By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Social media is a huge part of our lives, from work to family to dating and everywhere in between. It’s become ever present and will only continue to grow and continue its reign as the one tool that manages to have a relevant place in every aspect of our lives. Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen it change significantly and watched it become a major part of how we interact. I’ve also seen it seep over into the recruiting and hiring industry, which is really no surprise since what we do tends to mirror what’s going on in the real world so closely. Most importantly, the strategy for using these tools has evolved. It’s become more complex and involved. It’s adapted to the ebbs and flows of each network’s popularity. It’s gone from being seen as a tool to get the word out to being seen as a place to build relationships, share resources and listen to what the workforce is saying.
Social media has certainly evolved and with each new wave of technology and networks, we find exciting ways to do what social was made for, which is fostering relationships. Take a look at five of my favorite and most useful ways to make the most of social media in recruiting and hiring.
Social media sourcing
Recruiting teams everywhere are taking advantage of the candidate information being shared online, but they’re using it in pretty creative ways. The plethora of social networks out there allow you to not only engage with candidates but also monitor their professional activities, research their expertise and habits and even see what events they attend, both online and in person. Getting to know a potential candidate before they ever walk through the door can lead to better hiring decisions.
Real-time focus group
If you’re not using social to listen to your candidates, competitors and current employees, you’re missing out on valuable, free research. Get out there and see what people are saying about your company, what your competitors are offering and what potential candidates want.
Employment Branding
Your employment brand is the public’s view of your company as an employer, and these days it’s based largely on your social presence. It’s your job to shape and influence that brand, so use your social presence to build it. There are robust strategies for employment branding, but you can start with three simple things: consistency across all channels, perfecting the tone of your messaging and creating a network of people who are advocates of your employment brand, such as current employees.
Engagement
Break through the clutter of your social networks and engage your networks. Video broadcasting apps like Meerkcat and Periscope are the newest way to engage, but you should also consider consistent engagement opportunities like a Twitter chat. Remember though that while these are great tools, you don’t own the network but are just renting space. To have more control over your community, consider a talent networkjust for your company.
Job Distribution
We’ve evolved past just the time when we simply receive information. We want to engage with it. Candidates want to talk to recruiters, not just follow an account that only blasts out new career site job opportunities. Use your social networks as a way to engage in discussions about job postings as well as discussions outside those specific job opportunities. Social recruiting is just as much about building a pipeline of candidates for the future as it is about filling open positions.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

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