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Social Media Recruiting in the Defense Sector

Posted by Kathleen Smith

The buzz concerning social media for promoting an employment brand and recruiting has reached a fever pitch. What was once thought not possible, namely access to social media sites at many companies and agencies, is now possible.

Recently, Market Connections released their survey about Social Media in the Public Sector (see below) showcasing the changing tide in how government agencies and contractors can access social media to promote their organizations, support customer services and retain key top talent. Now that the gates have opened many are in a quandary as to how to implement. 

Start small. The pressure will be on many recruiting teams to implement all forms of social media, all at once, across the board. Many will contract an agency to handle all social media including recruiting, stating that all of the social media tools are too cumbersome too manage. 

However, social media experts and early adopters in our defense and intelligence community will say differently. Your culture, your brand and your process can only be described by staff within the team, not outsourced. When a critical contract is awarded and you need to deploy the resources to key communities, you will want these resources at your fingertips, not wait for an agency submission process. When candidates request information or try to engage with you concerning opportunities, you will want to respond immediately. While many agencies are good at social media promotion, they will not be able to engage with security cleared talent on key aspects of an opportunity that the job seekers will want to discuss with you. 

So start small. Find a passionate group of recruiting team members who will form your initial team. In addition to overcoming the learning curve of the social media tools, you will need to look at the key issues within your company: technology, security, department funding and accountability. These issues can be addressed prior to launching a social media program. But until your team interacts in the social communities you will not know every parameter that needs to be addressed.

Formulate a strategy. This can be fluid, but should not be “because everyone else is doing it” or “it is the new hot thing that is supposed to be better.” Social media will be a complement to your current recruiting tools and you will need to experiment how to integrate all of your tools. Who do you want to engage? How do you want to provide information? How and who will respond? What are your tracking measures?

And then pick a medium. Don’t launch into everything at once. Learn one medium and take the lessons learned to the next medium. Technology changes as frequently as Facebook changes its privacy settings. It’s better to determine which medium meets the needs of your company, team and candidates.

And realize that social media is a community activity. You will have community partners you can work with like ClearedJobs.Net. We have been active in all forms of social media to reach, engage and educate security cleared candidates for three years. We believe that it is critical that we also support the cleared facilities employers who are our partners and the organizations that serve all of our customers.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 24, 2011 7:01 am

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