At ah HR event earlier this month, I advised organizations on adding more social media to their 2014 talent acquisition efforts. Since then, I’ve heard from many organizations who told me, “We’ve assigned our intern to handle that.”
That’s a mistake. Here’s why.
Social media is “social” because of the interaction between the poster and the audience. In talent acquisition, the conversation centers on job openings, the application process, and the company itself. Job-seekers expect a company’s social channels to have the information they want, almost instantly.
So why would this crucial position — charged with attracting the best talent out there — left to unpaid interns?
I recently did a search on Indeed.com for the term “social media intern.” Hundreds of results came back — all posted in the last few weeks. Some of them were specifically for recruiting while others included both marketing and recruiting, as if the two were basically the same.
This contradiction extends to the financial value that companies place on social recruiting. According to the latest Jobvite survey, 43 percent of companies spend less than $12,000 a year on social recruiting … even though 65 percent of recruiters believe its value is greater than $20,000 a year! Twenty percent of recruiters even place its value at $90,00 a year!
As we’ve all seen recently, one social media misstep can lead to days of bad press, loss of income, and (worst of all) the re-evaluation of job-seekers who were considering your organization. Whether it’s a single angry tweet at a fan or a complete meltdown on Facebook, errors in judgment can mean terrible damage to your brand. Interns, who are often young and inexperienced, may not understand what they’re doing wrong until it’s too late — or, if they’re unpaid, they might not really care.
And you don’t even have to look to major disasters to see how social affects recruiting. A study by CareerBuilder found that 70 percent of job-seekers said the experience during the application process had an impact on their decision to accept a position at a company. A lot of that “experience” comes through social media — from job postings on Facebook to employee videos on YouTube to company pages on LinkedIn.
A few years ago, interns were given the social media reins because they were young, and social media was used primarily by young people. That’s not true anymore. And social media is no longer an afterthought to talent acquisition; it’s now front and center, as 94 percent of organizations use social media for recruiting, according to Jobvite. Thirty-three percent of recruiters say social decreases time to hire, while 49 percent say it increases quality of hire.
I understand there are other reasons to rely on interns for social recruiting. Some organizations don’t have the headcount or the bandwidth to manage a successful social recruiting campaign that takes place in real time. That’s when you can bring in a cross-functional team of marketing, internal communications, publicity, and any other relevant stakeholders to help you in your efforts. Just make sure you implement guidelines to ensure they’re adhering to your brand voice and are aware of your hiring needs. The better the talent supporting your social recruiting, the higher return on your efforts.