That's only good news, though, if you're using it correctly. Social media is most effective as a hiring tool when it's used to recruit passive candidates. According to that same survey, only 52% of those using social media are using it in this way. The upside here is that passive recruiting is the most effective way to attract top performers. So, if you use this new channel how its most effective, not only will you get the most out of it, you'll also improve your ability to attract the candidates who will add the most value to your organization.
Now, how do you do that? More good news here, the answer lies down the hall with your colleagues in marketing.
HR needs to take a page from the marketers social media handbook if they want to get social recruiting right. Marketing has been exploring how to use social media to build connections and attract customers since the days of Myspace (remember that?).
They've learned what works, and what doesn't. And the lessons they've learned, applied to recruiting, can help you be more effective in this channel. Here's a look at some of the best practices you can borrow from your friends in marketing:
Get involved in groups and communities. Social media is about connecting and building relationships. The best way to build relationships is by providing value to others. The companies most effective in social media (marketing or recruiting) are those who are active in online communities adding value to the conversations taking place there. Find the communities where your candidates are active and join in the conversations. Get to be known.
Create "Talent Communities." Follow the lead of companies like Microsoft and create an online community that brings together professionals to share ideas and learn from each other. These talent communities can be for coders, engineers, lawyers, underwriters, sales, pretty much anything. By sponsoring these communities, you can develop a pool of potential candidates who are already connected with your brand.
Look to niche networks. Don't just focus your time in the big social networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube. You can sometimes better zoom in on specific expertise by seeking out the niche networks. Trust me, there is a network out there for just about everything. The audiences are smaller, but more connected.
Take a long-term approach. Social recruiting isn't a short-term solution to fill an immediate role. It's a long-term commitment to build relationships. Eventually, once you've been at it for a while, you will have developed the networks to fill those urgent needs (and with star candidates), but it won't happen out of the gate. Plan for that. Just ask your marketing colleagues how they use social media to sell.
Involve your employees. This is too big a job for HR to try and take on alone. Plus, you are not an expert in the various areas where you want to connect. But your current employees are, and chances are some of them are already active in the communities and channels you want to tap into. Leverage that. Ask for social referrals and treat them as a priority when they come in.