Vector Business NetworkThe Digital Difference – How Employers can Harness Social to Tap Into Hyper-Connected Talent Pools

We all check an online review before booking a hotel.  And no-one would contemplate buying a new car without taking it for a test drive. It’s strange then that until recently people made arguably their biggest ‘purchase’ decision – investing time in a new job – on the basis of a few formal one-hour conversations across a meeting room desk.  Unsurprisingly this didn’t always result in a perfect match.

It’s not just candidates that struggle with this.  Employers have traditionally had a less than perfect view of the market. As a result, finding the right hire can be difficult. Companies also need to find people that cannot just do the job, but who will also be a good cultural fit, and will not prove a costly mistake by leaving as quickly as they arrived.

With the advent of social recruitment, extending your reach as an employer, amplifying your talent brand and engaging with ever-more focused pools of candidates has (thankfully) become commonplace.  But as LinkedIn’s recent research highlights, social engagement can amplify the bad as well as the good – so much so in fact that half of UK employees will actively avoid a company with a poor employer brand, regardless of the benefits package on offer.

Put simply, a poor employer brand makes it harder to find the right people to fill roles, it puts potential employees off the organisation and it can create a bad impression well before the interview process has even begun. There is no doubt that having a strong employer brand clearly benefits companies when recruiting; one in six UK workers would take a new job with a company offering increased job security, greater professional development opportunities, and a higher quality internal team, without any offer of a pay rise. It pays to invest in your employer brand.

Using social media as a channel for the employer brand can still be a struggle for many. There are a few things that employers can do to harness social recruitment and create a positive image for potential employees.

1.     Get employees involved – many organisations don’t think about the enormous value that their current employees can add to their brand. These people are in a prime position to give potential new recruits a good impression of the company. So HR has a crucial role to play in engaging employees; ask them for help in building the company’s story and encourage them to share their work activities and achievements on social media and company pages. Your social channels shouldn’t be full of dull corporate buzzwords, they should be full of engaged employees enjoying their working lives and sharing their expertise.

2.     Use social well – social media is best when you’re fully engaged. Don’t just monitor it, get involved. Start conversations about issues relevant to your company and make early contact with potential employees. Your brand needs to appear human to potential employees, so building a rapport early will pay off when it comes to filling roles.

3.     Be real – invest in the perks and build the company culture that employees want. It stands to reason that potential employees want to know that they’re joining a supportive, forward thinking and friendly organisation. But simply trying to appear to be these things just isn’t authentic. You need to make sure that you’re backing up these claims and investing to make this a reality. Pictures, videos and testimonials from current employees can give good insight into the organisation – but they need to be based on reality.

With an increasingly transparent working culture and ever more choosy employees, it stands to reason that the employer brand has a real impact on the bottom line. The war for talented and skilled people is a fierce as it ever was. Exactly who looks after a company’s employer brand is often a point of debate. But HR has a real opportunity to take the reins and help bring it to life in the outside world. Not only will it make recruitment easier, it will ultimately result in a happier and more productive workforce.

Chris Brown is director of LinkedIn Talent Solutions UK

August 11, 2015 in Recruitment