We’ve Only Hit the Tip of the Iceberg in Social Talent Acquisition

I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks digging through data from Brandon Hall Group’s 2014 Social Talent Acquisition Study, piecing together our first annual State of Social Talent Acquisition report. Although we just launched the survey in August, I’ve been working on the research since I joined the Brandon Hall team. You may think social talent acquisition hasn’t changed much in the last 18 months, but the various drafts of the scope document and survey questions I’ve written tell a different story.

As I see it, social technology is the most significant change agent in talent acquisition since the Internet. Not only has it pervaded almost every corner of the enterprise, it’s the long-overdue catalyst that has the potential to finally break the traditional reactionary recruiting model for good. I’ve written about this before, specifically citing the fact that social media has created a level of accountability for employers that has never existed before.

As I look through the data we have collected around how hiring organizations are using social in talent acquisition, what they’re trying to accomplish, and what kind of impact it’s having on KPIs, I realize many of them are chasing the wrong target.

The majority of recruiters are focused on top of funnel. They want to attract more candidates and gain more exposure for their open jobs. Whatever time they spend on social media, the bulk of it is spamming their networks with open jobs or blasting out InMails to semi-qualified, super-cold passive candidates. Very few (maybe 1 in 10 recruiting teams) are taking the time to think through their total talent acquisition strategy – and that’s a problem.

Honestly, most hiring organizations that are leveraging social are simply relying on their same old tired recruiting tactics, but on a different platform. The post-and-pray mentality lives on in many social talent acquisition practices, resulting in a number of missed opportunities.

Perhaps the most immediate opportunities lie in new use cases for leveraging social technology outside of the sourcing function (which is the extent of use for most recruiters). Indeed, only the select few are using social channels to strengthen employer brand, improve candidate experience, augment new hire onboarding, and bolster candidate assessments. More than that, they’re planning for success and developing formal strategies with clear goals and KPIs to ensure they are getting maximum ROI on time, energy, and resources invested in social talent acquisition.

Looking ahead, I think this is just the beginning. Social talent acquisition is maturing rapidly – and I believe this is in conjunction with a greater paradigm shift in talent acquisition. I’ll be sharing some thoughts on this in my forthcoming Industry Perspective, but for now suffice to say that the social talent acquisition conversation has only just begun.

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst,
Brandon Hall Group

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