Social recruiting – some take to it like a duck to water and others, quite frankly, sink. It’s not the marketing part – we all know how quickly word can spread after hitting Enter on that latest vacancy – using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to advertise and share job openings is a breeze. However, when it comes to actually approaching candidates via social networking, the transition from the tried-and-tested formal approach to a Tweet, can be akin to your grandad sending a text message for the first time: overly formal and awkward.

Social Recruiting – a Foreign Concept:

Billions of people log into Facebook every day, of those billions there are hundreds of thousands of potential candidates, including those illusive passive candidates that everyone’s battling to snag.

The issue is that most of those guys aren’t logging in every day to see if there’s a job offer waiting in their inbox, in fact the concept that there are people like us scouring social networks for top talent is a completely alien concept for most candidates, passive or otherwise. Social media channels have provided us with an entire new realm of ways to source and contact potential candidates, but just because we’re treating it like the proverbial candy shop doesn’t mean that our target audiences see it the same way. Reaching out to someone on LinkedIn might not exactly come as a surprise to someone who has just uploaded their CV, but randomly contacting someone you’ve been following via Twitter in the wrong way can be about as welcome as telesales call.

So, what are the etiquette rules when it comes to social recruiting?

1) Keep it Short & Sweet:

Like any social interaction, social recruiting needs tact, an approach on common ground plus you need to be able to say it in a paragraph. Send a formal email via Facebook, and you may as well have inked out a handwritten letter – it’s just weird.

Social recruiting needs to adapt to the art of social networking, which is all about short, quick, bursts of interaction (and less about long, formal job offers).

So, how do you go about approaching someone who is currently more concerned with tagging pictures from last week’s wedding? Lets assume that you were attracted to this person because they are also part of a talent community, or maybe they Tweeted something that caught your eye, or they’ve recently updated their LinkedIn profile – this is your key to start a conversation.

Next, you need to make it short and more importantly, sweet.

2) Compliments are Key:

You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a dinner party and proceed to spend the next ten minutes talking about yourself and the same rules apply to social recruiting. You want to engage your candidate, compliment them, explain what drew you towards them and how they could benefit from your company.

When it comes to social recruiting, it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge the fact that your offer is unsolicited, go ahead and throw in something like:

I’m aware that this is out of the blue, however after reading your insightful comments on X regarding Y I just had to get in touch.

Ideally, your candidate will spot the message, read it and feel flattered and intrigued. When you compare this approach to our online job market it’s no wonder that everyone’s investing more and more time into social networking. Career boards are stale, oversaturated and formal. Social networking is all about people and communication – you can reach your candidates on a personal level.

When your unexpected message lands in their inbox, candidates will get the feeling that they are unique, that they’ve been handpicked and that they are the perfect person for the job – which they are! After all, you’ve done the research and you’ve specifically chosen them.

The Beauty of Social Recruiting:

Sourcing someone on LinkedIn can give you an initial lowdown on their profession and current employment status, Twitter can reveal a lot about your candidates opinions on current affairs and Facebook will offer a great insight on their social patterns. The beauty of social recruiting it that you already have a fair idea of who your candidate is, what they’re interested in and how they could fit into your company.

By using this information and developing the right social recruiting etiquette, you can effectively source those hard-to-find individuals that may have otherwise slipped the net.

Making the transition from recruiter to social recruiter isn’t straightforward, and just like Grandad sending a text for the first time, it can take a little getting used to. Today’s talent may well consist heavily of tech-savvy millennials, but social recruiting isn’t about getting down with the kids. Gen Y shorthand and excessive !!! exclamation marks aren’t necessary to connect with someone on a more personal level.

The key to social recruiting is adapting your existing recruiting style to a more modern approach, and it doesn’t involve adding YOLO at the end of your message. Get your social etiquette right however, and you’ll be well on your way to finding and hiring the pick of the bunch.

About Selina Kerley

Selina Kerley is a blogger living and working in Berlin. She spends her days researching the world of online recruitment, in order to bring the latest news, hints & tips and hiring strategies to the world. Selina is currently working for recruitment software specialists softgarden.

Get weekly recruiting and career tips direct to your inbox!

Load Comments