In my home office, there is a large neon sign that I picked up at an auction that says, “Buffet Open, All You Can Eat”. Every time we start to discuss social media and recruiting, I think of that sign. There are so many options from which to choose. You can eat from across the whole buffet and self-select those items you want to eat, or you can go to one of the specialty stations to be served a specialty item such as an omelet or a cut of meat. When approaching a good buffet (and there is only one that I will frequent which is in Vegas and you know which one it is), I am careful to review all the options before even grabbing a plate. Once I review my options, I develop a strategy based on how hungry I am and how much time I have. I have been known to relax between courses and to partake of king crab legs for hours.
It was this same approach in developing our social recruiting strategy. We took the time to really understand why we were going to this buffet, and we were careful to review our options in order to select the right ones to meet our needs. We realized that we couldn’t have everything on the buffet. We knew we had time to roll it out and to make a few trips to the buffet as we evolved our thinking. We also knew that we didn’t want to do something just to do it. It had support one of our key objectives which for us included (1) further personalizing our value proposition, (2) enhancing candidate engagement (3) being scalable and sustainable, and (4) building a long-term talent community. All of these objectives aligned to our “burning platform” or the key areas of opportunity for us. Each of you may come to different objectives for your efforts based on your rationale. It is essential in developing your strategy that you have clear objectives and that you design your efforts to support those objectives.
So we grabbed our plates and we started to select the components of our strategy. We wanted to look at short- and long-term initiatives that would allow us to make impact against our objectives with the resources available. Some members of the team had eaten at this buffet before and some had avoided this buffet all together. To ensure we all were on a level playing field, we reviewed the buffet – we looked at the most popular social media tools including but not limited to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. We reviewed how our organization was using these for marketing purposes. I will say here that a lesson learned is to make sure everyone knows that although these platforms support social networking, the strategy isn’t just about one-on-one networking with everyone and his or her mother. Everyone on the team has to understand that it isn’t about posting pics from the intern BBQ or that you have to have a special business handle. It isn’t about each person on your team picking a platform or everyone picking the same platform. It is about composing a balanced plate of options.
So our “small but very mighty” team approached the buffet. We realized as we started to map solutions against our objectives that we didn’t want all of those options right away. At least we recognized that we didn’t want them as a main course but rather as side-dishes to a larger “main dish”. For example, we wanted to leverage Twitter and LinkedIn to promote our interactive webinar series for students and career services and not as primary means of interacting. So our webinars were the main course that linked back to our objectives and the social media tool was the side-dish that complimented the effort. We continued to build our plates to include internal-facing initiatives such as a firm-wide campaign leveraging employees at the grass roots, enhancing our SharePoint site and sharing information broadly via Yammer and quarterly firm-wide teleconferences for all staff. It is starting to look like a composed plate with some real depth of flavors but we know that we need to continue to revisit the buffet to satisfy our hunger.
If this blog entry made you a little hungry for more, I am going to be sharing more about our lessons learned and additional trips to the buffet in upcoming blogs. Also, as a reminder, I am presenting in more detail at #NACE14. If any of you want to connect to share stories or best practices, reach out to me and we can start the discussion over the phone or via one of the social media tools. Who knows, maybe we can start a Twitter chat.
“Everyone Is a Recruiter” will be presented on Tuesday, June 10, at 3:30 p.m. See the #NACE14 Itinerary Builder for details.