Today’s technology with the advent of social networking sites is truly shrinking the world, increasing our ability to reach out in real time to an expanding number of people. Social network tools do what email and other formal communication methods cannot. They nurture connections and make it easier to reach others with similar interests and develop a community with these people. Great recruiters are using these resources to their advantage to reach beyond their traditional resume databases to more fluid and expanding networks.
To make connections in business communities, companies are taking a new approach to their recruiting practices. Best practice leaders build places on the Internet where candidates can interact with them, other employees, hiring managers, and peers. This works to break down the walls of traditional one-way dialogue in the recruitment process. By breaking down these barriers, candidates and all of us get what we expect: transparency, personalization, and politeness.
Common courtesies like these are what my former boss, Steve Harrison in his The Manager’s Book of Decencies, say creates a corporate culture where candidates can see how they are valued and feel appreciated. Such sentiments lend to a climate of sharing and contribution in the workplace. Considering how many abusive hiring processes still exist, we have to ask where these decencies have gone. Let’s figure out how to bring these people practices into our business with the help of social networking technologies. Here are some ideas to consider:
Seek to Understand – Conduct focus group sessions to understand what your newly hired employees thought of their hiring process. Be open to listening and changing your process or suggesting strategies that support a “human-approach” blended with technology and direct response.
Teach Hiring Managers that Actions Speak Loudly – If you value community, build it. Nurture connections even though they do not produce a hire today. Teach hiring managers that a long view pays off. Responding to candidates promptly and professionally means a lot and gets shared in positive ways across your network even though they may not get hired. Have your manager check out glassdoor.com to see the other side of the coin.
Build a Community Strategy – Collect information from contacts at your career site, whether they are interested in a position or want to know more about future needs. A recent article on Sodexo, a global outsourcing firm, shows they are leading the pack in building talent networks. They segment their candidate pool prior to responding so that there is a “personalized” response based on the candidate’s level of interest. Blogs also allow for dialogue with candidates prior to hire.
Challenge the “Confidential” – I see a growing increase in confidential searches this year. Here is an opportunity for HR to create forums for quarterly talent reviews and coach executives on giving sensitive, honest and direct feedback to incumbents. This would, hopefully, in some cases ultimately reduce the confidential search.
Acquire Contact Management Systems – Just like sales professionals, recruiters are managing multiple contacts and networks of individuals that require varying levels of “reach-out.” Here is our chance to take Applicant Tracking Systems to the next level and compete more effectively for talent. Matter of fact, according to Bersin’s Talent Acquisition Systems 2010 Study, 41% of respondents (or staffing leaders) are seeking contact management systems this year. This is very exciting for managing long term relationships with candidates and former employees.
As Recruiters, we know which practices engage talent. Let’s leverage our potential and that of our hiring managers by updating candidates, thanking them for their interest, returning a call, or simply being there to share a point of view. It does take time and focused effort, but small steps can pay off. If you are a recruiter and reading this today, what one step can you take and introduce to your hiring mangers?