Social Media Recruiting: How Is Its Viability Measured?

Social media has changed and evolved beyond recognition in the past decade, and is altering how people interact with friends, colleagues, services and businesses.

Writing for the Unisys blog, Ron Gosdeck noted that these tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, are "transforming how companies find, source and recruit promising job candidates."

He noted that the two main benefits which have been seen so far are that the organization has been able to dramatically reduce its recruiting costs, as it does not have to pay for expensive advertising space, while it is also enhancing the overall pool of talent which is available to it.

"The talented people who engage in social networking number in the millions, if not billions. These social tools are what they’re using to find and engage with us," he added.

Jessica Lee, an employment manager at APCO Worldwide, noted that measurements and metrics play an important role in social media recruitment as these allow human resource departments to build up a business case and show the return on investment. She noted that these facilities are improving and growing all the time, while there are already many basic methods currently in the marketplace.
Influence is one way of looking at the success of social media recruiting, with Ms. Lee stating that this over popularity is "what's important and should be captured".

She said that the greater the influence a recruiter has through social media, then the bigger the reach and audience it is likely to have, building a stronger brand in the process.

There are a host of social media tools available for measuring influence, such as basic models like Tweet Grader, which allows managers to check the power of their Twitter profile compared to others which have also been ranked.

Crowdbooster is another option for social media users as this can provide at-a-glance insights about each individual message which has been posted from an account. For example, an interactive graph allows businesses to see the performance of their tweets and posts, helping them to understand what works and what does not.

The software can also show the benefits of long-term engagement with followers and highlight the success of individual recruitment campaigns through downloadable reports.

"Influence will impact traffic, no doubt. But the goal with traffic is to specifically get eyeballs to your careers website and possibly, specific job postings," added Ms. Lee, who recommended using tools to track referrals.

"If sharing links to job postings, a blog of your careers portal via Twitter, you may be using a URL shortener. Measure click-through stats via BudURL and Traceurl. It you have a blog separate from your corporate website, use any variety of tools from SiteMeter to Google Analytics or comScore to track where traffic is going after your blog," she went on to say.

Google Analytics can also be used in conjunction with a host of the organization’s other products, such as AdWords, AdSense, Website Optimizer and Webmaster Tools to help give an insight into advertising return on investment, customized reporting, cross channel and multimedia tracking, along with the ability to uncover trends and patterns by visualizing data.

In addition, Google Analytics can be used for multimedia tracking, in a day and age where many are now accessing websites and social media from their smartphone. The software package is capable of tracking usage of Ajax, Flash, social networking and Web 2.0 applications, providing an all-round, in depth measurement tool.

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to track social media from a recruitment point of view is through the number of hires that are made. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, after all.

It is also worth noting that the measurement industry has yet to adopt standard practices for quantifying and deciding on the success of social media initiatives.

A blog from KDPaine & Partners hinted that much more will come from the sector when an industry-wide set of tools is agreed on: "The sooner the measurement industry can adopt standard practices for social media measurement, the sooner it can start providing more services for more clients. With standards in place, the industry will be less fragmented, more confident of its products, and more useful to its clients. And it will do more business."