Are you currently utilizing social media to generate potential candidates for your openings? Overall, the ag industry has embraced the use of social media networks as an avenue to support recruitment efforts. According to the Agribusiness HR Review, 59% of agribusiness companies are currently utilizing social networks, which is an increase in usage for recruitment by almost 30% over the previous year. With this rapid growth and adaptation, it seems that most of us are in a stage of trial and error as we navigate the social media waters from an employer standpoint. Here are a few thoughts around the potential pros and cons of recruiting via social media:
1. Expand Your Employer Brand – Social media offers a lot of opportunity to spread the good news about the company and your culture. People with like interests will naturally follow, so when you include a job post, you are marketing your opportunities to people with an interest or connection to your company.
2. Tap into Talent Pools – There are mini communities all over the web where people share like interests, and those passive professionals are your target. AgCareers.com’s social media strategy is built around providing relevant content that is of interest to our community of industry professionals, so naturally our followers represent various pools of talent from skilled trade professionals to new grads with backgrounds in agriculture and food.
3. Capture Referrals – Social media makes it easier than ever to get people to share opportunities. Having your job opportunities “go viral” is a little unlikely in the current social media atmosphere, but using the social platforms will garner referrals quicker than traditional methods.
4. Budget Friendly – Each social media platform has its own unique structure, but most outreach is free of charge. It can be time consuming to understand how to get the best impact without spending money, but if you’ve done your homework, you can achieve some great exposure for very little investment.
1. Educating Users – There are so many social platforms to choose from, and just the investigation into which ones are right for the roles you are recruiting for can be daunting. Once you determine where to start, you have to really commit to understanding the relevant modes of communication for the platform. Each company will have to decide how to streamline messaging, and who is dedicating time to the effort.
2. The Dreaded Comments – Everyone is always a little ill at ease with the fact that anyone can comment on your social media posts. You have the ability to remove unwanted things, but it doesn’t change the fact that anyone from a disgruntled former employee to a complete stranger can post a comment along with your job announcement.
3. Network Woes – You put the job opening out for your big personal network (and/or the company’s network of followers) to see, and out of the woodwork comes several long lost friends who are very interested in the opening, even though they are not at all qualified. Not only can this take more time to address, it can make for some awkward situations as well. With social media, these job seekers have direct access to you personally vs. going through more anonymous channels to begin the process of applying for a job. You also have to be mindful of following EOE guidelines when you open up your candidate pool up to larger networks.
4. The Channels – Every company has a specific application process that has to be followed in order to be considered for a position. When you are engaging people through social channels, there is the added step and time factor of converting them over to your application process for next steps. It can be as easy as a link in your social media post, but people are networkers, and if you are posting the opportunity through your personal profile, they are going to hound you about it and at least try to ask you all their questions about the position before they concede to follow the procedure.
If you are working toward incorporating social media into your recruitment strategy, I would leave you with one additional thought on the topic. Social media can get overwhelming from a time commitment standpoint, regardless of your end goal in using it. Choosing one platform to tackle (consider how AgCareers.com uses LinkedIn) and developing a basic plan of action with a focus on recruitment may be a good starting point. It is said if you do social media half way, and don’t invest the time and effort at establishing a presence, you are wasting your time…and time is money (or in this case candidates)!