Social recruitment: just playing around?
Social Recruitment

This is the second article from our special guest contributor, Guy Clapperton. Author of the very popular ‘This is Social Media’ and ‘This is Social Commerce’.

A number of companies have noticed that you can do more with social media than socialize and market your goods and services. Useful though these elements are to every company it’s just as easy to use the new networks to recruit people.

Take hotel company Marriott, for example. Its social media agency was visiting its operation in Mumbai, interviewing staff, and spotted a number of people standing outside. “Outside” in Mumbai, following terrorist attacks the previous year, meant behind an intimidating wall. He asked the staff why people were standing looking in; it turned out they were curious. They had travelled to find work from small villages and they had no conception of what happened in a large hotel like this – tea, for example, was to them a drink for which you stood in line. It was three rupees; why would you wait in a chair for someone to bring it to you for ten times that amount?

The agency quickly realized that this meant these people coming looking for work wouldn’t apply to the hotel for employment but they were a willing workforce. So it researched what else they did in their time and found that they played a lot of Facebook games after networking for work.

The agency therefore decided to develop a Facebook ‘hotel’ game, in which the players would roleplay their way through the various functions within a hotel so they understood its workings. Then at the end they were offered the option of making a real-life application for employment. Perhaps oddly this took off in more developed countries too, where they’d have known all about hotels to begin with.

It’s an example that illustrates some of the different things that can be achieved with social media. There are other examples worldwide. In the UK in June a woman who had been made redundant from her job put a note on Twitter to say she was seeking employment and had good PA skills. A lawyer saw the Tweet and admired her initiative, calling her in for an interview.  At the time of writing it’s not known whether she has succeeded but if so she’s in line to earn £50,000 a year, which would be over twice the national average wage.

There are counterexamples too. The woman who put the following Tweet up had cause to regret it: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” She had forgotten that Cisco, as a technology company, would almost certainly be reading. It was and the offer of work was withdrawn immediately.

The examples say a great deal about how to approach social recruitment. First, as the Cisco non-employee found, remember everything is visible. You can’t Tweet or Facebook to your friends or employees alone. Someone will find whatever you’re saying, it will come back to you. Second, as the other examples found out, you might not know exactly who’s out there reading but guessing that a likely employer might well be looking was clearly right.

Marriott did everything right. It researched its market and found out why the people were standing outside watching the hotel. It found out what they did and realised social media gaming was the right way to approach them, engaging an expert to make a decent game. You’d think it would be easy – so why aren’t more companies recruiting this way?

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