A Social Media Q&A: The Stuff That HR Pros Really Want to Know

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I have been talking to HR professionals about social media and social recruiting.

I’ve done several seminars, planning sessions and master sessions on the social media landscape. I have three more sessions left in 2012.

Here are some questions from the past six months on the road:

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  • Do corporate recruiters really find people on Facebook or Twitter? Yes, recruiters use the search bar on those websites to identify candidates. If you can search on a website, you can find people. Why don’t you take an AIRS class?
  • Should I buy a LinkedIn package? Maybe. But first leverage all of the free tools on LinkedIn. Update your company page. Add a products and services tab. Update your own profile. See what happens. If you do it right, great candidates will start to find you.
  • What’s the ROI of being on LinkedIn? You tell me.
  • What if I don’t do Twitter? Pay someone to do Twitter for your company. Instead of hiring an admin, hire a social media coordinator. Linksters are coming into the marketplace and labor is still relatively cheap.
  • I don’t have time for social media. How do you people do it? Really good recruiters and HR professionals take charge of their calendars. They plan their days. They don’t suffer through unnecessary meetings and they don’t waste too much time on Zappos.
  • What if an employee says something bad about my company on the Internet? Maybe you should fix whatever they are complaining about.
  • Okay, let me rephrase that: What if someone lies about my company or disparages another employee? Freak out and beat them with a baseball bat. Or just delete the comment and follow the company handbook on how to deal with dumb employees who say stupid things.
  • Free is great — but much of this looks expensive. How much does it cost? I dunno. How much do you have? It is possible to have a free presence on social networking sites and maximize exposure to your jobs; however, sometimes it costs money. Go explore. Benchmark. Do some research. Talk to people.
  • Do we need a careers page on Facebook? I don’t know. Do you need a toilet in your office?
  • How do I get started? Slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I like to find good companies in similar industries and see what they are doing on the internet. If it looks good, I copy it. I also like the idea of copying popular media sites. If Gawker can break down a complicated political story into witty chunks of information, you should be able to write a compelling job description.
  • What about mobile? Oh yes, mobile. It changes everything and changes nothing. All of your career websites need to be optimized for mobile devices. You will need to text candidates without stalking them. And the recruiting process might be easier but maybe not. Technology doesn’t fix flawed internal processes.
  • Okay, I’ve got a presence on all these different social networks. Now what? Now get to work and interview some people. That part of the job doesn’t change.

I know I have missed some questions. I love meeting awesome HR professionals and recruiters who are curious and brave. I never make fun of people who ask serious, earnest questions. And I love meeting HR people who tell me that a mobile app won’t pacify a whiny hiring manager.

Amen. This is why I am no longer in HR!

Laurie Ruettimann is a former human resources leader turned writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is also author of Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career.

CNN has recognized Laurie as one of the top five career advisors in the United States, and her work has been featured on NPR, The New YorkerUSA TodayThe Wall Street Journal, and Vox. Laurie frequently delivers keynote speeches at business and management events around the world and hosts the popular podcast Punk Rock HR. She lives with her husband and cats in Raleigh, N.C.