Social Media Transparency Transforms Recruiting

By Aliah D. Wright Jun 23, 2014

​ORLANDO, FLA.--Embrace transparency—even if it’s scary. That’s what Will Staney, head talent warrior at Glassdoor, told attendees of the 2014 Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference & Exposition during his packed session, “How Social Media Has Transformed Talent Acquisition.”

“Social is referrals; it’s word-of-mouth on ​steroids."
Glassdoor began six years ago as a review site for job candidates and within the last few years began its foray into the job recruitment market. The site, which allows people to review—anonymously—their companies, now helps talent find jobs and recruiters find talent. Companies shouldn’t be fearful of the things their employees may say about them, Staney maintains; rather, they should embrace it.

That’s because the feedback “allows you to understand your culture. And although sometimes it’s hard to hear the truth, it allows you to improve your culture,” he said.
In addition to addressing social media transparency, Staney went over the evolution of:

Sourcing talent.
Employer branding and talent attraction.
Candidate experience and engagement.
Recruiting technology.
Recruiting analytics and metrics.
From job boards and applications to social recruiting and referrals, recruiting has grown exponentially: “Social is referrals; it’s word-of-mouth on steroids,” he said.

The way people look for a job and the technology used to do so have changed over the last decade, explained Staney, who added that 96 percent of the online population is on at least one social network and most of them are increasingly reaching those networks from mobile devices.

“In the pre-Web era—the dark ages—there was one place where you posted a job: the good, old newspaper,” he said. “I call it the dark ages because both sides were in the dark. You didn’t know much about them, and they didn’t know much about you.”

Companies then began using careers sites, he said, with long descriptions of what companies were like as an employer. Recruiters used resume databases to find talent but didn’t have much information before investing time in interviewing candidates.

Today, the idea of community online gives us “living social profiles, and candidates have the ability to see what it’s like to work at companies,” Staney said. “Candidates are fragmented and exist in different pockets throughout the Web. You have to continually keep up with technology, think strategically and think like marketers. The role of recruiting has changed.”

He said 47 percent of workers today were born after 1980—they don’t know what it was like before the Internet. By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be from the social media generation.

“If your company isn’t doing anything now to match their expectations,” it will eventually fall behind mainstream business practices, Staney said. “These people really see [social media use] as business tools as much as personal tools. Those two worlds are blending. It’s hard to see the difference between personal life and professional life.

“I think rather than making sourcers and recruiters obsolete, it makes them more important,” he continued. “The role is changing. Recruiters have to be marketers, technology emissaries and detectives.” They also have to be advocates for the adoption of careers sites that use responsive design.

“Did you know 90 percent of candidates now are searching your jobs from mobile devices? Are they able to find them?” he asked.

As for embracing transparency in the age where the social Web listens and responds, he encouraged HR not to be afraid of addressing online criticisms on Glassdoor and other social networking sites.

Rather than be afraid of what people may say about your company online, go to the social media site where the comments are being made and engage people in conversation about what’s being said.

“We give people the opportunity to respond to negative or positive comments on Glassdoor,” he said. “And you can respond and take a negative comment and turn it into something that has more-positive reviews. That’s the value of a two-way conversation.”

​Aliah D. Wright is an editor/manager for SHRM Online.


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