Archive for February, 2011

Social Recruiting. This time it’s personal.

Having been a ‘creative’ now for over…err… let’s just say a very long time, things are so different. Drawn in wide-eyed during the early 80’s (see there’s a timeline clue) by the exciting world of advertising, it’s been a career of wide ranging changes. From the introduction of the Apple Mac (yes, there was a time when you did type layouts on tracing paper and many a night was spent cutting and pasting galley typesetting on an artboard to kern a letter here, change a line length there by yours truly) to the development of the internet and now the huge growth of Social Media. It’s certainly changed. Good concepts. Big ideas. The need for them is (and always should be) still there. As is the ability for them to work even harder. That love of communication. A desire to surprise. To involve. And the satisfaction of a great piece of communication creating a fantastic impact. Those are still vital, but that goes without saying.

Which is why, as a creative, over the past 18 months or so, the development, growth and impact of Social Media has been so compelling. And truly exciting. Now you can see the effectiveness of your ‘big idea’ in real time. Happening on a screen/mobile/app near you. Not only that but, doing it in our andsome hands-on way, you can get involved yourself. (No sitting navel gazing in some artistic ivory tower for us.) Talk to the people you’re targeting. See their enthusiasm. (Or not, in some cases.) Feel their interest. Feed their desire. Get them involved. This is advertising Jim, but as we’ve never known it before.

An appreciation of hits, click-throughs, views, likes, retweets, comments, followers, etc – would be something I’d never dreamed I could be so absorbed or even interested in. But it’s true. Sure, we creatives love our accolades of shiny glass or metal, but for some of us just seeing how our thinking, ideas or concepts can excite someone online is more than award enough.

Computer says ‘job?’

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As Social Media jostles with Job Boards for its place in the recruitment line up, many direct employers think they’ve found the answer. Their auto-announcing ATS. It’s brilliant. Time and effort saving. While taking out the human element if mishtakes. Simply ‘load’ your vacancy on the system and not only does it list it on your own careers site but, by a miracle, it’s out there on Twitter. In all its autobot glory. Wonderful. No tactical tweetage. Never mind ‘creative’ tweeting. No hashtagging into appropriate streams (apart from the ubiquitous #ukjobs or #jobs). Nor any employer (branded) messages. No ‘different’ takes on the robotic *New Vacancy* Job Title – Location – (link) theme. Just a stream of identical broadcasts with only the odd role change.

Now, if you saw a vacancy and had a question – who would you ask? The Twitterfeed? If you didn’t want to receive an answer, then yes. Otherwise… well back on the old email, I guess? And there we thought Social Media was about interaction. Silly us.

Social ‘Protesting’ proves the engagement of Social Media

As I sat on my macbook last night, Twitter and Facebook were alive with the events happening in Libya – from the weekend protests to the live TV speech of Gadaffi’s son, Saif al-Islam. After the successes in Tunisia and Egypt – plus the present protests in Bahrain and forecast for more in Iran and Yemen – can there be any doubt about the effectiveness of Social Media in the ‘real world’?

This isn’t marketing or recruitment – it’s much more important than those, as it is literally about life and death. (Please, let’s take a moment to remember all those who have given their lives in these times.)

It’s not about the latest widgets, cool tech or the effective way to create a ‘community’. No, it’s about the basic driving force at the heart of Social Media – Engagement. Pure human connection. The enabling of focus – whatever the motivation. As a vehicle for spreading ‘the word’ – both good and bad – quickly, effectively and passionately, Social Media is without equal. For the ability to inform, motivate and produce ‘action’, well… with all the recent and on-going events no-one can doubt its power.

Sometimes the small things are the most rewarding

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It’s not always big budgets that turn a creative on. Nor the chance of your big idea becoming a multichannel, multimedia campaign. Not even the thought that ‘this is an award winner’ (if only it was that easy to recognise that one). No, quite often it’s just a ‘neat’ little concept that feels so right. This was one of those.

It began with our opportunity to re-brand the Central London Retail Personnel Group – a retail and hospitality networking group, formed in 1991 by HR professionals from companies including John Lewis, House of Fraser, Russell & Bromley and Marks & Spencer. We re-named: The Retail HR Circle London. Gave it a contemporary identity. Created and built a new website including a members-only social community area. And this business ‘bag’.

It’s such a simple idea. A gusseted card. Reflecting exactly what the organisation is about. It’s a ‘shopping’ bag. And most importantly, it has personality – standing proud from the sea of ubiquitous square cut corporate flatness.

It’s okay if no one Likes your Social Recruiting

We all know the ideal of corporate Social Recruiting is to create an interested (and active) talent community of potential candidates all ready, willing and waiting to seize the career opportunities as you have them. That means connecting with and then building a relationship with this community – be it via a Linked In group, followers on Twitter, being liked on Facebook…

What you’re asking them to do is ‘flag up’ that they’re interested in working for you. So, if using the more popular and open social networks, their present employers could see who they’d like to work for. Or that their colleagues can see they’re looking to move on. Now you can see what implications that may have.

At certain career points, such as Graduate and Entry level for example, that isn’t an issue. Nor in the more ‘volatile’ recruitment markets such as retail and hospitality. But what about the other extreme, say Senior Management? If as a business you want to use social media to help recruit directly, without utilising the ‘talents’ of Recruitment Consultants, will people willingly and openly show their interest in your organisation and opportunities? Probably not.

That is when ‘broadcasting’ come in. Remember there are still many, many people out there who aren’t sat at their computer constantly searching for a job change – there is still a huge need to generate attraction. Ensuring that your messages reach the streams that will reach the right audience. Still using the popular channels but for slightly different uses. Not that we’re advocating the common practice of automated ATS feeds on Twitter – many of which will only reach the often limited numbers of Followers and no-one else. Recently, we ran a social recruiting campaign to recruit for a whole bunch of mid-senior sales and marketing professionals. It didn’t manage to build any sort of community on the social channels – as we have done for other clients’ campaigns – but it did achieve the successful result of filling all the positions after a 4 week campaign.

So don’t always expect to find a massive volume of Likes to a Facebook page, but ensure there’s a reason for them to read it when they ‘find’ it from other channels. Every channel has to work hard and work together. Very much like the old days of direct recruitment when you broadcasted in the press and talked ‘more discretely’ via direct mail, for example, you always have to consider the most effective way to reach your target market to succeed.