Social Sourcing: Building Connections vs. Broadcasting

Earlier this week, I closed our first Social Talent Acquisition survey. Unlike our Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Survey, which examined hiring organizations’ priorities, processes, and technologies, this survey is focused on how social technology is being leveraged in talent acquisition efforts – and to what end. I’ve spent the last few days neck deep in survey data, looking at things every which way in order to uncover key practices in this rapidly maturing component of high-performance talent acquisition.

I’ll be debuting a couple of pieces of research in Chicago next week at the Social Recruiting Strategies Conference, but felt compelled to share one of the more interesting findings from the survey.

Half of the 150 organizations surveyed are using social channels to broadcast open jobs and for direct sourcing. No surprise there, right? This was the first and most straightforward use case for social recruiting.

What’s interesting is that the most effective hiring organizations are leveraging the power of social technology to invigorate employee referral programs or build and nurture talent communities. Our data shows that only those organizations that are focused on building connections with candidates are seeing meaningful impact on their efforts to connect with passive candidates and hire better talent (as much as three times the impact).

This validates a point I’ve been making for a while now: Success in sourcing efforts these days requires a balanced approach to finding and engaging talent. If you’ll remember, at Brandon Hall Group we’ve identified five elements of high-performance sourcing strategy:

  • Searching
  • Broadcasting
  • Attracting
  • Engaging
  • Referring

As I’ve said before, sourcing is perhaps the most dynamic corner of the technology market – and this is evident in how rapidly the use cases for sourcing technology are evolving and changing. The emergence of social has had a massive impact. Today, recruiters have countless new tools at their fingertips for finding and engaging talent in an infinite number of ways. And yet, according to our 2014 State of Talent Acquisition Report, 40% of companies companies rated their sourcing efforts as less than moderately effective.

Furthermore, 51% rated their sourcing technology as less than satisfactory.



Source: 2014 BHG Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Survey

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say these two points are connected. Our research indicates that the vast majority of organizations struggling to source talent are limiting their sourcing strategies to Searching (e.g. direct sourcing) and Broadcasting (e.g. job posting). While both have a role to play in high-performance sourcing, they are highly transactional – and do little to support long-term talent acquisition performance.

What I’m seeing – in the data and in a growing number of case studies – is that organizations that are more proactive in sourcing talent are more likely to incorporate Attracting and Engaging elements into their sourcing strategy, and therefore more likely to consistently find, hire, and retain top talent.

This is only the tip of the iceberg from our ongoing research on the impact of social technology on talent acquisition performance. I’m excited to share other findings in the coming weeks.

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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