Using social media as a tool for HR

Love it or hate it, social media is a big topic at the moment, and probably will be for some time. Social media is now being applied in all kinds of circumstances away from general chit chat between friends. From businesses setting up customer service functions and live feeds from the Police being displayed on Twitter, to surveys on LinkedIn and consumer fan groups on Facebook, the relationship between businesses and customers in many instances has gone all… well, social.

All of this may seem a little irrelevant to a HR or Recruitment professional at first glance, but a bit of time spent thinking about how the fundamental concepts behind social media can be applied to employment practices could pay off.

One of the best things about these tools is that they’re all entirely free in a monetary sense. It’s a case of investing your time in them instead in order to establish enough of a presence to yield a reward.

Some of these ideas may be practical for your business, some might not, it’s best to think first about what you want or expect to get from any strategy that you apply to social networking sites, whether you simply want up to date information or are pro-actively looking for interaction with future job candidates. Once you know, then it’s time to decide which tactics are relevant. A few ideas are below:

• Search out blogs on HR and recruitment topics, and subscribe where applicable.

• Start your own blog. You can make it specific to HR, or partner with other departments if you need more content and topics to write about.

• Find and join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your company and your role.

• Get line managers involved in interacting with candidates when they are recruiting.

• Begin compiling a list or file of articles and blogs which are relevant to you.

• Learn to use RSS for news feeds and set up Google Alerts to see what is being said about your company or your vacancies.

• Track your competitors’ employment activity using the company following tool on LinkedIn.

• Implement a ‘Live Chat’ feature on your careers page so candidates can contact recruiters or hiring managers directly with any questions about jobs or your organisation

• Create groups for employees on social sites.

• Ask staff to contribute to the company blog, to give opinions and provide case studies about the training offered and the workplace.

• Train the relevant new staff to update blogs, and use social tools.

• Upload videos of staff experiences onto YouTube to give insight to working at your organisation.

• Use video as a way of promoting vacancies; link it to your careers site.

• Encourage broad distribution of job details by using “share” links.

If you are looking to promote your brand as an employer and give an insight into the culture and personality of the organisation as well as keeping up to date, you could do far worse than spending an hour or so a week blogging, sharing and browsing.