Recruiting In The Trenches: Should You Care About Social?

The following is a re-post from a guest post I shared on this week. You can find the original post here.

This week I’ll be presenting at Recruiting Trends annual conference. My session, Recruiting Lessons From The Trenches: How To Develop, Champion, And Manage Social Media Recruiting Strategies That Work, will explore how recruiting leaders can develop and integrate social recruiting into their workflow, and the impact it has.

NPR Recruiting Manager Infographic

There is a lot of chatter about social recruiting; benefits, costs, ROI. My aim will be to demystify some of that, and provide actionable examples of how to implement social into your branding initiatives.

Social Media is a tool, not a strategy.

With all the buzz around social, it’s easy for recruiting leaders to get caught up in the hype. Don’t. If you feel compelled to get your recruiting efforts on social, just to say you are, it will show – and it won’t be effective. It’s not enough to have a presence on social. You have to actively and regularly nurture your network and build the type of engagement that helps supplement your traditional recruiting methods.

While I do think an employment branding strategy should be integrated into every recruiting strategy, the delivery mechanism doesn’t have to be limited to social media. Your career site, job descriptions (like the example on the right), candidate experience – all of these are tools at your disposal to enhance your talent brand.

Social is a long play endeavor.

If you decide to pursue social, it’s important you’re prepared to put in the time and work needed for it to pay off. Social is not a quick fix solution. It takes roughly a year to build an engaged network that begins producing measurable and consistent results in source of applicants and hires.

At NPR, we’ve built ‘the big three’ (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) into our top 10 sources of applicants and hires. Twitter, specifically, is our #4 source of hire. It’s been a key resource for helping us reach that elusive ‘passive talent’. This didn’t happen overnight. It took months of engaging, tinkering, and learning to build the kind of engaged community the bears this fruit. You can learn more about NPR’s employer branding journey here. Continue reading

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12 Digital Tools For Today’s Social Media Recruiter

So, you’re a recruiter who’s embraced social. Good call. Welcome to the world of Recruiting 3.0.

Social recruiting isn’t meant to replace ‘old school’ recruiting methods (for those of us who learned how to recruit with a phone book and land line), but it gives today’s recruiter additional tools to find and engage talent. Recruiting has evolved. Recruitment marketing and employment branding are now key components of a successful talent strategy.

Strong social recruiting strategies allow recruiting teams to amplify their impact, and can be a key differentiator when competing for talent.

If you’re working in a small to medium size business (or non-profit), chances are you’re involved in all aspects of recruiting – from employer branding and talent attraction to sourcing, hiring, and workforce planning. Time is your most precious resource, and efficiency is crucial when managing a busy desk and diverse sets of responsibilities.

As a self-professed HR MacGyver and digital geek, I’m constantly scouring the tech landscape for tools and resources that can help me be more efficient and help my team make a bigger impact. Here are some of the resources I use that have become indispensable tools to help me manage my social recruiting activities.

12 Digital Tools For Today’s Social Media Recruiter

  1. Digg (Free) My new go to RSS reader after Google Reader’s demise. Feedly is another good option, but Digg’s reader was built to mirror Google Reader so the familiarity gives it an edge for me. RSS readers are an important tool for digital recruiters, as they allow you to easily and efficiently view content to share with your social recruiting channels. 
  2. Buffer (Freemium) My go to tool for scheduling social media posts. Buffer allows you to queue and schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. You can also schedule different send patterns for different sites. It’s a huge time-saver to ensure you’re regularly contributing content to your various social media channels. Bonus: install the chrome extension to easily add to your queue from any website. More on Buffer in this Amplify Tool review.
  3. Sprout Social (Paid) Sprout is one of the few paid social media tools I use. The smart inbox is a huge time-saver, allowing you to view all the feeds you manage (@ mentions, hashtags, etc) in one unified field. Bonus: their iOS app is feature-rich and allows you to monitor, send, and manager on the go.  Continue reading
Job Search

How To Embed “Click To Tweet” In Your Blog Posts

twitter-bird-blueThe New York Times recently published a story, “The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now“, that featured embedded tweetable highlights throughout the story. Poyter covered this experimentation with tweetable highlights, including this background from NYT Deputy Editor of Interactive, Marc Lavalle:

“It’s a one-off experiment on this story,” Times Deputy Editor of Interactive News Marc Lavallee told Poynter by phone. “It’s not like a feature that’s in the pipeline to be rolled out sitewide.” The Times is continuing to experiment with article presentation online in advance of a redesign next year.

I was intrigued by the concept, and wanted to learn more. After a bit of research, I discovered a post by Blogging Bistro that led me to a new platform – Click To Tweet allows you to enter custom tweets (with text, handles, url) into an open text field. The platform generates a custom url you can use to allow readers to easily send tweet-sized comments throughout your posts. Here’s an example:

How to embed tweetable highlights in your blog posts (tweet this

I’m going to be experimenting with this in future blog posts, but wanted to share the discovery in the meantime. If you find it useful and incorporate it into your own blog posts, leave a comment with the url so readers can check it out and learn from your examples.


Rethinking Recruitment: NPR’s Brand Ambassadors Presentation [Video]

I had an opportunity to join HCI’s Talent Management Conference last month in Boston to share NPR’s recruiting journey in social media and employment branding. The following presentation touches on the current state of social recruiting, and outlines the steps we took in leveraging social media to build NPR’s employment brand.

You can read a recap of the presentation on HCI’s blog, or see review the case study post on these efforts.


This Is NPR Recruiting: An Employment Branding Case Study

Social Media has had a profound impact on the field of recruiting. Employment branding, talent attraction, and social sourcing have become key tools for talent leaders to deploy to help their organizations compete.

At NPR, we’ve put social media at the forefront of our talent strategy. The strategy has paid off. Here are some of the results:

The presentation below shares some of our approach – including strategy, channels, results, metrics, and some of the things we learned along the way. The goal is to show recruiting and talent leaders what they can accomplish through social media – even with limited budget and resources.

This presentation is not intended to be an exact play book to be replicated in any company. As a media organization, NPR has some unique advantages that this strategy was tailored around. The hope is that it can serve as inspiration you can take some ideas from and tailor them to your organization.

Employment branding doesn’t have to be built around a broad multi-channel social media approach. You can use tools you already have like job descriptions and your career site to get started. The key is building your approach in a way that is true to your organization, getting internal champions and organizational buy-in, and then starting small and scaling as you go. Good luck!

Amplify Tools

Amplify Tool Review: Sprout Social

Sprout 2

As a talent leader working for a non-profit organization that is heavily vested in social media, I’m constantly looking for new tools and resources that increase our efficiency and enable us to have a greater impact in our recruiting and employment branding efforts. My budget is limited which generally steers me towards free, or nominal cost, platforms. It has to be a pretty valuable tool for me to make an exception to that rule. Sprout Social is one of them.

Founded in 2010, Sprout Social is a social media management platform that allows you to actively manage a variety of social media channels. The platform features robust analytics and a reasonable price point for SMB’s and non-profits (pricing details below). Sprout is a private company backed by the venture funds of NEA and Lightbank.

I’ve been using Sprout for several months now, and it’s become one of my ‘must have’ social media resources. The biggest value for me is efficiency and time-savings. I’m involved in the management of nine social media platforms (across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn). I also manage three hashtag communities. The ‘smart inbox’ feature is an invaluable time-saver that aggregates all of that content into one stream I can review through the web or a mobile device. Sprout also provides the ability to ‘pin’ tasks. If you have multiple users managing your social media accounts, you can use this feature to delegate follow-up and assign tasks to team members.

There are some limitations that in my mind prevent Sprout from being an all-in-one social media platform. I prefer Buffer for scheduling as it allows more flexibility in scheduling send patterns for multiple channels. I also feel HootSuite and TweetDeck are better real-time social media monitoring platforms with their multi-column displays.

The above limitations notwithstanding, Sprout has become the most valuable tool in my social media tool belt. While there are other enterprise platforms out there that do all of this and more, Sprout’s feature-rich capabilities and price point make it a solid tool for many organization’s social media management efforts.

  • Website:
  • Cost: Pricing starts at $39/user per month for the entry-level ‘Standard Plan’. You can expand your feature set at two other plans, including Deluxe ($59) and Premium ($99). Full pricing details can be found here. *Note: they do offer non-profit discounts, so if that applies to you be sure to ask.
  • Mobile Friendly: Very – they have Android and iOS mobile apps for iPhone and iPad that are feature-rich and deliver almost all of the functionality of the website.
  • Recruiter Benefits: Numerous. Managing multiple social media accounts, hashtag community management or tracking, keyword monitoring, built-in RSS reader, boomarklet for easy sharing, engagement analytics and reporting, conversation history, scheduled publishing and more. The ‘smart inbox’ is the single biggest time saver if you actively manage multiple accounts.   
  • Rating: 9/10

Screen shot of Sprout’s iOS app.

Job Search

Social Media And Your Job Search – 5 Myths (And Truths) You Should Know

The following is a post I contributed to Careerealism’s Professional Emancipation Project (P.E.P.)

There is a lot of discussion about how, where, and why one must use social media in today’s digital economy. It can be a bit overwhelming for some. The following myths and truths are intended to demystify some of the ways in which you can utilize social media as a job search resource.

Myth: You Must Use Social Media To Find A Job

Truth: Despite what many experts tell you, social media is not an absolute requirement for all jobs and careers. There are many fields where traditional job boards and resumes are still effective tools for finding your next job. Generally speaking, social media tends to be most effective as a job search tool in ‘corporate’ roles and careers where you have a cubicle, desk, or office.

Myth: You Must Build Your Personal Brand

Truth: The term ‘personal branding’ was introduced in 1937. It’s become a common, though somewhat maligned, term in today’s digital economy. Supporters view it as a word of empowerment, taking control of your ‘business of one’ and presenting your self in an orchestrated and deliberate way. Detractors argue the term is contrived, and positioning the individual as a commodity or ‘brand’ is wrong and lacks authenticity.

Perhaps a better term to define the concept is ‘Digital Footprint’. What does this mean? Google yourself. What you find is your digital footprint. It’s the sum of your collective digital presence – social media, blogs, interviews, etc. Putting some thought into how you present and organize these findings helps you cohesively build your digital footprint. You can use tools like Knowem to search domains and social media account for particular names you might want to use for your digital accounts. While by no means required, having similar names for Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and so on makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to find you.

Continue reading


Inside NPR Generation Listen #NPRGL


Sometimes we’re fortunate to have a front-row seat as a thought grows into an idea, an idea becomes reality, and that reality slowly grows into a movement. This is one of those stories.

A good friend of mine from NPR, Danielle Deabler (@nprdeabs), and I often talk about big ideas. Some are feasible, some are not. When she first shared an idea she had for connecting NPR with younger audiences, Generation Listen (#NPRGL), I knew she was onto something.

The thing about new ideas within established organizations is that they often have a hard time getting enough forward momentum and support to become reality. There are many reasons this happens – lack of resources, lack of time, competing interests, risk aversion. It takes vision, tenacity, focus, and determination to build the support and advocacy needed to make that idea a reality.

Generation Listen was a passion project for Danielle. She deeply believed it was a great way to proactively connect NPR with younger fans she met over her travels the past year who connected deeply with our mission of creating a more informed public, and wanted to get involved. She assembled a team of internal champions who worked hard to make that vision a reality, all the while engaging and soliciting input from a tremendous group of external steering members in the Generation Listen community. Those collective efforts made her first thought a reality. Continue reading

Job Search

9 Steps You Can Take Today To Find A New Job in 2013


It’s a brand new year, a time where many people attack their New Year’s resolutions with excitement and resolve. If you were one of the many people whose resolution involves finding a new job or making  career change, you may be wondering where to start. Here are nine steps you can take today to position yourself well to find your next gig. 

  1. Update your resume: How long has it been since you updated your resume? Chances are it could benefit from at least a few tweaks. Whether you’re actively looking for a job or not, it’s a good idea to keep you resume current as you never know when an opportunity may come along. Here are some resources that can help: How To Spruce Up A Boring Resume (via Mashable), Tips for Writing a Resume in Online World (via WSJ)
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile: Most recruiters are actively using LinkedIn to find candidates. Will they find you? If so, what will they find? Do you have a (somewhat professional) photo? Do you have a compelling headline that will catch their attention? Is your profile 100% complete? LinkedIn is one of the top sourcing platforms for Recruiters, so how you present yourself here is important. You can find some great tips on how to create a compelling profile from LinkedIn expert Craig Fisher hereContinue reading
SHRM 2012 Bloggers

Amplify Talent: Year In Review, And A Look Ahead


A collection of HR blogger Meet Meme cards and press pass from SHRM12

What a year. As I reflect on 2012, there are so many things I learned and experienced. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Generosity is alive and well in the HR community. If you follow the basic social media (and karma) tenants of ‘give before you receive’, your network will be a constant source of knowledge, advice, and inspiration.
  • Social Media is a tool, not a strategy. It can enhance your recruiting efforts in many ways; but be sure to have an objective, measure it, and adjust as needed. If you want to champion social recruiting/branding strategies within your organization, you need to articulate the ‘why’ as much as the ‘how’.
  • There is value in failure. It may be hard to see it at the time, but every lesson in life shapes you.
  • It’s important to find ways to get out of your comfort zone.
  • Employment Branding keys – employee-centric content, authentic, frequent, minimize friction.
  • I have much to learn as a blogger/writer. There are so many talented bloggers out there who are really gifted writers. They serve as a constant reminder of what really tight writing can be, and a source of inspiration and motivation for me to be better.
  • Disappointment will happen in your personal and professional life. Holding onto the angst is toxic, and will sabotage future plans. Move on to move forward. Continue reading