Talent Acquisition

The Searchologist Katrina Collier Shares Her Social Recruiting Secrets

This post is sponsored by MightyRecruiter. Be sure to join their webinar, How to Get In-Demand Candidates to Respond TODAY: Katrina Collier Spills Her Social Recruiting Secrets, on August 23rd.

When it comes to recruiting, Katrina Collier is a real social butterfly. Recognized globally as an expert on social recruiting, she has been training companies to use social in their recruiting efforts since 2009.

Based in London, Katrina teaches recruiters all over the world her special blend of creative and practical tactics for using the Internet to identify and connect with top talent. She writes the immensely popular blog The Searchologist Live, and gained her recruiting know-how from more than 14 years of full-cycle recruiting experience.

Ahead of her upcoming webinar with MightyRecruiter, Katrina, who was voted one of The 100 Most Influential People in HR & Recruiting on Twitter, spilled the beans about how good old-fashioned detective work lies at the heart of a successful recruiting strategy, and what recruiters must do to deserve a sought-after candidate’s time.

How is social recruiting different from other types of recruiting?

Regardless of how you do it, a recruiter’s job is to find people for a role, from either inside or outside the company. Their job is to find you, to get you interested in the opportunity and to get you in the door. It is probably one of the most important and yet most devalued jobs out there.

What I teach is just one channel to accomplishing this. Just like sourcing through referrals or by posting on job boards—there are lots of different ways that companies can hire—social media is another channel. What I teach is how to accomplish your hiring through social—how to go on the Internet and search to find the exact people you need.

What’s your basic approach to social recruiting?

I try to learn about what makes people tick. Say I was recruiting you, I’d look to see what you were tweeting about, what photos you are sharing on Instagram, or what you are talking about in forums. Anyone can see your LinkedIn photo, which is all lovely and formal, but I’ll then go to Instagram. While I am there, I might see that you take a lot of photos of your dogs. My question to myself then is—what information can I collect to connect with you as a candidate? What can I do to show that I am worth the time it takes to have a conversation about an opportunity?

In the scenario I described, I might approach you with an opportunity and then also mention that the company has a ‘bring your dog to work’ policy, because by doing my homework I now know that your dogs are a big part of your life and that might appeal to you. For someone with children, I might mention a company’s flexible hours because that would be of interest to many parents.

It sounds like you employ quite a bit of detective work

Yes. That’s the only thing that works. Think about it: Are you on LinkedIn? And do you not get emails from recruiters asking if you are interested in a job? And are those emails not the most boring things you ever read? I mean, most of them aren’t even personalized to use your name. Half the time you can be pretty sure they haven’t even read your profile.

If I send an applicant an email for an entry-level role when they have seven years of experience they are just going to delete it because I haven’t done my research and it doesn’t apply to them. But if I can write an email directly referencing their experience and maybe another fact or two that I’ve collected on my own, they are going to be compelled to at least read the email.

What is the largest obstacle in social recruiting?

The fight for attention. It’s hard to grab a candidate’s attention because there is so much noise going on. People sitting at their desks all day are facing constant interruption from email, messaging platforms, colleagues, social media, the phone, etc. It’s just a world of noise that we live in now. So what I teach is how to stand out from the lazy recruiters who just hide behind tech and send you an email about a role. That’s not enough anymore because people see an email like that and think, “Oh, I’ll look at that later.” But then they don’t.

How can recruiters use social to build their talent pools?

Don’t focus on the immediacy of the job opening at hand. You might be ready for a job change right then and there when I approach you, but you are more likely to say that you aren’t looking. That’s when it’s important to ask a candidate what their next steps are professionally. Where do you see yourself next? It gets them thinking about the future, gets them talking about goals, and then you know what sorts of roles they’d be interested in exploring in the future. More importantly, when you’ve had that conversation you’ve now formed a relationship with them, and they are more likely to take your call or read your email next time around. If you are regularly recruiting the same kinds of roles all the time, then you should be looking to have conversations with people about where they’d like to be in a year or in two years’ time.

What are some tools that you’ve found helpful other than social media?

Chrome Extensions, which a lot of recruiters know about, and I use to connect the dots across social media and find conversation starters. During my webinar, MightyRecruiter is going to be unveiling its new Chrome extension, and I am looking forward to seeing all the cool things that it promises to do.

How can a Chrome extension help a recruiter?

These tools make it easy to do the mapping part of recruiting but what they won’t help with is the personalization. The creative part of recruiting is still up to the recruiter. What many recruiters don’t do is take the opportunity to really connect with candidates. Rather, they just spam a whole bunch of people who may or may not be a real match for the role. I use the hashtag #behuman all the time because I believe that recruiters need to treat candidates like people. They need to find out more about them and write them messages that reflect their research and their interest in the person. It’s about being respectful, really.

You said earlier that recruiting is one of the most ‘important and yet most devalued jobs out there.’ Why do you think that?

I’d like to remind people that it takes a lot to get a passive job seeker with highly sought-after skills to leave a permanent role. We’ve all been burned at work, and so there is a fear often of leaving a comfortable position for the unknown.

Curious to learn more about social recruiting techniques that will help you snag that star candidate you’re after? Register today for MightyRecruiter’s upcoming webinar, How to Get In-Demand Candidates to Respond TODAY: Katrina Collier Spills Her Social Recruiting Secrets, which will be held on August 23rd. The link to register is at the top of the article.

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