Today’s candidates have high expectations for the experience that is offered by a company committed to attracting and retaining Talent. From the type of information that an interested candidate is able to find about working at your company, to how initial connections are made and a relationship established, to the experience on the Career Web Site. And it doesn’t stop there. Once a successful candidate becomes a hire, they also have high expectations for the on-boarding experience, the Intranet, and even after they leave in the form of the availability of Alumni networks.
This expectation isn’t set by the type of experience they are used to having on career or internal company sites, rather it is set by the type of online experience that are available on much of the rest of the web where they are using social networks, blogs and articles that allow comments, and discussion forums to connect and interact.
In order for corporations to successfully use social computing tools to connect and build relationships with talent in an authentic way that builds credibility and trust, an internal resource needs to be identified to foster this “candidate community”. While consultants and agencies can help provide knowledge and guidance, brand reputation monitoring and process research, technical support, web development work, and ROI metrics – the actual building, evangelizing, and cultivation of the community HAS to be done by the people at the company itself.
“But who is going to manage and moderate this?”
Utilization of social tools and the publishing of work related content will/should/already does happen through many employees at a company (how many of your people have facebook pages?) – but the Champion of how encouraging, leveraging, and distributing this work related content should fall under a specific owner.
This position may eventually be known by many different titles, but for our purposes here, I will call this position: Candidate Community Manager (CCM). Jeremiah Owyang outlines the main Tenets of all “Community Managers” in his post from November of 2007 – The Four Tenets of the Community Manager. For the specific “Candidate Community” as it relates to recruiting the best to work with your company, these tenets are just as relevant:
- Candidate Community Advocation – An advocate for the candidates that focuses on listening and understanding their expectations, monitoring and participating in the conversations that are taking place in a variety of online channels such as social networks like facebook, job seeker forums like Indeed.com Forums, and feedback sites such as JobVent. By being good at listening and understanding the candidate community, the CCM can focus all content programming on the interests and needs of their candidate community members and help to evangelize these needs with company stakeholders.
- Employer Brand & Reputation Ambassadorship – The employer brand evangelist heads the team that communicates career opportunities, company culture, promotes career events, and highlights awards and news items through tradition and channels. I currently know of no better example of using social channels to communicate company culture and shine a light on the many employer brand evangelists (read *your employees*) than what Ariel Meadow Stallings is doing for Microsoft through her blog Microspotting and the corresponding flickr photstream, Twitter profile and videos.
- Online communication and analysis skills – A candidate community manager has to “get it” when it comes to social computing. They will need to be savvy users of social networks, understand RSS and content portability and distribution, blog participation even if they do not author one, how to create and respond to forum threads, how to encourage comments, as well as how to effectively and authentically use microblogging sites like twitter and plurk. The successful CCM literally has to be an active member of the online communities. Having a deep understanding of the best way to respond to the community and how to address negative or even inflammatory issues and deal with online trolls. Finally, in order to understand user patterns and site effectiveness, the CCM need to know how to get access to and to understand site analytics reports.
- Candidate focused site requirements gathering and process improvements – In order for a candidate community manager to be able to meet the needs of their community, they have to have a true understanding of their on and offline reputation as an employer, as well as an understanding of the effectiveness and candidate perspective on the current recruiting process. In short – they have to be the expert at knowing how their members define an “excellent recruiting experience” and be able to communicate this internally and to consulting/agency partners in order to present the business case to secure funding, as well as to communicate actual solution requirements to the teams that will develop and implement them.
This begins to outline the tenets for a true champion of social recruiting and the candidate community within a company. The results for a progressive company that implements a social recruiting strategy, lead and fostered by a Candidate Community Manager will be increased relevant and real online conversation about their employer brand, their culture and job opportunities that exist. This will lead to increased credibility, exposure and most importantly, an increased understanding of your target – The Candidate.
Shannon co-authors EXCELER8ion with her other half Julian Seery Gude. EXCELER8ion is a blog about digital engagement.
Shannon is a regular speaker in the HR & Talent Acquisition space where she’s known for her work in social media and integrated digital engagement. By day Shannon works at a Recruitment Marketing Agency.