Social and other topics at SHRM annual conference

Posted by on Jul 7, 2009 in Recruitment, Strategy

Print Friendly

Social media, a hot topic for recruiters, was the subject of at least two discussions at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans June 28-July 1.

While much of the talk about the Yahoo HotJobs presentation centered on its Pay Per Candidate model (see upcoming CIR 10.13 for details), the online recruitment giant announced its new Twitter application for job candidates as well.  Though not the only use of Twitter for job search, HotJobs and its Newspaper Consortium partner sites boast 16 million unique visitors each month.  The Twitter application includes every current position in the HotJobs database, with no additional fee to the advertiser. It’s simple – the job seeker sets up a search by keyword, geographic area, and/or job category – and enters her or his Twitter profile. Delivery is real time by mobile or Web, and links directly to the job’s application page.

We talked to HotJobs GM Chris Merritt about the enhancements presented at SHRM – Twitter integration; Smart Ads display platform for delivery to active and passive jobseekers using Yahoo; and Pay Per Candidate, which allows a recruiter to prepay for a specific number of applicants and to apply unused “applies” credits to subsequent job posts. 

“HotJobs is about providing flexibility as budgets are shrinking,” Merritt said. “We look at these enhancements as an extension of our product line, offering recruiters the opportunity to not only budget but to save time as well…. And, while we believe social is important we also believe that job boards and social can co-exist.”

Four prominent bloggers in the HR field made up the last session of the 600 plus-attendee SHRM conference. SHRM COO China Gorman moderated Kris Dunn, VP of People at Daxco and owner of The HR Capitalist blog; Lance Haun, owner of Your HR Guy blog and human resources generalist at Columbia Helicopters;  APCO Worldwide’s senior employment manager Jessica Lee, who blogs at Fistful of Talent, and Laurie Ruttiman, the PunkRockHR blogger. AIM attended by live stream.

Kris Dunn has blogging to thank for his Daxco position. “Without the blog and the footprint of opinion there’s no way I would have gotten this job,” he told the audience. “They wanted people who have opinions and are active in the community.”

Opinion, authenticity and the credibility they generate are important elements of successful blogging, according to the panelists. “I try to be the same guy on my blog as I am in person,” said Lance Haun. “I have offline conversations with my visitors too – I e-mail them and call them.”  Laurie Ruttiman said that HR people have the reputation of being observers, but she’s made her name by having opinions on everything – even politics. “It’s interesting to see the reader exchange that comes from that,” she said.

Jessica Lee said that employment branding through her blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter has become important to her PR firm. “Two million people are on Facebook, with one million of them visiting daily,” she said. “It’s a cost saver for us, too.”  Laurie Ruttiman said that since blogging “I’ve never had more job opportunities in my life. I’m invited to come to work and make HR cool.”

Panel consensus was that a blogger must post at least once a week, and consistently.  Kris Dunn said that he reads and saves interesting material all week long and gets up very early on Saturday to schedule his posts based on what he’s digested all week.  “Commit to six months of blogging when you just start out, even if you have no visitors,” said Lance Haun. “Promote it by finding a mentor, and linking to other blogs. If someone e-mails me that they’ve written about me I’ll go look at it. If it’s good I’ll tweet it and share it on my Google Reader.” Haun suggested beginning your blog experience by reading and commenting on other blogs.  

Panelists defined blog success not by revenue but by the credibility you’ve created. “Success is about whether you are deeper as an HR person – have you grown, have you had conversations you wouldn’t have otherwise,” Ruttiman said.  “People smell BS – if you’re partial to that ATS advertiser, for example – and they’ll call it out,” said Jessica Lee. “You have to be genuine.” 

Matt Adams, VP and chief talent strategist for NAS Recruitment Communications, followed the session via more than 100 tweets. He said that some of his clients are embracing social networking, while others are still cautious. Hyatt Hotels, an NAS client “Does a really nice job with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn,” he told us. “They’re posting videos, pictures and having two way dialogues. They are actually finding job candidates that way, though not to the point of giving up other sources.”  NAS offers a reputation-management service that crawls social sites such as Glass Door, Vault and others, to monitor how clients are mentioned and to react as needed.

Panel recommendations for blogging platforms included Blogger.com, WordPress, Typepad, and SHRM Connect. 

Written by Sharon Hill

Sharon Hill has been a senior writer / analyst with the AIM Group since 2004, except for a two-year time-out to serve as sales and marketing manager for Suburban Newspapers of America. She worked at newspapers in California, the Carolinas and Indiana as a classified advertising sales supervisor and manager, and in newspaper circulation in Alaska. At the SNA, she was responsible for bringing in new members; lining up exhibitors, and helping develop programs for the classified conference and the classified alliance. She is also co-author of “Implementing and Managing Telework: A Guide for those who make it Happen” (Praeger Press) and a prolific blogger and social media user. She is based in Phoenix.