Seattle #SocialRecruiting Summit Highlights

SourceCon’s parent company, ERE Media Inc., holds seven yearly conferences: two SourceCon conferences, two ERE Expos, the Fordyce Forum, and two yearly Social Recruiting Summits. The most recent conference, the Social Recruiting Summit, happened on Monday in the Seattle area. Microsoft graciously hosted the event at one of its many locations in Redmond, WA. The theme for this SRS seemed to center on metrics, ROI, and results. These are topics that, as sourcers, we often have to bring to our managers and the recruiters whom we support in order to justify our use of social tools and any time we spend on them. For those who were able to attend the conference, there was a lot of great information shared. For those unable to make it, here is a synopsis of what was covered.

Naturally, since our event was held at Microsoft, we wanted to hear what MS has been doing to build social elements into its products, employment brand, and recruiting strategies. The day was kicked off with Stephen Bury, one of Microsoft’s Sr. Product Managers with the Office Consumer Marketing group, sharing how MS’s flagship product has integrated social into its various components. Among some of the interesting tidbits of information shared in Bury’s presentation was the discovery that viewers drop off video after approximately 90 seconds. How did they discover this? They created a video of a product manager discussing the new PowerPoint product that was six minutes long and were able to track when people clicked away from it. Result: they shortened the video. Bury also shared the idea of using a centralized model for employee social media engagement, which Microsoft is working toward – this is the idea of giving people liberty to do their own thing online but with guidelines on how to do it properly and professionally.

Early in the afternoon, Richard Cho, Recruiting Lead at Facebook, shared some of the things that they have been doing lately for recruiting, including a couple of neat videos. Cho shared how part of Facebook’s talent attraction philosophy includes getting its employees involved in the process, as well as being flexible to meet the needs of its people – hence part of the reason Facebook just recently opened an office in Seattle. Cho also mentioned that one out of every fourteen people in the world has created a Facebook account, a number that blew a lot of people’s minds. This opened up an opportunity for Cho to share a personal philosophy that we as recruiting and sourcing professionals ought not to simply ‘friend’ individuals on Facebook for the sole purpose of recruiting them. He said, “That’s what Fan Pages are for.”

Great examples of metrics were shared by Waggener Edstrom staffing team members Heather Flynn and Kristin Kalscheur, who showed how engaging internal marketing as well as seeking external SEO expertise to design a digital strategy for recruiting could boost a company’s online visibility, even on a limited budget. I was unable to attend the presentation by TMP VP of Client Strategy, Mike Vangel, however the examples shared in TMP’s work with UPS was covered in-depth by ERE Editor-in-Chief Todd Raphel over on the ERE site, including some information on UPS’s recent mobile campaign launch, their cost of development for both Facebook and Twitter presences, and some of the awards their social recruiting campaign has been both nominated for and awarded.

On into the day, more was shared by Michael Long (aka The Red Recruiter) of Rackspace on his challenges in bringing together internal bloggers from five continents to share the authentic culture of the organization (corporate blogging; a task often delegated to us sourcers!). Microsoft’s Heather Tinguely and John Phillips shared some of what they have been learning while pipelining talent through community building efforts and discussed some of the measurement, results, and risks associated with these activities. Community building is an activity in which many sourcers are involved – you’ll want to check the video for this one as Tinguely and Phillips were generous with what they shared – particularly in how they were able to lower days-to-fill as well as raise the quality of hire by engaging potential candidates where they are as opposed to trying only to drive them to a corporate career site as well as working collaboratively with internal marketing.

Wrapping up the day were Doug Berg, founder of Jobs2Web, and Kris Dunn, VP of HR at DAXKO, each leading different sessions. Berg’s presentation went through some very interesting statistics on social media use, including:

  • When people are most likely to check Twitter (Monday, Thursday, and Friday, mid-afternoon Central time) and
  • Who drives the most job-related traffic to career sites (LinkedIn: 47%, Facebook: 30%, Twitter: 16%)

Please read Todd Raphael’s excellent summary of Berg’s presentation for more statistics that were shared. In Dunn’s session, there was an open discussion of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to social recruiting. Summarizing the sentiment from the day’s presentations, the feeling in the room was that while we’ve certainly come a long way over the last eighteen months in understanding social media’s influence and importance within our current recruiting activities, we still have a long way to go to measure, engage, learn, educate, and collaborate.

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From a sourcing standpoint, following SRS, I believe there is tremendous opportunity for us as a community. Since we’re usually the first ones to embrace these social tools, we are in a unique position to really showcase how these tools can enhance (again, not replace) our teams’ efforts and put our respective companies on the cutting edge of progressive recruiting strategy. But we must have the ability to succinctly communicate these thoughts with our peers, our leaders, and our hiring managers in order to make our case.

This is a challenge I would invite the sourcing community to embrace – developing excellent business communication skills. After all, having all the knowledge in the world is worthless unless it can be shared.

Some special thanks go to Chris Hoyt, Talent Engagement & Marketing Leader at PepsiCo, who was the emcee for the conference. Chris brought his own personal as well as professional brand into his duties as he demonstrated, quite literally at times, the importance of drinking your company’s kool-aid. (or in his case, Gatorade!) As well, big thanks to our event sponsors, Pinstripe and CareerBuilder, who helped make the day possible. We certainly appreciate having their folks there and engaged with the community. You can check out some of the video from the conference at the Social Recruiting Summit website.

The next conference this year will be our own SourceCon Fall 2010! I certainly hope to see many of you at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. in just thirteen days. (I know – can you believe it!) Get yourself registered here and join us for two days packed with sourcing information and networking!

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter, FordyceLetter.com and SourceCon.com, with ERE Media. These days she's working on some super cool market intelligence and data analytics projects. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.

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