During a recent speaking engagement I was asked what value organizations receive from having an employment presence on social media. I was giving a presentation to HR Professionals about how candidate behaviors have evolved, and how social media has become intrinsic to how candidates explore, identify and express interest (or disdain) in companies.
The person asking the question didn’t see value in creating and maintaining a presence on the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Their view was that candidates would go to their company’s career site to find out about the company, apply for jobs, and the extra work just didn’t seem to have any reasonable return for the time invested. Their implication was that they were not on social media and saw little need to take the plunge. Of course, all of us reading this post know that whether we’re on social media and managing our presence or not, we are all on social media. The real question is: Who is managing your presence?
We all know that social media is not a fad; it has changed the way we communicate, and changed the way information is shared and consumed. Have we explored and thought about how social media has changed candidate behavior, impacted and escalated concepts like employment brand and the candidate experience?
Candidate Behavior: I was recently contacted by an organization in Seattle that was recruiting for a Director of Talent Acquisition. It was not an organization that I was familiar with so before even returning the phone call I did a whopping 5 minutes of research. Glassdoor had only 12 reviews but they were all terrible. Some were from current or former employees, some from candidates. They had no Facebook or LinkedIn page (apart from auto-generated page on LinkedIn with Wikipedia data) and Twitter commentary was less than complimentary. Does this mean that this organization is a terrible place to work? Not necessarily but I still returned the phone call and politely declined. It was their employment brand that turned me from a prospect to Monty Python character (Run AWAY, Run AWAY!!!).
Our candidates, whether active or passive are checking out our organizations before they express interest, apply for a role, or at the very least, before they accept a job. They’re not just checking out the company reviews and corporate websites, they’re asking their networks, friends, and colleagues. Though there are undoubtedly those that don’t check us out before we hire them, I’d argue that perhaps we shouldn’t be hiring those people anyway (but that’s a subject for a future post).
Employment Brand: We see many articles and posts about the employment brand, I’ve even written a few. It’s not that long ago that the idea of “employment brand” meant creating a slick brand campaign, speaking about an organization’s awesomeness, why it was an employer of choice and why a candidate would want give their eye teeth to work there. In the days before widespread adoption of social media this was one-way communication, marketed very successfully by employment advertising agencies. We spent tons of money telling the world about our employment brand regardless of the accuracy of our marketing. It is social media that changed our concept of employment brand. We (most of us anyway) figured out that we needed to represent our brand accurately in the marketplace as employees and candidates now had a platform to yell “B.S.” from. (Note that all the same applies to our consumer brands as well)
There has never been a greater need for organizations to “walk the talk” when it comes to the employment experience. Human Resources departments are under intense pressure to guide organizations to become a great place to work. There’s the brand.
Candidate Experience: Another hot topic in the recruiting world lately is the candidate experience. Candidates are growing weary of being treated poorly in the hiring process, and though I don’t think this is anything new, they now have a vent to release the steam. Yes, social media is that vent.
When I was (a lot) younger I recall a TV commercial that talked about telling two friends, and they’d tell two friends, and so on, and so on and so on… At the end of the commercial, they got up to 24 friends. At the time I thought that was viral. Treat a candidate badly by not calling them after and interview, or pick any number of ways we can annoy a candidate, and a simple post on Twitter or Facebook can easily reach hundreds or thousands. Pull a colossal blunder and the new definition of viral takes root and we’re quickly into the millions.
As more and more organizations adopt a high standard for the candidate experience, implement and adhere to a “Candidate Care Code” or a “Candidate Bill of Rights”, we’ll quickly see the candidate experience being a significant focal point for Talent Acquisition teams.
I have had a few candidate experiences personally that were far less than desirable. I still remember them with a considerable amount of passion and to this day will neither buy their company’s products nor would I consider or recommend employment opportunities with them. The taste was just that bad.
Whether we think we’re on social media or not, we are. It all boils down to who’s managing the message and how we choose to show up. We’re living and recruiting in a time of limitless pulpits and previously unheard of congruency (what you see is what you get). We can say what we want about our organizations to the world, but if we’re saying that we’re something that we’re not, we’ll get called on it. William Shakespeare said it best; “Talking isn’t doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds”.