Talent recruiting through social media: A transcript

I had the pleasure a few weeks ago to sit down with Robin Richards, CEO and founder of CareerArc Group. Robin was with me at SHRM 2011, sharing how CareerArc has taken advantage of social media to improve a company’s reach into the right networks and reduce barriers to connecting with the right candidates.

As Robin explains in our interview, employers and job seekers have become lost in the hiring process. Resume blasts and overcrowded job boards reduce the likelihood of finding a great employee/employer match. CareerArc uses the concept of a referral to put trust back in the process. An amazing statistic Robin shared with me is that one in 10 people gets hired when they are recommended for a position, as opposed to one in 219 who is hired from a blind submission.

What lies ahead in the future of social media recruitment?  Download the transcript or listen to my interview to see what types of communities have already started forming online.

The arc of social media recruiting strategy

Joel: Good afternoon, thanks again for joining us on The Seamless Workforce. I’m with the CEO and co-founder CareerArc Group, Robin Richards. He’s been gracious enough to give me a couple minutes to explain the platform they’ve built to really leverage and further penetrate the data that’s available in the social media world and to develop that candidate marketplace a little bit more aggressively. Robin, first of all, thanks very much for your time.

Robin: Great, Joel. I really appreciate your time. This is a heck of a good conference; there’s a lot of people here, and we’re just excited to be part of this industry.

Joel: We are too. What I want to talk to you about today is leveraging the platform of digital and social communication to recruit better—for jobseekers, to leverage their network to seek the right opportunities for them, and for hiring managers, to build up the candidate marketplace a little more aggressively. So if you will, just share some of your insight that you’ve gained and what you’re doing to help hiring managers and jobseekers alike tap into that.

Robin: Well, the CareerArc Group starts with internships and then goes to full time jobs through our entire network. What we found early on is that the world’s changing quite a bit today, and there’s so much noise in the job boards, where all the tools have enabled people to blast out their resumes. So the relevance is beginning to go down. And when that relevance goes down to both the employer and the jobseeker, then the trust in that whole process starts to get eroded.

So we said, “How do you put the trust back in it?” And we decided to take a look at this from afar and move from the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends. And the social network allows us to reduce the total number of inputs. The wall of math is kind of like this: If you have more, it should be more relevant. What we’re saying is today, it might have gotten skewed a little bit. Maybe today less is more relevant because you have to find the right relevance.

So we said, “Let’s take advantage of the social network as a seeker.” We know a tremendous statistic. That statistic is one in 10 people get hired when they’re referred into a job. Why? Because employers have the same problem as seekers—too much noise. One in 219 people get hired when they blindly submit a resume. So you have to be able to tap into the millions people on Facebook in the social network and say, “If I want to work at Joel’s company, if I want to work at Yoh, do I have anybody in my network that ever worked there, or anybody that’s friends of the friends of my network that ever worked there. And if so, can you tell me who that is so that I can do my homework and diligence and become closer to that one in 10 versus that one in 219.”

So we built that application called CareerArc. When you download CareerArc, we’re going to give you the relevance of referral. Why is that good? Not only is that good for you because we know the statistics, but that’s very good for the employer. It’s not a blast resume. Somebody’s done their homework. They’ve learned a little bit about your company, and they want to come to your company because they’ve spent the time to learn a little bit about it. So it enhances the total applicant match.

That’s what we’re starting to miss with these large numbers. Applicant matches are starting to be lost. An employer has a multiplicity of platforms to play on today that are very difficult. They all have to tie back to their applicant tracking system and to their Facebook walls. There are all kinds of complexity from a technology perspective that the human resource executive has a hard time getting their share of technological resources from their company.

So we decided to build a jobs distribution platform, where a company can come in, give us with great clarity what job they’re after, and let us go and post that job and throughout the social network—Facebook, onto your wall, Twitter. We have 10,700 channels with our TweetMyJOBS property. There’s granularity in those channels, so they have a lot more relevance. So we think it’s a much better matching experience, and really human resource executives have to start to use the social network.

Joel: That’s pretty good overview of what we discussed. I think for the job seeker there is greater value to be had in the matching and expanding into their particular network of their community. And that’s the word I want to ask you about. For employers and hiring managers, do you see this technology and these methods as a way to build out the community of talent that might matter to my business, whether it be today or two years down the road?

Robin: Absolutely. Talent communities will be the next gigantic buzz word in this industry. And where are you going to get it? I can’t tell you what community you belong to, but you can tell me what community you want to belong to. Talent communities are self-forming. We can do anything we want, but at the end of the day, we know on the Web, they’re going to be self-forming.

So we have to create partnerships as companies, and as providers to companies, we have to begin the process of enabling talent communities to form on their own so that the matches become much more specific. That’s what the social network’s going to do. The social network by design, Twitter by design. I’m going to where ideas and thoughts that are similar to mine exist. Why we did 10,000 channels in 300 channels is because we’re starting to find out that in the rough beginnings of talent communities, I want more granularity. I really am only interested in talking to people in Los Angeles, doing graphic design, looking for a job.

Joel: So one more question, and let’s just think about the hiring manager who may or may not be well-partnered with his HR team. We certainly see cases where HR plays a very good partnership role and others where hiring managers are a little bit maverick and do their own thing. In that instance, is this a way, as a hiring manager, for me to begin to get you a little bit more insight into what the community looks like, so I can refine my candidate marketplace a little bit more discreetly?

Robin: I think that’s very well put, and I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen exactly. I think a hiring manager is going to be able to get great visibility at low cost without having to go to the executive. The price of hosting is dropping dramatically, and the self-selective nature of the talent pool is beginning to form right now in the social networks. It’s going to be a great day for hiring managers. It’s going to get a lot easier in the future for them.

Joel: That’s very good. So we’ve been talking with Robin Richards of the CareerArc Group, founder and CEO. Some great insight, Robin. I really appreciate your time today.

Robin: Joel, thank you so much for having us.

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