Guest Column: Try a new way to find needed employees

Published 8:42 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Ask SCORE by Dean Swanson

Have you seen the most common sign in the windows of area small business? It usually says “Now Hiring.” Finding employees has become the biggest problem for CEOs these days. I have talked to so many that express this frustration: “I just cannot find enough people to work.” In fact, several CEOs have shared with me that they are having to reduce the number of hours that their business is open because they do not have people to work.

Dean Swanson

I have asked CEOs what ways they are using to seek new employees. My observation is that most are using what they have done for years, and it is not yielding results. So, I have one suggestion. Try something new. Social recruitment may be one answer worth trying. One of SCORE’s content partners, Rieva Lesonsky, has given some guidance on this topic on the SCORE website. I share her work here. Lesonsky is president and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBusinessCurrents.com.

So many aspects of running a small business have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. And one of the areas that have been most impacted was employee recruitment. It was, after all, quite challenging to find potential new hires when you couldn’t meet and interview them face-to-face.

According to a survey by LiveCareer, many businesses turned to social media as a recruitment tool. The company says the social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook allow businesses to learn “a lot about a candidate’s personality.” In addition, for their survey LiveCareer defined social media as “any digital tool that allows users to create and share content with the public.”

Since social recruiting is relatively new, many people still don’t have a social presence. The good news for potential employees is, for now, “90% of hiring managers would still invite a candidate to interview for a job — even if they can’t find them online.”

From the small business’s point of view, most will search online to see if a social presence exists. The survey shows that 77% use social media to search for job candidates and 80% of companies screen candidates through social media before hiring.  In addition, the social media components most often checked by companies when recruiting are: 

• Main posts — 66%

• About me section — 63%

• Photos — 60%

• Candidate’s comments under posts — 43%

• Followed profiles — 25%

• And here’s what they look for:

• 66% are looking for any red flags on a candidate’s social media

• 62% want to get an idea about the candidate and their life

• 57% check to see if someone would be a good fit for their company culture.

The specific red flags hiring managers look out for include:

• Discriminatory comments regarding race, gender, and religion — 66%

• Provocative or inappropriate content — 57%

• Information about drinking or doing drugs — 57%

• Bad-mouthing or sharing confidential information about a previous company or fellow employees — 51%

• Extreme political views — 36%

• Bad language — 34%

Of course, the job candidate may have deleted or made some of their posts private, so you still need to conduct other due diligence before hiring.

The LiveCareer survey shows that Facebook was the No. 1 site searched when checking potential candidates’ online presence on that platform.

• Facebook — 74%

• LinkedIn — 56%

• Instagram — 49%

• Twitter — 45%

• TikTok — 12%

For some, this may be surprising since LinkedIn is the social network best known for B2B interactions. But its sheer numbers — and the reported number of job offers received, Facebook is the most popular professional social network. That said, most (68%) of the hiring managers and recruiters expect potential candidates to have a presence on LinkedIn.

The benefits of social recruiting as sited by PostBeyond include:

• You can connect with more candidates. It helps businesses “get their job listings in front of candidates you wouldn’t otherwise reach” — those who aren’t necessarily looking at job boards but are looking at their social feeds.

• You’ll save money and time. PostBeyond says, “In general, it costs businesses over $4,000 to hire new talent and takes 42 days on average to fill a given position.” One of the keys to social recruitment is leveraging not only your social platforms but those of your employees. Essentially, you’re reaching out through their networks to find job candidates.

• Showcase your company culture. Younger workers (millennials and Gen Z want to work for businesses that reflect their values.

How to build a social recruiting process

PostBeyond also lists the seven steps to building an effective social recruiting strategy.

1. Set goals and metrics

2. Know your ideal candidate

3. Check out what your competitors are doing

4. Define your employer brand

5. Choose the right social media platforms

6. Launch an employee advocacy program

7. Measure, optimize, repeat

Dean Swanson is a volunteer certified SCORE mentor and former SCORE chapter chair, district director and regional vice president for the northwest region.