By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Social media is without a doubt one of the most significant sources of recruiting and sourcing candidates. This was proven by the Aberdeen Group in “Talent Analytics: Moving Beyond the Hype,” a study that revealed that 82 percent of companies are using social media to source candidates. To me, this means two things. First, I’m excited that the human resources industry is keeping up with the times and making strides to meet candidates where they are. But the second thought I had about this is that for some of us, it means onto the next thing.
I’ve never been one to live by the bandwagon mentality. You know, if everyone else is doing it you should be too, and in the same breath, if no one else is doing it, then I probably shouldn’t either. In fact, by the time everyone else is doing it, I want to be onto the next thing.
In our industry, most of us don’t set out to become a living legend. Most of us simply want to do a good job of sourcing the best talent. But those who crowd source their decision making based on what their peers or competitors are doing aren’t just keeping themselves from becoming industry leaders. They’ll also be the ones taking the leftovers. If 82 percent of companies are using social media, then we’re no longer trendsetters for our use of social media in recruiting.
Going where social media can’t
Social media itself is an effective method for sourcing, however it is a one-sided tool that focuses only on finding talent through social media channels. It doesn’t provide a solution of what to do with what you find. The next highly adopted recruiting and sourcing tool will be something that takes social sourcing much further: the interactive talent community. An interactive talent community is the answer to the question of what happens after you find talentthrough social recruiting. It provides a way to store your sourced profiles and track the actions your recruiting teams have taken to reach out to qualified candidates.
Beyond the social, beyond the network
Since we’re talking about social media and what one does with the information gathered there, it’s important to note that the problem has been addressed before, though never really successfully. The attempt to solve this problem came in the form of a talent network that allows recruiters and practitioners to store information. The simplest and most common form of this is essentially an email management system. The basic goal for recruiters is to have website visitors provide their email address to express interest in future job openings. The problem is that most talent networks never go beyond the standard automated emails. There’s no interaction, relationship or engagement. This type of non-responsive strategy plays a part in candidates’ increasing frustration about the candidate experience and lack of engagement from company recruiting teams.
The next wave

For a talent network to be successful, it must actually be an interactive talent community that enables you to engage and build relationships with candidates whom you have made an initial point of contact. It’s no longer enough to recruit on social, and it’s no longer enough to offer a one-sided talent network. We must go beyond social media and social sourcing by offering an employer-controlled and branded environment that helps connect the candidate to your recruiting team.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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