Recruitment, for many startups, is an indication of success. It shows that the company is doing well with future prospects, and is managing its first few steps at expansion. However, hiring is often a task that requires substantial time and resources, which startups companies with limited manpower do not have much to spare. This is one of the many reasons recruitment via social media has become a new prevalent method of looking for suitable candidates for startups. Beside its apparent advantage of being cost-saving, however, hiring via social network platforms can be a tricky business. To employ social media as an effective recruitment tool, startups companies will need to take full advantage of their young and energetic culture to go beyond simple Facebook posts.
Every employee has a social network
One thing startups often lack is exposure. Even in the turbulent times when industries’ hiring power is low, newborn enterprises often find their voices lost in an ocean of job ads from all corners of the market. Startups in general do not have the resource to launch any substantial hiring effort, thus their only option is to use free job-posting sites and hope for the best, while the big corporates dish out campaigns after campaigns to lure the young and talented to their causes.
What many startups companies are forgetting, is that when it come to hiring and manpower is not enough to spare, every employee in the company can be a hiring channel individually. No one knows a company and its values better than the people working for it. Since these are the people who have already passed the companies’ various trials and fit into the startup’ vision, it is likely that their friends will too.
And this is where social media comes into play. In the modern age when almost everyone has either a facebook, twitter, google + or linkedin profile, or all at once, each member in the company has his or her own network of energetic, like-minded people that are eager to work. Approach the employees and ask them to tell their friends on social media about the company’s newest job openings, and an influx of eager candidates is most likely to follow. Let do some simple math: if we assume an average startup has 5 people (http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-the-average-tech-startup-looks-like-2011-12), and each employee, being relatively active on a social media platform such as, facebook, with an average of 400 friends. This translates into a pool of 2000 potential candidates a small and young startup can gain access to. Even print job ads cannot get a better figure.
Social media to showcase company’s culture
Additionally, there is another advantage in utilising social media that no other platform can when it comes to hiring, especially for young, quirky startups: it allows candidates a transparent view of the company’s culture. A company’s culture is how it treats its employees, how those employees interact with each other and how open is the company to feedbacks or suggestions from its own people. In simpler words, it’s the “vibe” that someone can get by spending a day in the company’s office. Cultural unfit is often the cause of many short-lived careers in startups. It is not a myth to anyone that startups are small. There is only that handful of people, and a single culture that is unique to a particular company. No subgroup, no subculture, no other department to transfer to. As such, whatever candidates a company is hiring, an understanding of the company’s culture and an indication of cultural fit are top requirements. And yet these requirements never appear on the job ads, seldom asked during an interview and whether a not the candidate could pass the culture test can only be known, perhaps a full month later after acceptance.
As a matter of fact, the culture test should be the first and foremost screening procedure for a candidate applying for a startup job. Whether a candidate can fit in is a decision made by both the hiring company as well as the candidate. A reasonably proactive jobseeker will most likely check out the potential employer’s social media profiles before even applying to get a feel of how it is like in the office, whether birthday celebrations are fun, whether office hangout is frequent, even whether there is a kitchen in the office. And this is the opportunity for the companies to showcase the best of their office days, the smiles of the employees and the joyous birthday celebrations. It could be via pictures, via videos or humorous Facebook posts. By being transparent and actively updating relevant internal activities on facebook and tweeting about company’ events, people looking for a post in the office will have a better understanding of the company’s culture and see for themselves whether they could fit in to enjoy the job.
Culture aside, interest and passion matter, a lot.
Likewise, if a potential candidate can check the company’s culture through its Facebook page, the company can certainly do the same to search for potential candidate. How does a person manage his or her profile? What are their most frequently mentioned topic on Facebook? Do they blog? What do they blog about? Are they truly interested in what they said they are?
A frequently taken approach by many social media recruiters is to look through the comment sections, to see who are the most engaged debaters on topics relevant to the company and its products. This is something startups can do for their hiring process as well, by actively engage themselves in other Facebook pages and tweets that are aligned with their field of interests to screen out and scout for people who display good insights and observations. Even if the contacted person is occupied, he or she would probably be more than happy to refer friends who share the same passion to the company, which further widen the company’s network.
Conclusion All in all, social media has opened various doors that allow for unprecedented level of interaction and transparency in the hiring process of many companies, with startups being no exception. What is unique to startups when it comes to using social media for recruitment is the dynamic and proactive approach these newborn enterprises can take. Social media is the perfect channel for small and young startup companies to engage its audience to find the right person that can fit the company’s culture and share its passion.
Article contributed by Startup Jobs Asia's Team - Tran Dac Trung