources to dedicate to your social media strategy, and as such, it’s important to make the process efficient and financially viable. At a minimum, webrecruit suggests spending the following time on each platform:

LinkedIn – 2 hours per week

Twitter – Tweet twice a day

Facebook – Share three posts a week

Blog – Once a week

If you are unable to tweet regularly or struggle to find the time to share posts, there are tools available that can schedule your updates, such as Hootsuite. There are also sites dedicated to finding and recommending web content to its users, so if you need help with sharing your blog posts, you could try Stumble Upon.

How do we ensure our talent pools are engaging?

By using what others crave most – compelling, rich and engaging content – social media can have a massive reach creating tremendous value when it comes to recruitment. As such, it’s your company’s job to create a compelling environment where people frequently want to go.

If all you have on your social platforms are corporate videos and job descriptions, you are not moving beyond traditional recruitment. Think of exciting ways to drive engagement, such as crowdsourcing and gamification, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Get your own employees involved in your social platforms so they are visible and accessible to potential candidates. Answer questions about the company honestly and openly and don’t hide unmoderated comments and discussions. All of these are real engagement activities that strengthen relationships because they demonstrate an organisation’s ability to offer positive responses and extend trust.

I’m not getting the response I was hoping for, what should I do?

If you’ve posted a link to a job in a LinkedIn group or tweeted it and you haven’t had the interest you expected, look at how and why you are using that particular channel. Perhaps the type of candidate you are seeking doesn’t use it?

To overcome this, set clear, realistic objectives, monitor the response and evaluate the resources you have invested in. You may find you have to take an integrated approach. For example, use Twitter to share your latest job posting, but write a follow up blog that is keyword-rich to source candidates using those particular words.

As more SMEs begin the process of transitioning into social media recruitment, it’s important to remember that it is of course, only one more channel. People will still search for jobs on Google and use job boards, but the social arena is growing fast. And when this new way of working is wholeheartedly embraced, social media could provide a genuine opportunity to identify the best talent for your SME business.

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