One of the real strengths of using social media in recruitment, is the ability to find many more candidates. However this can also be a false positive.
Just because you find these rare and sought-after talented individuals that you crave, it doesn't then follow that they will have any interest in you! If you don't adapt your approach to making contact and engaging with these people, you might as well be recruiting unicorns for all the chances you have of succeeding with them.
That may sound a little harsh, but take LinkedIn for example. How many of us have been on the receiving end of the (quite frankly) stupid and naive emails from recruiters?
"Hi [first name familiarity when don't know them], I am a recruiter for BB Bloggs Inc [like it is going to impress you] and I have just picked up an assignment for a superb new job that would be perfect for you [how the hell to you know, you haven't even spoken to me before]. Can you let me know if you are interested and I will send you the spec through."
'Unicorns' need better treatment than that! They need careful handling, understanding and above all they need to be respected. They won't engage with you unless you demonstrate your knowledge and skills - only then will they they trust you and allow you closer.
Social media has broken down the sourcing boundaries - if anyone has even a glimmer of an online presence, then the chances are they can now be found by a myriad of tools, ranging from Google to the niche search tools like Pipl, Followerwonk and many others like it.
Finding the rare talent is one thing, getting them to talk to you seriously, is another.
The skilled recruiters have a magic skill - they are able to use a telephone well. They don't hide behind an email, they trust in their knowledge and ability to be able to engage with the much sought after unicorns on their level. They are not inhibited by them, because they understand and respect them.
Many recruiters (both in-house and 3rd party) haven't (yet) been given the skills to reach out and engage with these people effectively. Most resort to emails and messaging in a very amateur way (as per my example above), with very limited results. They might well have success with the 'active' talent, but they won't be catching any unicorns any time soon.
If used properly social recruiting is able to give these recruiters a huge lift when it comes to engaging with people - both candidates and clients. The ability to utilise the social channels for gathering large amounts of useful background information on people may seem like stalking (to non-recruiters) but it is a great way of initiating and developing relationships.
Then of course there are the many communication channels offered with social media.
The hard-to-engage-with candidates (often referred to as 'passive'), our beloved 'unicorns', may well have a 'public' profile on LinkedIn, but many have given up talking to recruiters there, for the reason I highlighted at the beginning. So what do you do?
The answer is to find them in the social habitat they are comfortable in and engage them there.And when I say engage with them, it means understand them, respect them and communicate with them in a way dictated by the social habitat you find them in. Each social platform has its own communication etiquette that needs to be adhered to, for better chances of success.
That may be sites like Facebook, Twitter, Xing, Tumblr, specialist communities or niche forums. Of course you can use social media to find them! [Try using Boardtracker for hunting out the niche discussion groups and forums]
Social recruiting will never replace the art of using voice communication to create and evelop relationships, but used correctly it just may help you add a few more 'unicorns' to your stable!
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