Social Recruiting: Is the hype over yet?

Gartner HypeNext week I head to the US for the Social Recruiting Summit a one day extravaganza being held at the Googleplex in Mountain View. But as I sit here in wintery Melbourne pondering the future I am wondering when Social Recruiting will fall off the top of the Gartner Hype-curve? It will fall the trick will be to ensure that it does not get stuck in the Trough of Disillusionment.

Social Recruiting is going through a similar phase as cloud computing, I drew this conclusion after reading the McKinsey paper on Clearing the air on cloud computing. Lots and lots of talk, hype and tremendous promise but technical and operational issues are hampering wide spread usage within large enterprises.

Let’s look at McKinsey’s recommendations to stabilise the cloud computing discussion and apply it to social recruiting.

  1. Get an industry definition on social recruiting, Riges Younan and John Sumser have been having a discussion on this over at SocialRecruiting.com
  2. Figure out how to get around the hurdles for adoption in large enterprises; Financial, Technical, Operational and Organisational.
  3. HR/Recruiters should focus on ensuring their operational service delivery is excellent instead of creating unrealistic expectations that social recruiting will save them.
  4. Everyone should take solid actions to limit the time in the trough, recruiters show clear ROI, technology vendors enhance integration, HR develop strategies.

More on this later.

The future of recruiting technology

I have been thinking a lot recently about the future of recruiting technology. While social networking is all the rage at the moment it is not new, and was first seen as a recruitment tool at least two to three years ago if not longer.

So where to next?

I usually look at future technology trends with two view points, the Gartner Hype Cycle and Chris Anderson’s, from Wired Magazine, four key stages of technology viability.

First let’s look at the Gartner Hype Cycle. 

Hype Cycle

According to Gartner the visibility of new technologies peaks early with lots of hype and excitement, followed by a “trough of disillusionment” where inflated expectations hit reality. It is at this time when fundamental changes in both what the technology does and how we use them takes place. Sometimes technology does not survive but as the technology begins to prove itself we see it being used productively.

The trick it to know where a technology is on this curve. For example social recruiting, “peak of inflated expectations” or “slope of enlightenment”?

The second approach I have been thinking about was provided by Chris Anderson at TED in 2004 where he talked about technology collisions as a way of assessing its viability. The four collisions he lists are:

  1. Critical Price
  2. Critical Mass
  3. Displacing another technology
  4. Commoditise, nearly free

For example, job boards are moving toward being a commodity. Using free software anyone can create a job board for a community in about 24 hours.

Following FutureSummit I am also looking at the future in the terms of MegaTrends. The two trends of note here are the Rise of Asia and Connectivity. With connectivity, while social networking is all the rage now we don’t grasp what is going to happen as mobile connectivity really takes off. Could this mobility in social networking change influence?

So I have three attributes to consider now for technology each with their own factors to consider. I suspect somewhere in the mix is the future, now if I can only find it.

Trend Influences

Social Recruiting and Social Media ROI

It is said in business you measure what matters.

The same can be said for the implementation of social recruiting/social media. Basically its use is designed to positively impact your business. The only way to ensure that this is in fact the case is through clear and focused measurement.  Measurement also allows you to adjust your approach along the way. Spending too much time in one area without a positive return? Then measurement will help you understand how to make changes. Finally measurement is part of reputation management, as the only way to understand your online reputation is to measure what is being said, it’s also the only way to really manage your corporate brand online.

The measurement process does not need to be complex. However it does need to allow you to understand the impact on your business.

I also believe there is no right way of measuring the return on investment for use of social media in business. Why? Because the objectives for using social media are different. 

Lets look at Quantitative Measurement.

Quantitative measurement is required when you are looking to measure hard numbers such as increases in candidates or sales, site traffic, speed to hire, reduction in calls to your customer service staff. To measure the results you will require tools and services that provide you information on your program success.

As part of regular business operations you should have tools to measure your sales, time to hire etc but what about measuring your activities online and your reputation?

Here are a eleven free tools to get you started:

  1. Post Rank
  2. Post Rank is a free service that measures social engagement on online content produced in RSS feeds such as blog posts or news stories. This is done by measuring the type and frequency of your audience’s interaction with the content, for example bookmarking, commenting, blogging about the post.

  3. FeedBurner
  4. FeedBurner is an essential free RSS distribution service that provides detailed blog readership measurement and engagement metrics. Using FeedBurner you can measure the number of subscribers to your feed, gain an understanding as to which blog posts are popular and also measure users who have taken action based on your content.

  5. Google Analytics
  6. Google Analytics is another essential tool for any web site. Google Analytics provides sites traffic trends, search keywords, conversion measurements, time spent on your site and the number of pages viewed. Google Analytics provides a professional level of information for free in an easy to use and understand layout.

  7. Xinu
  8. Xinu measures the status of your site in several search engines and social media sites. It also provides some simple diagnostic tools to allow you to improve your site.

  9. WordPress Popularity Contest plugin
  10. If you are using WordPress as your blogging tool of choice installing the Popularity Contest plugin by Alex King is highly recommended. This plugin measures views, comment etc are tracked and provided point values to determine popularity.

  11. Google Alerts
  12. Are email and RSS updates of the latest Google results based on your specific watch list words or topics. You can subscribe to each alert through email and RSS. The alerts track blog posts, news articles, videos and even groups. Set a “comprehensive alert,” which will notify you of stories, as they happen, for your name, your topic, and even your company.

  13. Technorati
  14. A free blog search engine that amongst other things allows users to create custom watch lists of words of topics. When one of your terms appears Technorati will add it to your customer RSS feed for that watch list.

  15. Yahoo Pipes
  16. A free service from Yahoo that allows users to build very complex aggregation tools, called Pipes. The Pipes can be either kept private or shared publically. Yahoo Pipes is a very comprehensive tool, however I would not recommend it for someone without significant technical skills.

  17. TweetBeep
  18. A tool that reviews the content of public Twitter updates, Tweets, and based on your key words will send you an email either hourly or daily as people discuss your keyword. If your business is locally focused the alerts can also be restricted to specific locations so you do not get overloaded with irrelevant information.

  19. Social Mention
  20. A free search engine that aggregates information across many different user generated contact sites such as blogs, comments, photos, voting, tagging and micro-blogging. Users can subscribe to the watch lists by either RSS or email.

  21. BackType
  22. Most of the above tools do not allow you to see the comments left on sites that might mention your terms. This is where BackType can help. BackType allows you to receive updates whenever your terms are mentioned in a comment, once again subscribe via email or RSS. 

Another tip, all of these tools can be used to source candidates, plug in a keyword and “automagically” you get feeds of potential candidates. More on how to manage that information flow later.

Inspired in part by Jim Durbin’s post yesterday on Sodexo’s activities.

Update: Here are 3 more tools Radian6Techrigy, or Spiral 16 

Social Recruiting and an experiment

Last week I was meeting with Riges Younan and Jeremy Samuel from 2Vouch to discuss Riges’s presentation for Australiasian Talent Conference in Auckland, topic being “The Evolution of Social Recruiting”. To develop the presentation Riges wanted feedback from the recruiting community on their thoughts, ideas and case studies. To quote Riges:

I need your help to shape, contribute and assist in the creation of this presentation.  I’ll be posting ways in which we can work together to create something that will assist many HR, Recruiters and Jobseekers around the world.

To facilitate the process Riges wanted a blog and a wiki to collect the content and discuss the ideas. So http://socialrecruiting.com has been set up. If you have anything to say on social recruiting or recruiting in general go register and contribute, the rest of this post will be be about how I built the site.

When thinking about what tool to use to build the wiki I was very concerned that many wiki tools still use a Wiki-markup style, while basic can put a lot of people off contributing. We wanted the barrier for use to be low.

The blog was to be in WordPress 2.7, I did a bit of searching and found a wiki plugin from Instinct. While only recently released it had all of the features I needed to get the site going  quickly. I needed to modify the code a bit to fix some of the bugs, I also updated the security components along with the theme to adjust how pages were edited. Once users register they can edit any pages through the WordPress administration dashboard. This way we leveraged the power features of WordPress as a blogging platform and also its very easy to use user interface for the wiki component. Security has been adjusted so all users can create and edit and page, upload images and video, create but not publish blog posts.

Some additional plugs have been used to add collaborative features including Add to Any, Collapsing Pages, GD Start Rating, and SlideShare.

Yes there are other tools I could have used but not for only 10 hours work across two days.

I would be very interested to hear any thoughts.