#SHRM12 Social Recruiting Session Wrap: Don't be quick to judge

The last dispatch from me from #SHRM12, aka, the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition which wrapped up yesterday from Atlanta.
Aside: which major industry event will be the first one to actually adopt as its 'official' name the event hash tag? It would be kind of cool to see SHRM or some other organization to just drop the tired and formal sounding 'Conference and Exposition' part and just go with #SHRM12 as the event name.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, wrapping up the final day at #SHRM12 which for me was highlighted by the panel discussion I was fortunate to be asked to moderate, titled 'Is Social Recruiting Really Working?' and that featured industry leaders and experts Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor.com, industry analyst and legend John Sumser, and Jeremy Langhans, who leads Global Brand and Talent Attraction for Expedia.
The panel discussion was, I think, pretty lively from the start. It took about three minutes before the panelists were (respectfully) disagreeing with each other, which I've always felt is one sign of an interesting panel discussion. As the panelists stepped through and discussed some of the common perceptions and assumptions surrounding social media for recruiting, several common themes and best practices did start to emerge:  the need for organizations to be more open and committed to engaging with candidates on social platforms, that trusting your employees to fairly portray the brand message is paramount, and that HR and Recruiting can -- and should -- work closely with their internal social media experts in Marketing and PR to help define, tune, and communicate the brand message.
It was, I thought, a really good discussion overall, with some insights, shared experiences, and even a few laughs - particularly when Jeremy was getting talking points texted to him during the session!
But for me, the biggest personal take-away happened after the session, and in the conversations with the folks that came up to the stage to chat with the panelists. During the session, an audience member asked about the value of Pinterest as a recruiting tool.  As I recall, Jeremy indicated that he had not personally seen much usefulness there, and I made a (lame) joke about needing to delete my Pinterest account. But essentially our panel did not have much positive to say about Pinterest in the recruiting context.
But after the session an audience member, someone in Talent Acquisition from a major retail brand that you have absolutely heard of, told us that for them, Pinterest was, in her words, 'gold'. The kinds of people that the brand would want to find and connect with were all over Pinterest, were really engaged, and definitely wanted more interaction and communication with the brand. So while for us guys on the panel, laughing off Pinterest might have made sense from our limited world view, but for this major organization, the platform is starting to represent an increasingly important source for recruiting.
The bigger point?
Every organization's experience, approach, and results in social recruiting is going to be unique. While there are some general guiding principles and leading practices that are emerging, (and we talked about many of them on the panel), there are no true and repeatable recipes for success that will be successful in all situations. One size does not fit all. In fact, it hardly fits anyone.
It was a good lesson to learn, and I am thankful for the attendee who shared her view with us after the session.
Thanks again to the panel members, and to the team at Glassdoor.com for making the panel possible, and for including me in the event.

And I promise, no more on #SHRM12 from me! 


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