Christopher Carlson, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Booz Allen Hamilton
I am happy to report that my team has created a new drinking game based on my journey into social recruiting. They have to drink every time I use the word “webinar”. Webinars have become an obsession of mine as I view them as a way to have virtual engagement and I think serve as a strong vehicle for sharing information. They also allow us to harness the enthusiastic employee base that we have and I have been so thrilled with the willingness our employees to participate in our initiative. I do feel for my team though as several of our team meetings have ended up looking like a TV network program scheduling meeting and I am sure my colleagues racked up quite a large number of drinks (not during work, of course). Part of my obsession comes from the need to address the objectives I discussed in Part 3 of my series and serve as a primary vehicle to address one of the two components of social recruiting that I see as essential.
From my perspective, there are two critical components of building a social recruiting strategy. The first is really about content and how you push your message out there or “branding”. To start down this path, we looked at different components of traditional campus recruiting and discussed how they translate into a virtual world. The content that is developed for the virtual world needs to be both engaging and compelling so that individuals will return time and time again.
That component takes some time to develop as you need to think about
- how you feed your message across all the outlets,
- how you highlight your employee value proposition, and
- how will you enhance the candidate’s experience?
You can’t just tweet: “We have jobs!” or “Hey you! Here is a job for you”. People will get bored with that very quickly. There will be a need to translate the key messaging from your traditional campus information session into virtual messaging and balance that messaging with your technical and functional expertise that you share in classroom presentations or case competitions.
You also have to think about how to touch as many candidates if not more with these messages in quick hits like a career fair and then drive those connections into actual pipeline. There are a number of companies out there that do a tremendous job with this component and have been doing so for a while so it is important to think about how to set yourself apart. It was this component that led to my team’s new drinking game.
The second component from my perspective is one that many old school recruiters may appreciate—“direct sourcing”. As you may recall, I grew up in recruiting and learned how to start with a list of five names and turn those into a pipeline and this background is the cornerstone of my recruiting philosophy.
I think the sound of directly source to identify talent in the college recruiting world doesn’t always seem like a popular approach with some people for a variety of reasons. However, it is what I know and is always forefront in my mind. I know that I want computer science majors who have internships, so I am going to go after those candidates. There was a time in our team’s past where they wouldn’t let me get a hold of a resume book because they knew I would be contacting candidates into the wee hours of the night and I would be firing off e-mails to the team with candidates who responded with interest.
I truly believe once a recruiter, always a recruiter. So you and I both know that there are candidates out there who don’t want to go to a webinar and for that matter, do not want to go to an in-person career fair, but they are candidates we still want to reach. I guess if you sat in a hallway on campus with some donuts you might reach some of them (I know I ALWAYS stop for a donut), but that is going to require a lot of donuts and a lot of manpower in a lot of hallways.
NACE reported that there are more than twice as many jobs for computer science graduates as there are graduates. So part of our strategy is about direct outreach. I will be honest: we are still reviewing and testing a variety of methods and tools other than me staying awake all night e-mailing every computer science student, and I don’t want to give away too much about some of our thinking around this one. Suffice to say, you have to spend some time thinking about this one.
Looking at how to integrate these two components has kept me up many a night. You are not going to be able to recruit a candidate if you don’t have a compelling employee value proposition or brand. Likewise, you can brand yourself all day long, but you may not ever reach the candidate pool you want without some good old-fashioned direct sourcing. So as I watch a variety of reruns and infomercials late into the night, I sit and wonder how to feed the student’s need to feel engaged if I don’t go to campus. In essence, how do I offer that virtual donut? (Mmmmmmm….donuts) And that, my friends, is our greatest challenge and where I think the greatest transformation within university recruiting is taking place—tapping into the social networks.
Look out for additional entries highlighting my journey into social recruiting. As a reminder, I am presenting on this topic in more detail at #NACE14. Also, if any of you want to connect to share stories or best practices, reach out to me and we can share some virtual donuts. I do like the donuts and the doughnuts.
“Everyone Is a Recruiter” will be presented on Tuesday, June 10, at 3:30 p.m. See the #NACE14 Itinerary Builder for details.
Did you miss Christopher Carlson’s first, second, and third installments on his journey into social recruiting? Read them now!