Has Social Media Now Become A Distress Purchase For HR?


Fear of social media
Let’s be fair, social media isn’t a new thing. It hasn’t all of a sudden just turned up with a Taser and stunned the world into immediate submission. Social media (depending on how you define it) has been around now for a good number of years – I know, I have been on it in various forms for 8+ years!  It is most definitely now mainstream and whether you like it or not, social media is firmly embedded in our lives, every single day.

So Is Social Media Moving Too Fast For Recruitment?

Social recruiting isn’t some radical new form of recruiting, and it isn’t something that will make you change your recruitment strategy overnight. But social media has already changed how we communicate with each other, how we spend our time online and our approach to technology  processes – so why should recruitment be any different. 

From my experiences talking to companies about social recruiting, I have come to the conclusion that for many companies (not all I might add):

Recruitment + Social Media + HR = Change = A whole world of pain!

For this reason I am starting to think that HR departments are really starting to despise social media – especially when it involves recruitment! And it might surprise you to know that I do actually have some sympathy for them. 

It would be easy for me to hit HR departments with a proverbial stick with regards to change and the slow adoption of social media. But is it a priority for them? Where does it sit on their scale of importance?
Here are some of the reasons I have encountered working with HR Departments, that lead me to think that social media (in particular social recruiting) could now be a ‘distress purchase’ (one they are forced to make, but not out of choice at this time):

  1. Social media brings change …… and fast – too fast for many in HR, as they have their hands full with all the many other non-recruitment tasks (and they are many!) 
  2. Social media needs to be understood to be effective. This takes resources, time, training and budget – how many HR teams (including the recruitment functions) can ‘afford’ any of these?
  3. Procedures, processes and guidelines need to be changed/issued for legal protection (e.g. data integrity and data protection) within the recruitment cycle – who is going to do them then? HR?
  4. Technologies need to change to adapt to social media – websites, recruitment systems (ATS), new platforms need to be integrated and of course mobile. And as it sits within recruitment, who’s desk does this problem land on? HR
  5. Embracing the transparent nature of social media, can have huge implications for a company’s culture internally. Using social media in recruitment, can start to expose/highlight issues within a company that then have to be dealt with by HR. More challenges!
  6. Industry trade media are forever talking about using social media for recruitment – in print, at conferences and online. Is this setting of expectations for HR and recruiting team members, causing more pressure internally in companies?
  7. Every day HR Departments are getting sold to about something else to do with social media – the latest modules, training, systems, solutions, conferences etc. Has apathy already set in?
  8. Social media ‘has’ more guru’s, ninja’s and experts per square mile, than New York City has hot dog vendors. Can you prove it doesn’t? 😉 Confusion of where to turn for best practice advice is more challenging than ever! 
  9. Social recruiting has put the light on direct sourcing and candidate attraction like never before. There is still a perception from many senior business leaders that it is easy to do and low cost (if not free!!). We all know it isn’t either! So where do HR start with it all – Systems, people, process?
  10. (This one is more common than you think) The CEO tells a team to start using social media because…….. their son/daughter thinks they should, because they are on Facebook/Twitter etc! What a quick way to really p*** off an HR team! Not a business decision, but one based on family influence and definitely flawed!

How many HR Departments can cite more than one of these, as issues with social media coming into their HR world? Even five or six maybe?

I therefore get the feeling that a good number of HR people are now completely apathetic towards social media. And let’s not even go there with social recruiting!

You could argue that, ultimately, there is no choice, but to adopt social media with businesses today. I would be one of those. BUT, surely from a recruitment standpoint, having social recruiting as a ‘distress purchase’ in a company instead of a business led strategic decision, is only going to present problems down the line?

What do you think? Are you feeling apathetic towards social media, and in particular social recruiting?


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Contactus2 I work with recruitment agencies and corporates to help them understand and leverage the different social media networks to improve their recruitment strategy, recruitment process, candidate attraction, employer branding and content marketing strategy.
If you require guidance, advice or social recruiting training, get in touch today.

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We consult, train, tweet, blog, text, post, speak, share, read, update, photograph, video and talk about recruitment. At Sirona Consulting we work with companies, recruitment agencies, RPO’s HR & recruitment technology vendors and conference / event organisers, helping them understand and integrate social media into their recruitment strategies. We have have been doing this now for twelve years, working with many companies along the way, from small independent recruiters right through to large international companies. We are honest, ethical and have experience of working across a range of different industry sectors delivering success in the UK, Europe, Middle East, APAC and the United States.

Website: http://sironaconsulting.com


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