The evolution of the Internet is changing the way companies across an array of industries do business. This is certainly the case for the recruiting industry, where the evolving social media arena is revolutionizing the way corporate and agency recruitment professionals advertise and fill job opportunities.
Today, recruiters can use Web 2.0 applications to not only promote job opportunities, but also to learn more about candidates than they would from traditional resumes alone.
Despite its simplistic and user-friendly face, however, companies that are attempting to capitalize on Web 2.0 open media channels and networking capabilities are experiencing noticeable growing pains. The sheer size of the media space that makes it so attractive can be the very thing that makes it so intimidating to navigate and utilize.
As new users struggle to define their online persona, the boundaries between the professional and personal arenas become increasingly blurred. Moreover, training, implementation, time-management, and even cultural obstacles are among the challenges companies face when considering the use of social media venues for business purposes.
A Unique Approach
Hollister Inc., a Boston staffing firm, is one company that is successfully integrating social media into its business model.
The firm recognized both the opportunities and the challenges that Web 2.0 presented and took an out-of-the-box approach to harnessing new media. As a full-service staffing firm centered in Massachusettsâ€™ multi-industry job market, Hollister recognized early on that a basic company fan page, group, or Twitter handle would be hardly enough to reach its extremely diverse market.
With this in mind, Hollister partnered with its new media communications agency, 451 Marketing, and developed a model called Recruiting 2.0 — a cutting-edge social media recruitment platform that allows Hollister to consistently position its clientsâ€™ jobs on the most frequently used and fastest growing social media channels.
The model comprises multiple networking communities on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for each of the areas that it provides staffing solutions in, including: accounting and finance; administrative; creative and marketing; technology; and human resources. Hollister also markets via YouTube and manages three widely read blogs aimed at job-seekers and recruiting professionals.
Individuals can choose to follow Hollisterâ€™s Twitter handles and join its Facebook and LinkedIn pages to learn about the latest industry trends, news, and events, and to find job opportunities throughout New England.
By offering its users relevant information and the opportunity to network and participate in discussions with other like-minded professionals, the value of belonging to each group is clear.
Hollister recruiters benefit substantially from the model because it allows them to constantly advertise their clientsâ€™ job opportunities in front of both active and passive job-seekers. Ultimately, through the use of such highly targeted media outlets, Hollister is able to reach a market of talent that other staffing agencies simply cannot.
â€œMany of our clients have hit road blocks in implementing social media into their business and recruitment strategy, which is very understandable, given the challenges of implementation, time management and liabilities,â€ explains Kip Hollister, founder and CEO of Hollister, Inc.
â€œIn developing this model, it was extremely important for us to construct something that would offer companies an alternative method of reaching a much broader and more qualified online audience.â€
In fact, you can check out this Recruiting 2.0 video here: http://hollisterstaff.com/recruiting2.0/video.htm.
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The Value of Real-Time Interaction
Thanks to Recruiting 2.0, Hollister is now able to have real-time interaction with its online clientele. As the firm continues to enhance its service offerings, it can be consistently on top of the latest trends that are impacting the firmâ€™s six service sectors, and is able to directly engage candidates and clients to ensure that the firmâ€™s growth is inline with their markets needs.
â€œThe companies out there that are successful in harnessing Web 2.0 are taking advantage of its two way communication capabilities,â€ explains AJ Gerritson, a partner at 451 Marketing. â€œWhatâ€™s great about the Recruiting 2.0 structure is that it allows for our client, Hollister, to enhance the professional lives of their target audience through listening, interacting and problem solving.â€
Today, savvy job-seekers, particularly those of Generation Y, expect to engage in a two-way dialogue in the recruitment process. Many businesses are being faced with external marketing and communication challenges for this reason. The transparent structure of Hollisterâ€™s Recruiting 2.0 model allows professionals to communicate openly.
â€œItâ€™s great to see that technology has come far enough along to allow for a more personal and real experience,â€ explains Hollister. â€œI continue to warn my staff and clients, however, not to lose sight of face-to-face relationships, which, at the end of the day, are the foundation of this business.â€
A Strategic Partnership
To keep its online communities thriving, Hollister must continually publish fresh content that is worthy of usersâ€™ attention and will keep them engaged in the long-term. With its enhanced online presence, it is vital that all communities are monitored. This is an ongoing organic process that is fostered through Hollisterâ€™s collaboration with 451 Marketing.
â€œWe thought long and hard about how we were going to do this well,â€ explains Meg Toland, Hollisterâ€™s marketing and communications director. â€œRecognizing that we are not the experts in Web 2.0 and social media, we made the decision to partner with a company that has a strong reputation for being at the forefront of the online space.â€
The 451 Marketing team continuously powers engaging content as well as Hollisterâ€™s jobs throughout each Recruiting 2.0 community, while monitoring user activity and trends. 451 regularly sends its social media experts over to Hollisterâ€™s office to train recruiters on how to best use social media sites to their advantage. The trainings focus on issues such as developing a new media recruitment strategy, identifying an online voice, time management, and effective navigation of social media channels.
â€œWhen launching something as dynamic as Recruiting 2.0, there is a huge risk that the results and return might not be consistent with your original vision,â€ explains Toland. â€œWhen 451 called me with Julyâ€™s website analytics report, I was absolutely stunned by the numbers.â€
The results of Hollisterâ€™s Recruiting 2.0 launch are well-documented. Since its launch, Recruiting 2.0 has enhanced Hollisterâ€™s online brand presence and exponentially increased traffic flow to the companyâ€™s website.
In November 2008, Hollisterâ€™s website traffic averaged around 2,500 hits per month. Since the launch, the company has seen a steady increase of Web traffic. In July 2009, the company witnessed a record high hit rate of 15,900 visitors.