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9 Social Media Recruitment Mistakes

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Nearly 95 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts. That’s practically every single recruiter. They’re using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and more to assess candidates’ experience and cultural fit. Social media is growing rapidly, but doesn’t this mean there are bound to be some mistakes made.

Between the constant changes and hundreds of new methods, there are plenty of ways recruiters can mess up when using social media. Here are nine social media mistakes you need to avoid making during the hiring process:

1. Replacing traditional methods completely. Although social media can make the recruiting process much more efficient, it’s important not to abandon traditional tactics altogether. Social media can tell you a lot about a candidate, but it cannot show you someone’s interpersonal skills, ability to lead a project, or knack for working as a team. Soft skills cannot be truly evaluated on Facebook or LinkedIn page. You need one-on-one conversations to demonstrate them.

2. Not having a plan. Just like with any other recruitment method, it’s essential to have a strategy. Decide what you want to achieve and establish clear goals. Once you decide your goals, you can devise a detailed strategy to reach them. It’s also important to measure your results along the way. There are a lot of programs out there that allow you to effectively measure social media metrics. Find what works best for you.

3. Not devoting enough time. At first glance, many recruiters underestimate the amount of time needed to implement a successful social media recruiting strategy. Social networking sites are communities, which means it can take much longer to build relationships with users. You need to devote an appropriate amount of time to find success on social media.

4. Not targeting your efforts. You can’t just send out a bunch of tweets with job descriptions and expect to see quality results. Just like with any other recruiting method, you cannot be too general. Look for industry-specific online networking communities, like LinkedIn groups, and reach out to them directly. It might be helpful to research how your competitors are using social media, as well, to determine what communities they engage in to connect with candidates.

5. Not targeting passive candidates. One of the biggest benefits of using social media is the opportunity to reach potential candidates who are not actively looking for jobs. Active job seekers will find you through job boards and other channels, but social media will reach more passive job seekers. Use it to build relationships with these people and they’ll remember you when they’re ready for a career change.

6. Limiting yourself to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The big three social media sites are great and very valuable, but you should not limit your strategy to just these channels. There are also many other smaller, niche channels you can use, as well. Look for smaller channels based on your own industry, geographical location, and more to target even more qualified candidates.

7. Treating all channels the same. Because there are so many channels you can use, it’s essential you treat them all differently. Each social media site has a different audience and specific social norms, so it’s important to devise a different strategy for each. If you’re not sure how to use a channel, learn before you act. Don’t assume every site works like Facebook, because most don’t.

8. Disrespecting the rules. Once you decide on some specific communities, it’s important to respect the way they do things. Chances are, you won’t be allowed to spam their group with job listings, so make sure you learn their rules before you engage.

9. Forming opinions too quickly. Another downfall of many recruiters on social media is judging candidates too quickly. If you rely too heavily on your immediate opinion of a candidate, you might accidentally eliminate one of your top candidates. Social networking profiles are not resumes. A successful recruiting strategy involves multiple methods, so use them.

Social media can be a truly valuable resource for recruiters, but it’s important to devise a plan before you jump in. Understand each audience, the community rules, and figure out who to target first. If you can avoid these mistakes, you’ll be much more successful in your social recruiting.

What are some other social media recruitment mistakes?

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About the Author

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Find Heather on Google+.

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