The world of recruitment has changed. Tech talent is in such high demand that many top candidates are constantly in the position of saying “no” to offers and recruiters—especially in major markets like Toronto.
The competition for these candidates is so high that companies doing recruitment the old fashioned way are at a serious disadvantage: last year’s best practices are today’s liabilities. But as with every shift, there’s tremendous opportunity, if you know where to look.
The widespread adoption of social media and other digital technologies has created the need for a recruitment process that reflects the times. Just as marketers are working with communities to extend and enrich their brand, forward-thinking recruiters have started using communities to deepen the talent pool from which they hire. For these companies, it’s paying off: according to a recent survey conducted by Jobvite, one in six respondents found their current or most recent job through an online social network (compared to about one in ten just a year ago).
But clearly successful social media recruitment is about far more than the number of Facebook ‘likes’, or the number of followers on LinkedIn or Twitter. Indeed, it is an important distinction that social media platforms are not your community, but rather just the channels through which your organization interacts with your community.
As the social media guru Chris Brogan says, “The difference between an audience and a community is in which direction the chairs are pointing.”
Creating your community demands a rethink about the way in which a company views its relationship with the world around it. It’s no longer sufficient to simply broadcast your message to the world. Community members demand interaction. They expect to interact with your company just as they would with their friends and other contacts. As the social media guru Chris Brogan says, “The difference between an audience and a community is in which direction the chairs are pointing.” At its heart, community is dialogue.
So how can companies build communities that are meaningful to their members and also satisfy their larger marketing and recruitment goals?
In the marketing space, consumers are already discussing the brand online, and the question for companies tends to be how to effectively engage in that dialogue. For savvy employers, the question is more about how to broaden the dialogue to include working at the company as part of the brand experience. Both goals are built on engagement: empowering and encouraging people to participate in the broader conversation.
Talented people make it their business to know other talented people. By including employees in the conversation from the start, a company can immediately broaden its network and keep interesting people nearby. Social media offers an easy path to do so: instead of banning employee use of social media, companies should be encouraging their employees to use these platforms to engage their peers in the conversation.
Discussion should be authentic, broad reaching, and unconstrained by implicit or explicit corporate policy (as much as possible). Given the freedom to do so, employees use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to discuss what they are working on at that moment, technology news, recent awards and recognitions their company just received, and of course what they did on the weekend—to name a few.
This open dialogue shows the human face of the organization. And when interested third parties can seamlessly engage with employees and stakeholders in casual conversation, they can quickly get a feel for whether or not they fit with the culture. When the formal conversation begins, neither party is an unknown quantity.
And that’s what communities are all about: changing the nature of the relationship inside the organization and the people outside of it. The best communities foster the best relationships, and they’ll find and retain the best talent.