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Monster Hiring Podcast: Social Media Recruiting

By: Connie Blaszczyk

Social media is reshaping our world, our private conversations, our collective experiences, our access to ideas and most of all how we connect to people and that includes the connection between job seekers and employers. That recruiting conversation has been particularly vibrant on Twitter.

In this Monster Hiring Podcast, Joe Budzienski, vice president of product and technology at Monster, discusses the evolution of social media, recruitment and Twitter.

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Joe Budzienski, Vice President of Product and Technology at Monster

Monster: Joe, thank you so much for joining me.

Budzienski: Connie, thanks for having me and good morning.

Monster: You focus a lot on social media and Twitter in particular. Let's talk about how it's shifting our communication landscape in some very dynamic ways. What are you seeing?

Budzienski: The main thing we're seeing right now is this convergence of 2 channels. We have Facebook and Twitter and both, while they converge in a lot of ways, they're both doing very separate things. The biggest thing to me is the connections versus the open exposure to communication.

Twitter is about open communication. It's about media. It's about real-time content as it happens where Facebook is much more about connections. Twitter, because of their real-time as-it-happens platform, has started to take off specifically in our industry in the HR ecosystem in hiring due to hirings of real-time need. Jobs are immediate and therefore where do you turn when you need to get that exposure other than a social channel that has a type of influence like Twitter.

Monster: You shared with me some statistics from a recent conference about the growth on Twitter and particularly online recruitment on Twitter -- really astounding numbers.

Budzienski: I know it's very impressive. We've seen over 43 million tweets of job searching in 2014, which is an astonishing number when you look at grand scheme of how many people are actually looking for jobs in a given year; over 117,000 daily mentions about looking for a job on Twitter take place. When you look at that real-time engagement, I think everyone is thinking, "How can I tap into that 117,000 talent pool in real time.” And that’s something that we're aggressively seeking here at Monster.

Monster: Let's talk about that demographic and what is their reason for being there?

Budzienski: The profile of a Twitter user is interesting because there's no one size fits all which is with every social. We've seen that. It is mostly over 35% college grad; 4-year college grad that use the platform. It's an even tilt of female and male, whereas if you look at Facebook it's 60% female. There are demographics and splits that we see on the platform like that.

The one thing we are seeing is as Twitter signs up new MAUs, they are leaning towards the Millennials. When Facebook is getting new MAUs, they're leaning more towards Gen Y, Gen X.

From a job market perspective we have the ability to capture both channels as we look to evolve Monster into the social sphere of product sets and certainly identify both sections of Millennials and Gen Y, Gen X.

I think even Baby Boomers are using Facebook a lot. There's about a 14% Baby Boomer demographic on Facebook. My grandmother uses Facebook. It's very interesting if you look at the splits on how people are using channels.

Monster: Let's just rewind a bit here. MAU?

Budzienski: MAU is monthly active users. Facebook has about 1.4 billion today. Twitter is about 309 million.

Monster: How are those people searching for jobs or even branding themselves out there in terms of this new online recruitment market?

Budzienski: It's interesting because on Twitter when we started looking at Twitter about 4 years ago, people were shouting out into an empty space for the most part. When I say that I mean that with all kindness towards Twitter because you're shouting and you're hoping somebody can find you that’s going to actually give you a job. So I'm tweeting; I'm looking for a job or I really don’t like my job anymore.

Nobody was listening that is going to give you a job. Twitter is about giving your thoughts a lot of times and letting people see your thoughts. What we wanted to do is have real-time responsiveness to those thoughts that people are having, those real-life circumstances around jobs that people were having.

As we started to develop a product that would listen for that, we are now able to make sense of that ecosystem for all those users that are on Twitter and that are looking for a job, that are announcing their need for a job at out of that 117,000 monthly.

Now we actually have a solution to go and engage them for jobs that fit their skillset whereas 2 years ago that was non-existent -- you would just hope and pray that somebody, some hiring manager out there in Twitter, would see your announcement. Now today we make it a reality.

Monster: Just to specify those platforms that we have at Monster that we've developed for this are Monster Twitter cards and Social Job Ads.

Budzienski: Monster Social Job Ads -- that’s definitely the one that is geared towards going out and grabbing those individuals who are both on the platform and may not – may be more passive or the 73% that are looking for new opportunities but are currently employed. Then there's another large percentage of people who are actively announcing their need and want for a job.

Now our product can go out and actively put an ad in front of those individuals for a job that meets their skillset in real-time as they're either talking about needing a job or have started a job search on the platform themselves and clicking through various opportunities on Twitter.

Monster: We don’t want to give away the magic sauce obviously, the magic recipe. But it is all about data and identifying the search terms or the keywords that people are using and matching those, correlating those with jobs. I assume that’s how it works.

Budzienski: I think at a high level you're right on, Connie. We use TalentBin which, with that technology, we can look at over 100 social sources across the web to aggregate skill data on various users and match them up with the Twitter user set. We also use Monster's extensive database of user profiles to do the exact same thing.

When we start looking at all that data and matching it up and weighing and scoring and doing all these really cool things, we can then match them with every Twitter user. Then we build that taxonomy of targeting that allows for every user to be in a specific bucket based on their skillset and see ads based on what they should be looking at for a job and not just spamming with irrelevant content to those users.

Monster: You've been doing this, what, for over a year now, as much as that? Budzienski: Yes. Monster: I'm sure you're seeing it's constantly evolving. It must be very dynamic.

Budzienski: Social in general, yes. I try to keep up with it and stay close to my Millennials that work on my team. They keep me up on the new stuff before most people know it. I think we've seen Snapchat start to explode.

Video, digital media is starting to take a big chunk of the social space. I don’t think in the recruitment industry we’re where we need to be with digital media from a video perspective. I think we're heading there, but we have a long way to go that make sense of that and get that out as job content. But it's certainly the direction we're heading.

We're currently looking at quite a few platforms that we're going to be reaching new users on for job content that will include more of an enhanced digital media perspective from the traditional job content.

Monster: That’s very exciting. So as someone who is all over this social media landscape, you've talked a lot about the importance of employment branding. And I'm wondering, can you explain why is that so important, more important than ever?

Budzienski: Absolutely. Employment branding is, it's been a buzzword for 3 years plus now; something that everyone has been looking at but nobody has been acting on as quickly as they maybe should have.

There's been quite a few studies and one of the most recent is employment branding is one of the largest initiatives for Fortune 5s over the next 3 years. It's seen as one of the largest future enhancements the HR space needs to go through with marketing over the next 3 years, so there's going to be a lot of budget put towards that.

Why is that? Employment branding does so many things. Companies spend a lot of money on hiring. Companies spend a lot of money on staffing agency's recruitment. They don’t realize how much money can be saved if they had an inside-out approach.

What employment branding does -- what product branding does -- it helps people understand what it is you're selling, what you're making. Employment branding helps people understand what your culture is about, why I want to work for you, what's your mission, what are your goals. There’s still lot of companies that are struggling with getting that message out, getting that brand out.

When you look at a company that’s effective at employment branding, Lippincott did a study that showed out of 5 companies that spend 3 years doing employment branding heavily, they were able to increase shareholder value by 2.5%. Then they took similar companies at the same size and they looked at ones that were not focused on that or putting budget to it. They actually saw a 0.5 to 1% decrease in shareholder value.

So we're seeing it, it's getting written about, it's going to be a big initiative. Our product set for social drives that KPI for companies. I think it's something they need to continually be looking at if they want to reduce cost to hire and find talent in this economy in which there's very few especially tech talent, healthcare, finance. It's very aggressive right now so you need to be winning the employment brand war.

Monster: And just as importantly, obviously, is employee retention. I would imagine that employment branding is not just about externally broadcasting, but it's also about keeping the troops, so to speak, engaged.

Budzienski: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. I think we often either focus on the left to the right and there's 2 sides to that as you said.

If you can do it really well inside, that still spills over outside. Over 60% of hires are referrals -- that doesn’t go to every company. If you have a weak employment brand, you're going to have weaker referrals which means more cost to hire, retention down. It's very important that it's on both sides, because if you do it really well on the inside it's going to get on the outside.

Again, it goes back to the inside-out approach. You want your staff to be able to effectively voice your employment brand for you because the more evangelists you have, the quicker and faster it gets out outside of your walls.

Monster: Are there any specific examples that we can talk about of companies that have done employment branding really well?

Budzienski: Absolutely. There's quite a few that are doing well and some that are now jumping on and some that are starting to actively pursue it. One that always comes to mind when I talk about employment branding is Google. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon. They started a long time ago. They’ve written a book on culture and branding and what it's done for their company and what it means.

You know, startups do employment branding really well. When we talk about how difficult it is to hire great talent because they don’t know who our brand is. You're mid-sized company, no one has heard of us. There's more to it than that because, as coming from the start-up space and working with other startups, we hire pretty quickly and we seem to find talent very fast.

When you look at it from a branding perspective, it's more about the conversation of your brand, too. I think often, you need your entire team to articulate the mission and the brand in the same voice -- melody. And the larger the company, the harder it is to hold the melody. I think most important thing is to get everyone on that same tune and then you're going to find it a lot easier to continue to do that.

Monster: Consistency of knowing what your, for lack of a better term, value proposition is?

Budzienski: Absolutely. Consistency on what your packages are, what your mission is, where you're going over the next 3 years, why you love to work here, so many things. I think often if you were to gather 100 employees from some of the top Fortune 5s and ask them the same amount of questions, you'd be surprised how many different answers you'll get.

Monster: Let's take it from the job seeker perspective. What are some of the benefits for seekers or candidates out there, perspective candidates that these new platforms or these social media platforms are providing?

Budzienski: That’s a great question. Transparency and ease of access to those who want to grab the opportunity. It used to be you put your resume in a mailbox and you wait for somebody to send you a letter and/or give you a phone call and then it was, you put it in email and then you wait for somebody to email you back. Now we have direct communication to hiring managers. They’ve let their guard down by saying if I'm on Twitter, like do your best, like get my attention.

Elon Musk is one of many individuals who only hire certain roles through Twitter. He will not hire any other way.

Monster: The CEO of Tesla.

Budzienski: That’s correct. It's really interesting because you can tell a lot by how somebody approaches you on social and how they engage with you, what type of, what's our opening line, stuff like that. It's been a lot easier for talent to approach this new market and certainly the Millennials are more used to communicating on those platforms through text, through Twitter, through Facebook, through social. They have a leg up with where we're going.

Employers need to have that presence and be willing to accept it and then they're going to find finding talent as much easier when they open up their communication channels outside of their ATS.

Monster: Are there any etiquette tips for both seekers as well as employers in terms of that conversation and how you reach out and what happens when you do make contact?

Budzienski: Absolutely. I think for employers the biggest piece is consistency across all your channels. If you're being looked at, you're being looked at on more than Twitter, more than Facebook, they're going to go everywhere. If your message is inconsistent, if your content is inconsistent then it's confusing as to why I want to work for you.

Or if you have a presence but no content, no voice, and it's just like I'm here just to be here, again that’s a huge turnoff. Today especially going to Millennials when they're looking for work they want to see that people are embracing the same technology that they're embracing as they move through their career in the direction that they're heading.

For a seeker, it's pretty simple. It's common sense. If you have a social channel you use with your friends, keep it with your friends, set up a new professional social channel. Tweet relative content about what it is you want to do, the companies that you're looking to work for, the space they're in. Post those things. Be an expert in your industry.

Act like a professional and keep your personal and your professional separate if you need to. But go through that and again common sense first and foremost before you start engaging with employers.

Monster: Right -- always think before you hit send.

Budzienski: Yes.

Monster: Those are great tips. What do you see ahead for social media recruitment in 2016?

Budzienski: It's programmatic marketing, better Minority Report marketing; I don’t if you ever saw that. I think there's going to come a time where you're going to be so highly targeted for opportunities. It may blow your mind a little bit when you're walking through a mall, a retail store and you work for, I don’t know, Lucky Brand Jeans, and then you're walking past Aeropostale, and it's like, "I know you work for Lucky, but why don’t you come in and interview with me now, because you're right outside my door."

There's going to be things like that. There's already geomarketing; there's already things going on. We're going to consistently become smarter about where people are in their day and how to get their attention. To me, that’s where we're heading.

It's real-time hiring. Get me when I'm driving past your building. If I knew a superstar big data scientist was right outside my door having lunch with one of my employees and they could say, like, serve that person an ad, like, "You're here and we're looking for someone like you," like, "Do you want to meet?," like, that’s huge. I think we're going to see directions start to shift. I don’t think that’s tomorrow but to me that’s where we're heading.

Monster: That’s where Monster is focused as well?

Budzienski: Yes. Monster is going to continue to be focused on real-time, real-time hiring, real-time marketing within the hiring space and getting people where they're spending most of their time relative to their skillset. We don’t need to send people non-relevant content. This is going to be a space where we have multiple distribution channels across out-of-bounds talent.

For years talent has been unreachable across all these channels. For the first time, as we look to evolve into other social channels over the next couple of months, this talent pool is ours and we get to reach them for our clients and it's very exciting.

Monster: That is very exciting. Joe, thank you so much for coming in.

Budzienski: My pleasure. Thank you for having me, Connie.

Monster: Joe Budzienski is Vice President of Product and Technology at Monster.

Learn More:

Social Media Recruiting: Tune Your Strategy to 2016
Get the most out of your investment in social recruitment.

Staffing Trends in 2016 for Finance, Tech, Healthcare and Seasonal 
Talent will be in shorter supply across these top industries. 

Monster Hiring Podcast: Staffing Industry Trends
A conversation with Jay Rogers, Vice President of Engineering Recruitment at Randstad.

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