The hiring slowdown is continuing to defrost, but what will it look like once it’s back in full swing? I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal suggesting the old avenues might be showing their age (read it here). In addition, social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook continue to take an increasing role in shaping companies’ employer brand and recruiting pool.
This trend was apparent as I looked through the practices of this year’s FORTUNE list of 100 Best Places to Work. These companies are clearly selective and intentional in their use of social media, with some explicitly choosing not to use social media until the tool fits their strategy and culture. Yet those that did are clearly leveraging it to the extreme.
Google’s approach is a perfect example of what best companies are accomplishing with social media. The firm uses several platforms, including a Twitter account (@googlejobs with over 25,000 followers), a Facebook page (Life at Google with over 6,000 fans), a YouTube channel, and their new Life at Google Buzz profile. Google uses these platforms to interact with the company’s followers by soliciting questions and having their engineers submit video responses. All channels are updated and monitored by actual Google recruiters, so candidates have easy and quick access to answers about the hiring process as well as keep up to date on activities and open positions.
Ernst & Young also provides an example of how social media can give a leg up in a recruiting war, like the one in the accounting industry for college graduates. To supplement their Facebook page, they launched Connect2U, a Facebook application that includes an interactive events calendar, access to recruiters and loads of vital career information. Connect2U uses publicly posted profile data to deliver school-specific recruitment event information to Facebook fans who choose to download the app. Nearly 100 schools are supported with custom information. In addition, there’s a roundtable module to allow students to discuss career-related topics with each other and with recruiters. Weekly tips provide study and interview advice.
While the best continue to lead the innovation charge, I was struck by how they haven’t abandoned the tried-and-true practices like a simple phone call. For example, if you’re a serious candidate for a position at Dreamworks Animation, you can expect a personal call from CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who makes a point to contact candidates - from college students to industry veterans - as a way to emphasize that DreamWorks Animation is a great place to work.
Although these companies see the value of new technologies, they clearly have not forgotten the importance of the human connection in building a great workplace.