The Death Of The Social Media Career: Why You Don’t Just Want A Job In Social Media

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Image courtesy of The Undercover Recruiter

A question I get a lot from new graduates looking to get into the professional world and even professionals looking for a career change is, “How do I start a career in social media?” or when asked what they want to do they say “I want to work in social media.”

There is No Such Thing as a Social Media Expert

The reality is there is no such thing as a career in social media or ‘working in social media’. That’s like saying I want a job in email or carrier pigeon. Social media is merely one of many digital channels of communication—it’s a tool. When trying to define your career path, think bigger. A career is something you can be an expert in. Social media “experts” do not exist. There are people that are really good at using it…but even they are merely students of the medium. That’s like saying you are a texting expert. Before you say, “But I AM a texting expert. I know all the abbreviations ROFL, LOL!”–you’re not. There is no such thing.

Social media is a communication technology that is constantly evolving and bleeding into everything from advertising to corporate communication. No one can possibly be an expert in something like Facebook because, in reality, it could be gone in 5 years (Ask Tom from Myspace) or just drastically different. Seriously, do you remember what Facebook looked like even a year ago? It’s already evolved drastically in just the last 6 months.

The ‘Hyped Up’ Toddler

In the mid-2000’s, when social media was still in its infancy (some would argue it still is but I’d rather look at it as a toddler now), many industries were trying to figure it all out. Social media became a big hype and everyone thought it was this great new industry that would revolutionize everything. That there would be a whole new workforce of people that just do social media for a living. The problem, though, is that social media isn’t an industry or a job–it’s a communication skill.

It is Revolutionizing…

Now don’t get me wrong, social media is revolutionizing and some people do make a complete living using social media (either as a marketing channel or by consulting in it’s use, etc). It has definitely allowed humans to communicate online even more efficiently than offline and created some major efficiencies in mass communication, to a point that it’s literally sparked revolutions.

Social Media as a Profession is Dying

While social media is revolutionizing as a communication technology, I would actually say that social media as a stand alone profession is dying and I’m not the only one. Though, maybe, it really never existed to begin with and people were confusing what category to put a job like a community manager or social media strategist into. What if you looked at a community manager as a customer service rep or PR/marketing person that uses social as their channel to communicate with their audience, not a social media person who helps out customer service or PR. See what I mean?

This is causing a lot of confusion. For example, I’m a Director of Recruiting but I use social media A LOT. Many of my friends confuse my career and assume I do social media for a living because I use it to brand my company, myself and as a way to make hiring people more human and effecient. I attract talent and hire talent…I’m in recruiting….not social media. Social media is a tool I use for recruiting.

Don’t Work IN Social Media, Work WITH Social Media

What I’m noticing is that, by now, most professional jobs have been enhanced by social technology and almost all jobs require some social media skills and understanding. Large corporations now use enterprise social networking software like Jam to collaborate across global teams and recruiters use social recruiting software like SuccessFactors Recruiting Marketing to find talent and select top talent (Disclaimer: I work for SuccessFactors/SAP which is why I used those as examples but we do happen to be the industry leader in these products). The better you know social the better you could be at any job. So, don’t go looking for a job in social media. Look for a job with social media and use social media to be better at your job.

For example…

Let’s say you are a Java Developer. You can build a network of other Java developers on GitHub.com, Google+ or on Twitter and learn from each other. You could write a blog about new techniques and programming languages you’re learning which highlights your skills to potential employers and shows you as an expert. You can highlight your coding skills and teach others or land new jobs.

Really, this can be done with almost every profession. You could love making quilts and build a community of quilt makers and fans of quilts. Let’s say you  then build a website where you sell those quilts to that community you’ve built, and write a blog about awesome quilt making tips and tricks to create new quilting fans who would buy your products because they see you as a knowledgeable and talented quilter. See where I’m going with this?

All I’m saying is you don’t WANT a job in social media. You want a job that centers around what you love to do and then use social media to achieve your career goals faster and more efficiently and foster the genuinely natural human inclination to be a part of a community of like-minded individuals who elevate each other. Put yourself out there. Use social media to brand yourself professionally and build your career.

So, find something you love to do and use social media to grow your skills and a professional community (and I don’t mean just on Linkedin…which is a given for professional networking) to move your career in the direction of your passions.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below if you think the social media career is dead and why/why not?

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Badass Social Recruiting Community Administrator Needed for Badass SaaS Company

My Strategic Programs team, a part of our Recruiting organization at SuccessFactors is growing! As my role is expanding, I’m needing a badass Social Recruiting Community Administrator to join my team and help in our growing, engaged employer branding/recruiting communities online. This is a 6 month part-time (15-30hrs/week) contract role. If interested please send me your resume or Linkedin profile to wstaney@successfactors.com as well as links to your work (social media presence, past communities you’ve managed, etc).

I’m looking for someone who practices what they preach so if you don’t have your own online brand presence and are not active in and passionate new media and technology there is no need for you to apply.

Job Description:

Assist in the execution of strategy and scale of social media and online communities across SuccessFactors Careers online employer brands and communities on digital, social and internal and external communities. Implement social content and experience, monitor conversation, and assist in evaluating and recommending supportive technology. Engage prospective and current candidates. Listen and react to candidate and faculty input and continue the development an organic, authentic & passionate community of influencers. Coordinate promotion of online and in-person events.

Key Job Elements:

  • Implement the social content and experience across internal and external employer brand properties and communities. Work closely and align with cross-functional teams and internal departments including but not limited to: Corporate Marketing Social Media Team, PR, Legal, and Staffing/Recruiting
  • Prepare and provide weekly/monthly benchmarked analytics and insights into community growth and engagement and tie into recruiting initiatives/metrics
  • Support and drive events within social and community spaces. Reconcile multichannel conflicts and support holistic business needs. In collaboration with Director of Recruiting, Strategic Programs, Web Producers and content team members, handle delivery of copy and media as well as ad hoc conversational responses, resolutions and updates
  • Moderate comments, content and conversation contributed by candidates and staff
  • Maintain and circulate publishing calendars and timelines for social content, blogs
  • Partner with Director of Recruiting, Strategic Programs (that’s me), and content creators within the Recruiting and Marketing teams as well as other departments to provide unique voice of our brands
  • Integrate social media efforts within company and web environments. Contribute to conversion and brand experience, seamlessly and authentically. Establish SuccessFactors, and SAP Company and its divisions as an innovator and showcase SuccessFactors and SAP Cloud’s unique culture. Drive internal awareness

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Specialties:

  • An understanding of online culture and engagement, emerging technologies, and technical uses of online tools
  • Leveraging knowledge of Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogging, and community development to help implement social media strategy established by Director of Recruiting, Strategic Programs (me)
  • Feed management and tweets to various corporate twitter feeds, Administer Facebook groups/pages and add content
  • Develop and publish social media content, including blogs, videos and community posts

Requirements:

  • Minimum Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, English, Communications or equivalent experience
  • Excellent writing skills (Blogging, micro-blogging, etc)
  • Previous experience managing large corporate communities online
  • Previos experience with employer branding or recruitment marketing a BIG PLUS
  • Must have prior experience with social media anayltics and monitoring
  • CSS, HTML, WordPress experience a PLUS
  • Deep understanding and advocate/user of social media tools
  • Understanding of HR/Recruiting sector required
  • With guidance, possesses ability to build understanding, engagement and consensus across multiple LOBs. Proven ability to execute on time in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and organizational skills
  • Must be a self-starter with a can-do attitude

This position is a 6 month contract with possibility of Full Time and is located in Austin, Texas.

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About SuccessFactors

SuccessFactors, an SAP Company, is the leading provider of cloud-based applications. Although everyone seems to be talking about cloud computing solutions for business, we’ve been in the cloud from the beginning. We began our journey in Human Capital Management earning the distinction of the leading provider of cloud-based Business Execution (BizX) Software. BizX delivers business alignment, team execution, recruiting execution, people performance, and learning management solutions to organizations of all sizes across more than 60 industries. Fast forward to today — now as part of SAP we are responsible for the SAP Cloud business and have become one of the largest and fastest-growing SaaS players in the industry – touching 15M + users, 3500+ customers, in 168 countries, 35 languages and serving 60 industries.

For the most comprehensive cloud computing portfolio in the market, SAP Cloud delivers mature business applications that drive collaboration across a business and connect to partners. There are over 20 applications and suites in the SAP Cloud designed to optimize and manage a company’s most critical assets – its people, money, customers, and suppliers. And for those who prefer to run their entire business on a single, cloud-based software solution, we offer a suite that will surely meet your needs.

Our primary focus is on delivering beautiful products for our customers. When our customers win, we win. And we pride ourselves in delivering the most powerful software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions on the market. As an SAP company, the possibilities for growth, innovation, and impact are endless!

See what it’s like to work at SuccessFactors- check out this video! http://youtu.be/eZarfkN4hUo

Connect with us! Learn more about the culture at SuccessFactors, an SAP Company, see pics of our global offices, talk to recruiters, and see real-time job openings:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/successfactorscareers
Twitter: http://twitter.com/CareersAtSF
YouTube: http://youtube.com/CareersAtSF
Linkedin: SuccessFactors & SuccessFactors Careers Group

Thanks,

Will Staney

Director of Recruiting, Strategic Programs

SuccessFactors, an SAP Company

Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin

Recruiting is Strategic…or it Can Be

By: Will Staney, Director of Recruiting, Strategic Programs at SuccessFactors

Let’s face it. The times they are a changin’…and fast! Like many industries, the recruiting business over the last handful of years has seen a boost from social media and technology innovations, including mobile, making it more complex and candidates even more segmented across the web.

The number of tools, online sources, social media sites, and yes job boards, are vast and can range anywhere from free to extremely expensive. Like with any business, as an industry becomes more complex, the need for a strategy to meet goals becomes even more important. Now, more than ever, is the time to get strategic with your recruiting efforts and measure those results with analytics. After all, recruiting IS strategic…or it can be!

How does this effect the role of a recruiter? Well, I believe the role of recruiting is quickly moving closer to the Marketing department than the HR department in many ways. If you know anything about marketing you know that strategy is key, analytics are essential, and branding is everything.

To understand how complex recruitment marketing has become, let’s first take a look at how we got here. The evolution of recruitment marketing can be split into 3 “eras”:

The Pre-Web Era aka “The Dark Ages”

Remember what it was like to recruit before the internet? Maybe you’d rather not think about it? Honestly, these were the good ol’ days and if you ask me things were a lot simpler.  If you wanted to advertise an opening there were only a handful of things you could do. Candidates were looking for jobs all in the same place: the newspaper. A “help wanted ad” would hit all jobs seekers and theoretically they would self-qualify and either fax or personally come in and hand in their resume. Recruitment marketing was extremely transactional and reactive. ABC company has a job that just opened, they post it in the news paper with only a small character limit to describe the position, and then hope the right candidate walks through the door. I also call this “The Dark Ages” because, honestly, there just wasn’t enough information or communication pre-application/interview at all and both sides were largely in ‘the dark’ before making a large time commitment. Recruiters had to greatly rely on referrals and their own networking to proactively get ahead and hire the best talent. Later I’ll talk about how we are going back to that mindset.

Web Era

Hurray! The internet is born and shortly after job boards begin to emerge and recruiters and companies have the ability to instantly get jobs in front of the eyeballs of candidates all over the world. Candidates could go to CareerBuilder or Monster and apply….and apply (repeat 100 times)…spraying resumes into the databases of companies faster than they can read them. The role of the recruiter went from networker to resume sifter looking for that needle in a haystack. A plus side for the candidates was that job descriptions were longer, more descriptive, and career sites on corporate websites, though underwhelming, could give a better picture of what that company was all about.  While still transactional and reactive this was a step in the right direction and recruiting organizations had to begin thinking a little about how to brand the company and the job at least in text form but they were still pretty in the dark relying on purely a resume or bullet point skills to determine if a candidate was worth pursuing. Candidates were a little more segmented but still primarily going to the same few places on the web to find jobs in addition to being referred by friends.

Web 2.0+ 

Here we are. Like I described at the beginning of this piece, the landscape has become way more complex and candidates more segmented with new layers added to the web including the social web (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube etc), the mobile web, aggregators, etc. Now SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become even more important as more and more websites emerge on the scene competing for candidates attention and career sites become the hub of a companies employer brand and gateway to apply to jobs at that company.  The economy is in tough shape with unemployment hovering from 8-9% over the last few years. This means there are A LOT more job seekers and companies can afford to be picky. The war for specialized talent though, especially in the tech sector, is very real and the old ‘post and pray’ mentality of the web-era doesn’t work anymore. A social, mobile and proactive strategy using dynamic content is the best way to effectively recruit in our current climate.

I believe that recruiters should be expert recruitment marketers and utilize the power of employer branding and social sourcing. This is the the key to a recruiter’s effectiveness adding efficiency to the recruiting process while not forgetting those important skills from “The Dark Ages” of proactive networking and referrals. To stay ahead recruiters need to try new techniques, new ways of marketing their employer brand and open positions but at the same time measure the effectiveness so that they can hone in their strategy over time. For the most part recruitment marketing is a lot like an old saying they used to say in the advertising business in the 1960’s, “We know our advertising is working 50% of the time…we just don’t know which half.” Today, it is possible to know what parts of your recruiting strategy is working and what parts aren’t if your measuring it through web analytics. Then, once you know whats working and what’s not you can pull your resources from tactics that aren’t working and put more time and investment in what is.

I leave you with the following questions:

What are recruiters doing right when it comes to driving strategy today?

What do recruiters need to do better to move from a reactive to a proactive function?

What makes recruitment “strategic?” Is this a matter of role/responsibility or perception?

What role does social media and technology play in determining recruitment strategy and efficacy?

How is the recruitment function evolving, if at all? What does the future of recruiting look like in 5 years? 10?

How would you answers these questions? Answer in the comments below or check out my past appearance on TalentNet Radio where we recently tackled these very questions!

Cracking the Social Recruiting Code: 4 Proactive Job Hunting Tips To Stand Out From the Crowd

For the past couple years I’ve been building out corporate social recruiting strategies and programs as well as training recruiters on how to find candidates and engage with them in more of a human, relationship focused way using social media. In this post I spill the beans on a few of these tactics that can be flipped around and used by job seekers to find and build relationships with recruiters and key contacts at organizations you are looking to find employment with. Whether you are currently on the job hunt or not, these are some useful tips for getting inside a social savvy recruiters head that will help you throughout your career.

1) Personal branding 101

This first one is a no-brainer and I’m sure you’ve all read a million blogs about personal branding. However, it is the necessary first step. After all, you are theproduct you are selling in your job search. Be regularly active on the sites where recruiters are living such as LinkedinTwitterGoogle+ and Facebook. Actively post about your professional endeavors and projects highlighting yourself as an expert in your field. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get personal on your social networks, but you should also always be cognizant of what your audience is seeing (and the risks involved) so consider your audience and privacy settings before clicking that share button.

But remember, employers are starting to care more about you actually having an online presence than not having a bad one.

2) Spit it back at them.

Recruiters are out on social networks trying to find you, so go out and and find recruiters. If you just applied at a company for a marketing job – search for the recruiters hiring for marketing jobs at that company. Every recruiter is on Linkedin…start there. Find people who work at the company or in a similar position and network with them. Ask them how they got there.

Use Social Media and Social Directories to Find People to Network With

Google+: Search Google+ itself by keyword or use the directory findpeopleonplus.com to use filters to find users that work at specific companies or who have particular roles.

Twitter: Use Twitter Search itself to find conversations mentioning the keywords you search when they use in them tweets, hashtags, and narrow down by geographic location. One of my favorites is a Twitter directory called Twellow. It’s like the Yellow Pages for Twitter and can be used to find people who are influential in certain industries or topics that may be making hiring decisions. You can find and follow employees at your target companies as well.

Facebook: Search Facebook itself by keyword and find events (for in-person network), groups to network with others in your industry, and even public status updates to find conversations in real time! Also, check out the BranchOut app on Facebook. It’s the largest professional network built on top of Facebook so it allows you a safe way to connect with professionals (without becoming Facebook friends) but still leverage your personal social graph on Facebook to find jobs and people at particular companies.

Why use Facebook in your job search? Well, according to Jobvites Social Recruiting Survey, almost twice as many people found jobs using Facebook than Linkedin. Why is this? Think about the people who are most likely to refer you to a job. It’s not that guy who gave you a business card at a conference that one time that you connected with on Linkedin. It’s that friend you went to college with, your uncle in the banking industry, or your old friend from high school. These people can really vouch for you and are comfortable reaching out to their network for you to help you land that job.  Your personal network.

3) Get creative

Go above and beyond if you really want that job! Do things that will get a recruiter or company’s attention. Recruiters receive resume after resume as well as emails just like the ones you’ve probably seen blasting out on CareerBuilder or Monster so get creative! Including something like a clever video resume or a link to a website you created highlighting your skills in your cover letter or resume can really give you that ability to separate yourself from the heard!

Did you see that “Google Please Hire Me” video resume to Google by Matt Epstein in September that became a viral video? That guy got 80 interviews and a pretty sweet gig out of that. Read more about that here.

Also, anytime you can get creative in your job search using the product of the company your looking to get hired at is s a winning combination! At SlideRocket, a division of VMware, an applicant (and now employee) Hanna Phan did just that. Watch the presentation and check out Hanna’s story here.

Within weeks of this being virally shared throughout VMware, without even landing the job officially yet, she already began building a fan base! Talk about a great first impression, right?

If you are a web developer – build a website that highlights you in the position you want at the company you want. It’s so much easier to share a link to a recruiter or company employee on social media than it is a paper resume (and it’s more likely to be seen as well)!

Recruiters are so bored with the basic resume that when something compelling comes at them, they WILL remember you. If they get a lasting impression from you, and you don’t qualify for that immediate role, they will think of you for the next position that comes along.

4) Resume Blasts are a thing of the Past

This is a mindset recruiters still need to break as well. Just as the days of recruiters blasting their jobs on job boards hoping the perfect candidate applies are over also are the days of career seekers blasting out their resumes hoping that perfect job comes calling. In this job market, in the days of social media, that just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Start your job search by researching and identifying 10-15 companies whose culture and vision match your own and proactively reach out to people at those companies. Learn about the manager of the department you want to work in and even their leadership. You landed the interview? Great, now ask the recruiter for the names of the people you are going to be interviewing with and do some research like I mentioned in point 2 above before you go in there!

Do you currently use social media in your job search? What are some creative ways you have seen either job seekers or recruiters use social media?


Keep Your Resume ‘Easy to Read’ and Your Contact Info ‘Easy to Find’

This weeks #careertip is brought to you by VMware EMEA Sourcing Manager, Joe Hendry in Cork, Ireland:

This is a very short and obvious resume tip for many but it is quite surprising the number of people that don’t actually include contact information on their resume, i.e. basic cell contact number and email address details.

A fully complete “Contact Details” section is arguably the most important part to a resume aside from an individuals actual name that need to be on this document. Including some links to your social profiles on Linkedin, Twitter, etc is also helpful! Recruiters are actively on social media and a lot more available and easy to reach than most would think.

In addition to this, it is recommended that these details are not in small font hidden in a corner on the resume but are in a location that is easy to find. This “easy to find” location may seem obvious but is usually at the top middle section of the first page in slightly larger / bold / highlighted font that distinguishes it from the remainder of the document.

Also a good tip when constructing a resume is to put yourself in the position of a recruiter who needs to look through hundreds of resumes for the role you are applying to. Simple resumes that serve their purpose and sell the individual well in a succinct format work best”

Joe Hendry

Follow Joe on:

Search all open positions at VMware here.

BranchOut is No Longer “Friends Only”

Not even a month ago I posted a blog called BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook and a New Recruiting Tool? and I can say to you now–you can remove the question mark!

BranchOut just soft released a new connections feature allowing users to connect with people outside their Facebook network and share work history and education information with other Branchout users–even if your not Facebook friends. That makes this an even better tool for recruiters to connect with both passive and active candidates without worrying about ‘getting too personal’.
Rick Marini, CEO of BranchOut, told Recruiter.com,
“BranchOut heard the requests from recruiters that wanted a way to connect with other professionals within Facebook, in a safe and secure way, and I am very excited to announce the launch of BranchOut Connections. BranchOut members can now share their work history, education and skills data with others members, without becoming Facebook friends.  This is an important step for BranchOut to provide robust career networking functionality within Facebook.”

In my previous post I reflected on the reluctance of many recruiters to connect with job seekers on Facebook saying, “Recruiters have been really slow to begin utilizing Facebook as a recruiting tool because they are afraid of mixing business with personal life”. While I went on to stress that the lines between business and personal in the web 2.0 world is becoming more blended and recruiters should be more open to utilizing Facebook’s larger network to connect, this was a real obstacle that Branchout was facing. Even if recruiters wanted to connect with candidates…candidates may be afraid of connecting with them for those same reasons.

On Linkedin, professionals don’t think twice about connecting with colleagues or recruiters because there are no pictures tagged of you from that party last Saturday and your mom isn’t posting embarrassing comments on your wall that could potentially seen by a potential employer. Facebook tends to be a place for your personal contacts outside of work [You can set individual privacy settings for specific groups of connections or individuals you are connected to on Facebook but most people don’t take the time do it (only 1 in 5 users even take advantage of this feature) and it can be quite cumbersome to maintain.]

The post by Recruiter.com put’s it very well…

Recruiters always want to leverage the hundreds of millions of user profiles on Facebook. However, recruiters often find that recruiting on Facebook is like trying to fix a muffler with a toothbrush. BranchOut makes Facebook the right tool for recruiting and professional connection. BranchOut essentially overlays a professional platform on top of Facebook – adding user data fields for work history and professional description. It turns your existing Facebook friend network into a Linkedin-esque  professional network for work related discovery.

However, because BranchOut leveraged the Facebook friend mechanism as the exclusive method of connection, recruiters were still left in a bind. Users were beholden to expansion of their network through Facebook friending – which to many is as intimate of an experience as inviting someone into your home.

BranchOut plans to launch more fully developed recruitment services in the near future, but now may be the time to start connecting. The early super connectors in any social network become the network hubs of the future.

Do you think this new feature will make BranchOut an even more viable competitor to Linkedin? If you’re a recruiter, I’d love to hear what you think about this new feature and if you plan to or currently use Branchout. Please comment below.

Top 30 Social Recruiting Errors to Avoid

The Top 30 Most Impactful Errors in Social Media Recruiting

A) Strategy-related errors

No strategy — most recruiting functions do not have a weak social media strategy; they have no formal strategy at all. As a result, most efforts are ad hoc and are not integrated or coordinated. Almost universally, they lack clear goals, they have incredibly weak metrics, and there is little accountability for producing results. Without a clear strategy, an execution plan, and metrics to continually improve, no recruiting effort can be expected to produce extraordinary results.

Targeting active candidates — attempting to reach active candidates by posting job announcements is the #1 most common error. As a microcosm of society, most online communities are full of people not actively looking for a job, so broadcasting announcements to them is both annoying and ineffective. Social media is a great tool to identify and build relationships with employed top performers who are not actively looking for a job at this time. Ninety-nine percent of your focus should be on recruiting people who cannot be found on job boards or your corporate careers site.

Broadcasting when narrowcasting is needed — recruiters have a long history of sending “broadcast” messages that are widely distributed to everyone in the database. While this “one message fits-all” is appropriate on corporate career pages and job boards that service job seekers, it is a major mistake in social media. Instead, “narrowcast” messages that are tailored and sent only to specific “segments” of your target audience are required. The segments to target might include those with shared professional interests, the same job level, a common location, and shared personal interests.

Not using talent communities — the most powerful strategy in social media is building “talent communities.” Unfortunately, most recruiting managers have never heard of it. Pioneered by Microsoft, this “pre-need” recruiting strategy emphasizes building relationships over time with multiple targeted segments. The relationship is based on learning and professional sharing, rather than potential employment opportunities.

Relying on recruiters — most organizations expect recruiters to “own” social media recruiting; however, there are never enough recruiters to adequately carry the load. Fortunately, your employees are already active and visible on social media. The best firms instead rely on their employees to identify, to build relationships, and make referrals into the employee referral program.

Expecting speed, low cost, and high volume — if you want high-volume, low-cost recruiting to fill immediate needs, you should rely on job boards or referrals. Social media recruiting is incredibly effective but it takes time, resources, and will never produce high volumes of hires. Its focus must be on landing a relatively small number of “high-value” top performers, game-changers, and innovators.

Under-emphasizing the building of relationships and trust — one of the most powerful capabilities of social media is the fact that it allows you to build close relationships and trust. Unfortunately, many rush or bypass this important step and prematurely bring up jobs (early adopters have found that between three and five separate “communications” are needed prior to job talk). Failing to build relationships first will ruin any social media effort.

Failing to target diversity — most corporate diversity initiatives have only shallow involvement in social media. That is a huge mistake because diverse prospects can be more easily identified and much more effectively sold with a tailored approach, which fortunately is much easier to accomplish on social media.

Limited use in college recruiting — college students are the most connected and active individuals on social media. Yet most corporate college recruiting approaches remain essentially unchanged from the 1980s. Recruiting college students on social media allows you to identify, assess, and sell the very best without expensive multiple campus visits.

Underemphasizing employer branding — only a small percentage of corporate branding resources are focused on social media. Although it is changing, this can be a major error. Because it cannot be controlled by corporate influence, social media may be the most powerful channel for creating and maintaining an employer brand. It is clearly by far the most powerful channel for identifying and “countering” negative and brand messages.

Assuming there is a dividing line — many within HR are conservative, so they automatically assume that traditional “dividing lines” (i.e. work issues should not mix with at-home issues) remain strong. This a major mistake because among new generations; these separation lines are becoming increasingly vague. Being conservative will limit your impact, so management must continually update its rules on privacy and work/life issues so that they meet the receding limits

B) Channel and tool selection errors

Incredibly narrow channel selection — I estimate that 95% of all social media recruiting occurs on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. They are valuable but there are also many other valuable channels that should not be ignored (i.e. “location specific communities,” meetups, food/travel/recreation channels, photo and video groups etc).

Treating all channels the same — assuming that all communications and social media channels are equal is a common error. Each has its own unique audience, informal “community rules,” and expectations. Recruiting management needs to provide guidance so that employees and recruiters know what channel or channels “work” and “don’t work” for each recruiting purpose.

Failing to fully “know” the target — the Internet makes it pretty easy to identify and exploit the interests and expectations of potential candidates. Unfortunately, “knowing the candidate” requires some research. Currently, many recruiters fail to identify critical things like learning areas, individuals they admire, where they “hang out” on the Internet, and the individual’s “job switch criteria”.

Not encouraging blogs — because employee-written blogs have a high level of genuineness or “authenticity,” it is a mistake not to encourage and reward employees who write them. Unfortunately, many firms actually discourage or even ban blogs from corporate channels.

Being overly direct — many channels require subtleness or indirect approaches in order to gain access and trust. In these cases, directly posting job announcements is a no-no. Instead, consider indirect approaches like commenting on their work, polls, asking questions, surveys, etc.

A narrow range of tools — most corporations’ recruiting efforts are limited to four areas, (job posting, corporate landing pages, Twitter followers, and recruitment advertising. Instead of this limited scope, you should educate your employees and recruiters about the tremendous impact that other tools can have. This list should include commenting on an individual’s work, passing on articles or best practices, sharing pictures, and CRM-type contact messages (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries etc.).

C) Message and coverage errors

Generic messages — it is a mistake to regularly send generic messages that are designed to “fit everyone” but that actually “fit no one.” Not only are these generic messages not likely to be read and acted upon, but they may also negatively impact your employer brand image. Spamming messages of any kind can get you ignored or blocked.

A lack of authenticity — a large majority of corporate messaging lacks what is known on the Internet as authenticity (i.e. the appearance of being real, believable, or genuine). For example, sending out press releases or vision statements is just silly because they will be viewed as propaganda.

Using the wrong message type — most recruiters and employees automatically use the “message type” that they are the most comfortable or familiar with. They may use the same message type (and message content) over and over. That is a major error because social media rules demand that you use the message type that best fits the communications preference of your target. There should be a corporate webpage that provides advice on when it is best (or inappropriate) to use text, e-mail, wall posts, group posts, status updates, comments, videos, blogs, podcasts, or direct messages.

Not identifying influencers — top people always check with friends, colleagues, and advisors before making a “job switch” decision. Failing to identify and to also sell these “influencers” can dramatically decrease your social media offer acceptance rate.

Failing to ask new hires to announce — most firms assume that will happen automatically but it should be a standard practice to encourage all new hires to publicly announce to their followers and groups that they are excited about joining your firm.

D) Recruiter and employee support errors

Not providing guidance — it is a common but major error to assume that recruiters and employees will intuitively know how to recruit on social media. Unfortunately, most will not go to formal training classes, so the best alternative is to offer templates, sample profiles, sample messages, frequently asked questions, and a list of dos and don’ts. Recruiters should also offer to critique your employees’ profiles, blogs, and messages.

Not supplying content — most organizations make the mistake of assuming that employees and recruiters are aware of every one of a firm’s compelling stories and practices. Research shows that employees and recruiters seldom know even the most powerful stories. So large companies should proactively provide access to “story inventories”: examples of best practices and compelling photos/videos. Obviously, all of them need to be authentic and employees need to be allowed to choose the ones that they find to “fit” their situation.

E) Process and administrative errors

Weak referral program handoff — when employees or alumni submit their social media contacts as employee referrals, they are often not prioritized and they are certainly not routinely treated as “high priority” referrals. The result is that employees get frustrated when nothing happens and they get no feedback. So eventually, they give up on making social media referrals.

Weak ATS handoff — even when recruiters enter candidates into most traditional ATS systems, their “warm” application is generally not treated any differently and can be lost in the volume of applications. Your ATS must capable of “marking” and tracking social media applications, or your entire social media program will flounder.

Not being mobile platform friendly — most innovators are avid social media users but they are also smart phone users and spend more time accessing social media while on the go. Unfortunately, it is quite common for social media recruiting tools (and corporate websites) not to work on mobile platforms. This is a missed opportunity and a first-class design blunder.

Weak “comment tracking” tools — it is a common mistake to assume that the tracking tools that are found on popular social channels are all you need to keep track of a continuing conversation that one of your targets is participating in. Instead, you need to assume that the conversation may eventually transition off to another channel. Keeping track of those cross channel conversation requires advanced “comment tracking” tools like YackTrack and ConvoTrack.

Weak business case — most executives support social media efforts at least in part because of the current level of hype. Unfortunately, without a solid, continuously updated business case, resources and thus results will quickly dry up. The CFO must be involved early on to ensure that the business case and your results metrics are convincing and compelling.

Failing to accept an online profile — if you are targeting prospects who are not “actively looking” for a job, it can be a major error to require an updated resume from them. The best are learning, at least initially to accept an online profile (in lieu of a resume) for an application or a referral.