Thoughts from #SRSC: Evolving Social from Use Cases to Business Cases

Last week I had the privilege of serving as emcee for the Social Recruiting Strategies Conference (SRSC) in Chicago. I had attended SRSC once before – having invited myself to speak on a panel on candidate experience in San Francisco earlier this year. I was expecting a similar experience in Chicago: recruiting leaders from progressive companies interested in learning more effective methods of utilizing social technology in talent acquisition.

But this conference was noticeably different from the last. A few sessions featured best practices in social recruiting, but attendees weren’t just there to learn new use cases for social. Many I spoke with were on fact-finding missions to gathering data they could use to build a business case for social that they could take back to their executives. Quite the departure from your run-of-the-mill recruiting conference, and an ideal audience for yours truly.

In my opening remarks, I revealed initial findings from our State of Social Talent Acquisition research in the form of an infographic on use of social technologies and a one-page report on top indicators of high performance in social talent acquisition.

The most compelling points for the SRSC audience had to do with the most fundamental element of effective social talent acquisition: strategy.

  • While 86% of companies surveyed are using social in talent acquisition, only 21% have a formal with clear goals and KPIs.
  • Those companies that have a formal strategy with clear goals and KPIs are 700% more likely to see significant impact on overall talent acquisition performance than those using social on an ad hoc basis or for select processes (like sourcing).

While 42% of recruiters still learn about key practices in social talent acquisition via trial and error, it stands to reason that those organizations with a more formal practice in place are better able to guide the efforts of their talent acquisition team.

The results are hard to ignore: Not only are these organizations twice as likely to see significant impact in their ability to hire better talent (which was the number one priority for organizations across the board in our State of Talent Acquisition report), but they also saw significant impact in efficiency metrics like time-to-fill and cost- per-hire.

Pretty compelling stuff – but only one small piece of the information SRSC attendees were able to bite into. It seemed every session featured data on impact and outcomes resulting from strategic social talent acquisition.

Having spent the last year hammering on the roles of measurement and strategy in high-performance talent acquisition, I find this is very encouraging. I’m also encouraged by the number of dedicated employer branding and recruitment marketing professionals who attended the conference – some from very surprising places (e.g. banking and finance, insurance, and manufacturing industries). This plus the number of conversations I had with conference attendees – from Qatar to Ohio – left me feeling far more optimistic about the rate at which talent acquisition is evolving.

I left Chicago with new friends, but also a new list of research to-dos as I reevaluated the work I need to do in order to support the continued progression of important trends like social talent acquisition, employer branding, and candidate experience. In the next few weeks, I’ll be publishing more findings from our Social Talent Acquisition survey. If you’re interested in learning more, you know where to find me.

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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