5 things to avoid when using social networks

Social media mistakes

If there’s one thing that social media is great at, it’s finding and connecting people. And as a recruiter you want to be where the most qualified, talented and largest pool of applicants are, which is why social networks and recruitment make such potentially good bedfellows. It’s also why ‘social recruiting’ is gaining prominence within the recruitment sector and it’s hardly surprising given that LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter combined have over 535 million users. That’s a lot of potential talent for your clients or your company.

However, it’s also easy to get carried away with the numbers, and recruiters need to develop some solid working practices to make sure they get the most out of these channels.

We’ve listed the five most common areas where recruiters fall down in social media to help you avoid these particular pitfalls.

 

Get your message right

When today’s job candidates are looking for a new opportunity or simply surveying the jobs market, they more often than not use a combination of search engines, social networks and personal connections to find the best places to work. They’ll also do the same to check out any jobs that they might like the look of, in an attempt to find more about that company and what it is really like to work there.

For companies, this means that they need to make sure that their online presence reflects the goals of their recruitment; the last thing they want is a fundamental disconnect in their messaging that leaves potential candidates either confused or questioning them. Most companies now have a presence on all the modern communication channels, but they also need to make sure that they are making the most of these from a future recruitment perspective, and this means not just looking at things from a customer engagement perspective but also from a recruitment perspective.

 

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

This is a natural extension to the above, companies need to make sure they don’t over invest on one area. Not all the best candidates will be on Facebook, for example, and some may not even have of heard of LinkedIn, so if you stick to one site, you run the risk of alienating candidates who could be perfect for the job.

Recruiters need to make sure they advertise and headhunt on a range of social networking sites to expand their candidate pool. Also, if there are any sites that focus on a specialist sector you are interested in then they should definitely be included. You wouldn’t advertise your job on one job site, so why focus on just one social media channel?

 

Understand where your audience is

If you want to accurately target your ideal candidate then you need to understand where they go and what they do online. For example, trawling Facebook for professional people is unlikely to be effective.

You’re much better off putting your effort into LinkedIn. If you’re seeking someone that’s vocal and a thought leader, then Twitter is a better bet. A growing important part of social recruitment is social profiling of the type of applicants you want to attract, if you know where they are then you know how to make your recruitment drive as effective as possible.

 

Be realistic

You won’t be able to make the most of social recruiting if you go into it blindly, so you need to make sure you have a plan. And that plan needs to be realistically achievable.

You won’t necessarily be able to do everything at once so start small; familiarise yourself with perhaps one channel to start with and then grow your reach gradually. Also, you’re social recruiting strategy will change depending on the role you are recruiting for, so make sure that you the weight you put on your potential candidates social presence is commensurate with the position.

 

Too much information

One of the big dangers with social recruiting is the level of information that recruiters have access to, from religion and age through to race and sexual preference. None of which would have a place on the modern application form, and this can seriously hinder rather than enhance the recruitment process.

While some positions require a flawless social media presence, for the rest you should avoid the temptations to go digging around too deeply in people’s profiles. Until you meet someone, you should be focused on general impressions of the candidate to see if they would fit into your organisation. Otherwise you might be restricting yourself by jumping to conclusions.

By the same token, don’t be tempted to penalise potential recruits for failing to let you into their inner sanctum on social networks. Despite the ability to segment people in your Facebook profile, people will still invariably want to keep their business contacts on that footing, so connecting via LinkedIn is often much more appropriate.

Undoubtedly, social media recruiting can really help an employer get to know a potential job candidate helping to answer a range of questions, such as is this a highly skilled, well-rounded individual that fits into their team? However, using social media recruiting requires time and effort, but it’s an investment in longer-term benefits for your company. Think of it as taking recruiting back to its grass roots, as networking for the digital age.

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