Putting a Social Spin on HCM

Drew Robb

Updated · Apr 16, 2013

Human capital management (HCM) is a complicated enough subject in itself. But add social recruiting into the mix, and some HCM applications are challenged to keep up.

After all, there are over one billion people using social networks globally, representing the largest recruitment channel in the world. Companies are struggling to leverage their brands on social channels to efficiently attract and hire the best talent. Those that succeed are finding benefits that go beyond traditional sourcing methods.

“One of the greatest challenges in social recruiting is mining the incredible amounts of data – that takes automating job posting and matching, as well as increasing and tracking the referral flow through social networks,” said Nagaraj Nadendla, group vice president, Oracle Product Management

The massive amount of data generated by social networks means that without analytics, organizations may be missing out on talent or targeting the wrong individuals. Further, the sensitivities of relationships have to be appreciated. It is a mistake to interrupt warm conversations between trusted friends on Facebook, for example, with an out-of-place job advertisement that is unexpected and perhaps unwelcome. The idea is to harness relationships and conversations, not to disrupt them.

“Relationships and recommendations are the currency of social networks,” said Nadendla.

Recruiting and the Social Brand

Referrals are generally recognized as the top source of quality talent. According to CareerXroads, a consulting firm, they shorten the recruitment timeframe and yield prospects three to four times more likely to be hired. By incorporating social sourcing and referral methods within HCM applications, organizations can turn employees into recruiters, Nadendla said.

Aasonn, a consulting firm and systems integrator, said that recruiting for social media accounts for about 6 percent of total recruiting spend. While Facebook and Twitter make up a sizable chunk of the pie, LinkedIn has become the dominant platform for recruiting, beating out traditional job boards like Monster and Career Builder as the place for job seekers and recruiters to connect. 

“One reason for the ascendance of LinkedIn is that it combines resources for active and passive job seekers – the latter being the more desirable population for recruiters, who struggle to identify good candidates from the pool of people who aren’t looking,” said Ceil Tilney, senior strategy consultant, Aasonn. “Recruiters are still figuring out how to harness the explosion of candidate information LinkedIn and other social sites represent.”

And, Tilney added, success on social media requires thinking more about the total employment brand than about recruiting as an isolated, transactional activity. Even something as innocent as poor formatting in a job posting sends a message throughout the network that the organization is technically weak. Therefore, talent acquisition strategies on social media should enlist marketing and communication experts to ensure visual as well as content sophistication will be attractive to target groups.

No-nos include:

  • Treating social sites like an online job board and bombarding users with job openings;
  • Failing to align each position to groups or sub-groups within a social media site;
  • Failing to develop an overarching employment brand, reflected in a corporate page on the site, and tying the job postings to that brand;
  • Not using the brand to provide other things of value to the community, such as links to information about the company or industry, etc.;
  • Not continuing the conversation after the hire for those who weren’t selected, as they’re now part of the organization’s community and should be cultivated

“The more you allow your customers and employees to engage and represent your brand, the more prolific your reach into new markets and applicants,” said Tilney. “Additionally, if there are patterns and key words in the language high-potential, high-desirable people use, make sure postings and job descriptions reflect that language.”  

Measuring Social Impact on Recruitment

No one social site, however, is a panacea. LinkedIn may be great for one type of candidate but Facebook may win out for other roles.

“How can companies find out which social tool is great for targeting computer engineers, or better for targeting sales professionals,” said Lisa Hartley, vice president of Product Sales & Strategy at SuccessFactors, an SAP company. “Answering this question is a dilemma for companies who are unable to effectively understand which social sites to target and measure which social recruiting tools are working.” 

She gave an example from VMware, which conducted testing pitting a general tried-and-true source versus a more boutique option. In this case, the boutique channel (GlassDoor) blew the socks off the more traditional channel for hiring one of the company’s critical positions. 

Another tip: Rather than assuming social networking can replace existing recruiting processes, companies need to think through their objectives and develop a plan that aligns it to corporate goals and with measurable results. Establishing measurements for objectives will show how social affects the bottom line. 

Hartley also made a point about persistence. In many cases, she said, it takes seven or more interactions with a candidate to engage them, even on a social platform. 

HCM Tools with a Social Focus

Here are three HCM tools that can help companies address the challenges of social recruiting:

Oracle Taleo Social Sourcing Cloud Service

Oracle Taleo Social Sourcing Cloud Service is said to enhance and automate social recruiting processes. The system matches open positions with employees’ social connections to generate referral suggestions.

While employees initiate outreach, recruiters can view referral activity, total job views and applications received. It also enables organizations to post jobs as company status updates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as launch a searchable job page within Facebook company or career pages.

Oracle makes a big deal out of its overall HCM integration. Those that deploy social recruiting tools are left with limited reporting capabilities. Therefore, Oracle unites this application into its broader Taleo and Oracle HCM suites to provide one platform for core HCM, talent management and business intelligence.  

SuccessFactors Recruiting

SuccessFactors Recruiting covers attracting and engaging top talent, selecting and hiring candidates, and measuring business results. It takes a cloud-based approach and publishes to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and email. Analytics are also built in.

Like Oracle, SAP emphasizes that SuccessFactors provides an integrated talent management platform which can be aligned with strategies for workforce planning, succession, onboarding and internal mobility.

The most recent feature is SocialMatcher, an automated job matching tool that visitors to career sites can use to find jobs using their social profiles. The matching process scans all open jobs and delivers recommendations to the job seeker. It is available to existing customers at no charge. 

IBM Kenexa

Kenexa Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), part of IBM’s HCM platform, covers sourcing, recruitment marketing, rapid-fire recruitment, an application specifically for call center hiring, onboarding, application management, and identifying quality candidates. 

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

Drew Robb
Drew Robb

Drew Robb is a writer who has been writing about IT, engineering, and other topics. Originating from Scotland, he currently resides in Florida. Highly skilled in rapid prototyping innovative and reliable systems. He has been an editor and professional writer full-time for more than 20 years. He works as a freelancer at Enterprise Apps Today, CIO Insight and other IT publications. He is also an editor-in chief of an international engineering journal. He enjoys solving data problems and learning abstractions that will allow for better infrastructure.

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