Social recruitment: The 'always on' approach to talent attraction

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The digital landscape is continuously changing, and this impacts how many companies source and attract talent.

We can now reach potential talent from anywhere and in real time. They are also able to (and expecting to) reach potential employers through a range of social channels.

LinkedIn is often the go-to place for both in-house recruitment teams and recruitment agencies, as with a premium account we can connect to an almost limitless number of candidates, contact them directly and drill down the search with various filters. All scarily sophisticated and data-drivenAnd it’s not just LinkedIn – it is common for brands to have recruitment handles on Twitter, where candidates can submit their 140-character application.

Social media allows a talented individual to stand out by tweeting their prospective employer or connecting with them via LinkedIn, allowing for an acceptable means to follow-up on an application. However, we need to be mindful that an appropriate response through these channels is required in order to manage the candidate experience.

What LinkedIn, in particular, has done is create an online database of talent that is not exclusive to one recruiter or company, and allows for a vast array of candidates to be contacted by anyone. This is great from a sourcing point of view, as you have even more ways of reaching people.

However, this has now led to an oversaturation of what some may regard as 'lazy recruitment'. As the influence of online has grown, many more recruitment companies and in-house talent teams have started using LinkedIn. So what happens when potential talent is regularly contacted through this means with unrelated messages and unsolicited approaches? They lose interest and disengage.

Some candidates receive up to 20 messages a day through this channel, with each becoming background noise and being ignored by the receiver. Standing out in this environment can be a challenge.

Pushing out one-way messages to potential talent is not engaging, just as consumers will engage with brands that excite them and offer them an experience, we need to do the same when seeking to open a conversation with talent. Just posting job vacancies on social media is going to turn candidates off, what they really want to see are industry thought pieces, interesting content to help them in their job search, or insight into what it’s like to work at your organisation.

So, in order to ensure that we stand out as a potential employer, we need to look for ways and means to engage with potential talent. This year, as in previous years, we need to diversify our talent pool at entry level to ensure we are attracting and sourcing the best young talent there is. This has led to us offering job shadowing, insight days and apprenticeships through GoThinkBig, an online work experience portal.

Our graduate scheme for September 2015 focuses on three core areas; media planning, biddable media (a form of digital media buying), and data and analytics, but this will shift again in 2016 as new platforms emerge and we diversify further.

The challenge this brings our business is that we are now competing for the economics graduates and those on statistical-literate degree courses who usually enter the City, accountancy or management consultancy. While our industry brings a very different working environment, the starting salaries are not comparable. This has led to us forming closer working relationships with key universities, as we look to speak to undergraduates who may not think media offers them a career opportunity when it absolutely does.

Sian Amato is head of recruitment at media company Starcom MediaVest Group UK

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