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Post-Social Recruiting Part II

As I explained in my last column, post-social recruiting involves using social technology to create true career communities without the expensive overhead of traditional corporate career support. Unlike candidate databases and networks, these virtual "careersteads" nurture allegiance among talented workers and that bond, in turn, transforms them into genuine and long-term employment prospects.

A careerstead advances an organization's recruiting by providing two important benefits:

  • A heightened viral effect, because the allegiance community members feel toward the organization encourages them to champion participation in it to others in their field thereby expanding the talent the organization can reach.

    and

  • A heightened employment propensity, because the allegiance of community members encourages them to work for the organization as many times as possible throughout their career thereby deepening its talent bench.

So, how do you create a careerstead? Not with questions and answers on your organization's Facebook page. And, not with job postings in a LinkedIn group or on a Twitter feed. No, the only way to establish a true careerstead - one that scales the power of social technology to address all or most of your organization's talent requirements - is by breaking all the rules you've learned to date about social recruiting.

Unlike the fleeting and thoroughly functional relationships of conventional social recruiting, a careerstead establishes, maintains and nurtures long-term relationships with talented people, whether they are applicants or not. These enduring interactions are designed to promote each person's success by providing them with the information and assistance they need for effective career self-management. That support, in turn, builds a psychological connection or individual allegiance to the organization with the resulting sourcing and recruiting benefits.

Erecting a Careerstead

A careerstead may have a presence in your organization's online career area or on its social media page or group. Its physical manifestation, however, does not create the allegiance that gives a careerstead its power. Only social messaging - a consistent engagement using the right content delivered in the right way - can do that.

There are only two kinds of content capable of building allegiance among top talent. One addresses a person's specific career field while the other focuses on more general but still useful career information and guidance. While the former has the advantage of being clearly relevant, at least to those in a given field, it requires the erection of a separate careerstead for each occupation recruited by an organization. The latter, in contrast, is of interest and applicable to all regardless of their career field and thus can be implemented with a single careerstead and a smaller staff and budget commitment.

Given today's tight resource constraints, the single careerstead with general career content is likely to be the preferred approach. It is also one that working men and women definitely need. Through no fault of their own, they lack any awareness of the body of knowledge and set of skills involved in managing their own career. For the past 75 years or more, American colleges and universities have been teaching their students a great deal about specific fields of study, but absolutely nothing about how to make a career in those fields. And, the best way to remediate that situation is with an ongoing education in the principles and practices of effective career self-management.

Where can you obtain such a curriculum? A Google search of the term "career self-management" yields over 119,000,000 results, so the challenge isn't finding content, but determining which content is best. Your safest bet is to use content developed by professional career counselors and coaches or that found in published workbooks and guides.

Content alone, however, is insufficient to engage the participants in your careerstead. That content must also be delivered without the pedantic tone of many online learning experiences. So, conclude each communication with a question and an invitation. The question should be designed to encourage your careersteaders to discuss the real world implications of what they are learning, while the invitation should encourage them to have that discussion in a blog, online discussion forum or listserv located on your careerstead. This discussion should be a carefully moderated interaction that reinforces your organization's role as the source of career expertise and support for participants.

While there are any number of other features a careerstead might offer to individuals, it should, of course, also provide easy access to the organization's available career opportunities. This listing should not intrude on the social aspect of the community, but instead be positioned as a natural extension of the organization's efforts to promote the success of its members.

A careerstead recognizes the inherent uncertainty of today's workplace and leverages it into a powerful recruiting strategy. Yes, it requires an adjustment to traditional staffing assignments within the recruiting team, but the return on that change - both in the short as well as the long term - is potentially significant. Indeed, because it generates a psychological as well as an electronic connection - a unique form of individual allegiance - a carerstead provides both privileged access to top talent and a formidable barrier to the competition for it.

Thanks for reading,
Peter

Visit my blog at Weddles.com/WorkStrong.

November 2012
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