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Integrating mobile into a social media recruiting strategy

Earlier this month, I came across an article on MobileBeat about a new mobile tech start-up called Gigwalk that helps businesses recruit a mobile workforce. The concept is simple: Source geographically dependent, and minimally difficult tasks to people located in the area in which the task must be completed. Need to confirm a street name? Get a guy or gal on that block to take a photo of the intersection in question with their smart phone.

According to MobileBeat, Gigwalk aligns itself with oDesk and Elance, both of which provide a platform for access to freelanced work and labor, and the company has some reputable investors, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

While the Gigwalk relies on a community of mobile workers who are poised and prepared to act when called into action, there could be a much broader application here for social media recruiting of talent in general. By capitalizing on geolocation services, the notion of real-time community building could inject a new dimension into how employers are interacting with potential candidates, contractors or specialists.

In March, I wrote about the five keys to creating a social media recruiting strategy, and discussed in some detail the importance of using social media to engage the targeted candidate marketplace in an effort to build a meaningful talent community. What Gigwalk is doing complements this critical step. But the question for hiring managers and recruiters should be, "What elements of mobile recruiting should I factor in when community building?"

Can I build an app for my talent community? Is simply pushing text messages enough? Do I need to aggressively orient my geolocation efforts on Foursquare, Facebook, or Google to incorporate specific outreach for the purpose of nurturing the talent community?

The answers to those questions lie in the community objective itself. Gigwalk is turning remedial presence-based tasks into a mechanism to connect the tech savvy individual to others. Therefore the value of Gigwalk is probably not as much in the completion of the tasks themselves, but in the network that is developed. The same perspective should be taken by hiring managers and recruiters when considering the role of mobile in their social media recruiting strategies. While short term gains in accessing specific candidates is valuable, the longer term payoff is a connected and engaged talent community and extended ecosystem of talent.

How this would translate into the every day remains to be seen. But one could imagine directly sourcing new assignments to contractor workers that are nearing assignment completion and are in the requisite location. This would create a level of trust between employers, providers and the contractors themselves. Looking further out, it could potentially result in a deep virtual bench for all companies within a specific geographic location.

The boundaries are really only limited to the imagination, so it's probably not too early to begin considering how mobile should be integrated into your social media recruiting strategies.

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