5 Basics To Make Social Media Work For Recruitment

So many blogs. So many opinions. So many failed attempts, but also some awesome case studies. Yes Social Media & Recruitment is a minefield of confusion, misdirection, and advice from folk who ain’t never done it.

child fiveHere’s 5 useful little guiding lights, from a bloke who’s been doing it hands-on since 2009; that remind you, and encourage you, that you don’t need to tip your recruitment agency/team upside down.

1. Start with your CRM

Well, you’ve been dying to get some proper use out of that damn thing for months and years. Well it’s the perfect place to try and do something with clients and candidates who refuse to pick the phone up to you. The confusion of social media so often stems from not knowing who to target. So, if you chose to populate your CRM with seemingly relevant people, then do the same with your social prospects. Candidates, clients, contacts – take the journey from CRM, to LinkedIn, to beyond. Hopefully you have chosen a modern day CRM, that allows you to integrate social media naturally anyway; then your social media communications can sit on a level playing field, with your telephone call activity. In fact, done well – it outshines it.

2. Think Brand

Please no, not Russell Brand. The scary bit about branding on social media is that it is marketing. Let’s be honest, most recruitment entities don’t like or understand marketing. It’s ok to admit it. You weren’t made that way. Actually, the branding bit is pretty easy – but I would suggest you need advice. (I can do that bit, if you need) But what you are doing in building your brand well, is in essence increasing the potential for people to say nice things about you. That’s good – it gets you business, gets you people, and increases inbound enquiries, profile and kudos. Now branding does *not* mean, your logo. Nobody buys logos. It means the substance of your people, your service, your interaction with your community, your stories, your original content, your thought leadership, your value and credibility within your marketplace. People buy from good people; we all know that. You can’t share those stories on the phone, and your brochure is out-of-date as soon as it’s printed. Social Media gives you platforms to keep rolling news and content alive and current.

3. The Best People For The Job – It’s Not For Everyone  

Ok, so let me start with this. If you are the CEO, MD, Founder, Head of Talent Acquisition, or whatever you want to call yourself; then YOU should be on social media. Not as your company brand, but as you. You’ve gone this far to create a good agency or team – now go stand out proud from the front. But aside of that, if we haven’t the budget to hire a social media specialist; then we have a habit of asking our sales people to manage social media channels. Invariably, your best sales people hate change in method, they like tried and tested methods; and they are great already. Don’t screw them up, by trying to make them write tweets 5 times a day then. They’re not going to stop and listen to the conversation they might create; and their work will be outbound. Bad social media. Find the unsung superstar in your team, that everyone loves – who you hired because they have awesome people potential, can select well, gets the industry you serve; but it turns out is utter pants at sales. I bet they’d be great at social media. Given they they no doubt want to succeed proactively, they will more likely *want* to be great at social media. If I come to train your recruiters to integrate social media, I will ask them at the end of the first session who actually wants to do it. Anyone that is honest, and would rather go back and continue make sales or headhunting calls, I would willingly set them free – they will *never* want to embrace it. Pointless for me, pointless for you. Find your superstars who can run with it, don’t crowbar in the nay-sayers. The other people to choose, are people already highly conversant and technically aware of your industry. Difficult to do ‘social’ with a .Net developer on a social channel, if your best shot at conversation is “How the devil are you?”.  

4. Social Media is for Business Development, not just Sourcing

Everyone talks about sourcing, finding hard-to-reach talent, etc – when we hear about Social Recruiting. For the recruitment agency out there, and for the executive hiring team; the need is for business development. Wins, not just Finds. At CloudNine, 100% of business came from social media potency and visibility, or recommendation from the reputation we created through that visibility. (see 2. Think Brand). B2B is about building relevance, relationship and trust – and where sales calls fail, is that they are, well… salesy. By targeting prospects expertly through social media, with conversation, market integration, relevant content and offline purpose,  the entrance to the relationship is more human and mutual than the pressure cooker of an unplanned sales call.

5. Choose Platforms & Emerging Technology With Care

Most social media platforms, are probably not for you. The problem with social media integration is that some bright spark will say “XYZ did this thing on Snapchat – you could do it too!!”, and then we all think we can do it. Stick initially to sound and solid bases; based on where you already have a hunch your industry is. Use existing specialist communities, conversations and groups as your catalyst for identifying socially active connections; and where relevant – use ‘dark social’, i.e. niche forums and specialist discussion areas – to find relevancy in your communications. Your inbox will also be full of apps, extensions and tech-wet-dreams that will promise to make you a better recruiter. Choose these carefully, and from good neutral advice. Too many will complicate what is a perfectly human process we’ve been doing for years; but people would have us believe that it’s a mystery online.

And that’s the point, it’s a human process that you are already probably pretty good at. If I could have added a sixth, I would say don’t fear online and business. (I could add more too, naturally…) It’s what your competitors are doing, and large and progressive brands are already leading the way and have been for years. Don’t get left behind, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. (I can do that too) 


Steve Ward is an early-adopter of hands-on social recruiting and following 22 years as an agency recruiter; is now independently helping recruitment teams and agencies improve the perception of the way they work, by helping integrate social media & digital transformation into hiring methods; to enhance inbound traffic. Still recruiting, but also available for training, mentoring and advisory roles. Connect & message me if you’d like to chat. 

The TotalJobs `Twitter Party` on Interview Advice

Interviewing is one of the most nervous experiences we will ever face. Some of us just aren’t made for it, our jobs often involve limited ‘verbal performance’ and so in many cases, frankly – they are pointless.

interviewHowever – they exist, and even more scarily, more and more companies are using videoing interview techniques too!! So if you thought it was tough in a natural face to face environment, now companies are asking you to perform ‘to the camera’!

Ok, well fear not – I happen to have interviewed probably 4000-5000 people to different degrees over the past 20 years, and am a reasonably useful guy to know in these situations.

Well let’s see. I’m putting that to the public test this afternoon on behalf of TotalJobs, as I run their twitter feed from 2pm – taking questions on interviews as part of their Job Academy project.

If you are a job seeker who wants some good ideas on interviewing well. And getting the most from the interview – then I’m there to help. It’s more than just about turning up on time and shaking a hand in the right way. It’s about how you play YOUR part in the interview and go away feeling you have made the most of the experience.

So tune into the @TotalJobsUK twitter feed at 2pm this afternoon (11th October) and I’ll be glad to help.

Job-seeker Tips: Applying with Covering Letters

Covering letters are sadly a dying art. They’re either too long, so I won’t read them; so curt, as to be rude in the extreme; or too short – meaning there’s no relevant information. Furthermore, method’s of applying for jobs are so cripplingly automated these days, that the opportunty to think about a clear, concise and relevant covering letter to your CV submission is almost discouraged by job boards, ATS based application systems, and those that want to turn `Apply With LinkedIn` as the standard form of application. 

Hear this frome me: Applying for a job should NOT be a fast-food process. Automation in job application is bad, and does nothing for the individual strength of your application.  

Sad to say though, that I very, very rarely see what I would perceive to be a great cover letter – and I see 50+ applications per day. 


So, the first step in writing a good covering letter, is to choose the right format to apply. 

Some say Email is dead? Well it’s not. It’s the perfect format to apply for a job from your own portal, with your own lay out, and attaching documents and portfolios. 

Some say the CV is dead? Well it’s not. It’s the perfect format to best display your individuality, written and layout skills; your credibility; and stands you apart from the competition. 

So now we’re using the right format – now decide what to write in the covering email.

Well, start with the job description, or advert content. If the employer has written it in their advert, then it’s important in the filtering process, and therefore is important in your application process. Don’t apply for a job as a Social Media Manager with the opening line, `I am a fantastic Secretary`. Find 3 to 5 key factors about your experience and suitability in relation to that content, and they will make up 3 to 5 key bullet points in your covering note. We’ll come to those in a minute. 

The opening line is important, and match the tone of your application, to the tone of the company for whom you are applying. Either way though, sound respectful, but immediately interesting. The opening line should be a short paragraph of not much more than 2 lines, and should include:

  • your interest in the role – i.e. recognise the name of the role
  • your interest in the company – with proof, i.e. I’ve been looking at your website… 
  • an introduction to suitability – “and due to my experience in … I believe I would be perfect for the role. 

The Bullet Points will then follow. These are the key indicators as to why someone will open your CV. They match the key requirements role, the industry of the company for who you are applying, and the individuality of your own application. The reason for bullet points? – well rather like your CV, it breaks key pointers into almost highlighted status, visually, and breaks the monotony of long paragraphs with hidden gems. 

The Close should come now. No waffling required. The close should re-iterate your interest, suitability and suggest availability to be considered for interview, and the opportunity to discuss if necessary. Again, be warm, appraochable and welcoming.

So the format will look something like this: 


Note the use of highlighted text to demonstate mirroring technique. These are in a sense `buzzwords` that I have assumed would be evident within the job description or advert. Mirroring those words with highlighting quickly demonstrates relevance. The covering letter only ever talks specific interest and suitability to the role. If it’s not relevant, don’t put it in. 

I hope this has helped. I’ll hope to do more practical job-seeker tips as time allows over the coming weeks. Certainly, I would love to see more great covering letters out there. Your written skills will be more pertinent than ever, so make sure you get the front cover looking sharp. 


Confessions of the Recruitment Industry – True this…

People who know me well, will know that I detest infographics – well, I detest what infographics have turned into, i.e. largely to much information stacked into a small presentation space, thus confusing the content even moreso. 

However, this is a good one that I saw circulated today. Cannot argue with the content of this. It’s a clear infograhic with a few striking facts about the recruitment process and your CV into the equation. The numbers are not the eye-catcher. Numbers in these things are often over-exaggerated and interpreted with weighting, to help present a case on behalf of a brand (in this case, Monster, it would seem?) – but the content is. Casting the numbers aside, the points are valid. Your CV is in danger of doing damage to your applications, if you don’t get the basics right. 

I’m going to be poisting again this week on the `CV is Dead` argument. It’s not, but if you don’t give sufficient attention to it, yours will. 

Have a read, and I welcome thoughts and observations on it: