Check out Dell’s careers page on Facebook, and here’s what you won’t see: lots of job ads. “Welcome back everyone to another great week,” chirps a post hash-tagged MondayMotivation. “Don’t worry too much about your Monday bedhead.” There are pictures of pugs and kittens with goofy captions, and shots of the Hyperabad, India, team having a grand time dancing with residents at a disabled home. Anthony, an easy-on-the-eyes recruiter for Dell in Japan, shares three tips on what he looks for in a candidate (#1: Humility) and a photo tour of the Amsterdam office includes fun facts like “almost one fourth of all local employees are working remotely.”
Dell revamped its social media strategy four years ago, and its efforts have paid off nicely in recruiting costs. In that time, the company has decreased its cost-per-hire 25%, and cut its search firm spending by 80%.
“When I tell people [the cost savings], I get ‘Oh my God, ‘you’re kidding,’” says Jennifer Newbill, senior manager, talent brand. “Social media is an important part of the story.”
Dell has four employees dedicated to social media branding, their job less old-fashioned recruiting and more engaging and interacting with potential talent. Other recruiters at Dell don’t do social media full-time, but they are required to take a deep-dive social media training program and “be on social and engage with their own candidates for the particular business they recruit for,” says Newbill.
Dell’s primary focus is Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, “but you can also see us on Pinterest, G(oogle) Plus and Instagram,” says Dalhia Rodriguez, global lead for social media recruiting in the Americas. Globally, the company is active on Wechat in China and Line in Taiwan.
But what if you’re on a beer budget? With new social media outlets springing up all the time, figuring out which ones to focus on can be a real resource-suck. Jessica Miller-Merrell, an HR and social media consultant who is editor of Blogging4Jobs, advises narrowing things down by asking your recent hires and candidates applying for jobs what social media sites they’re using.
Miller-Merrell finds Twitter has a particularly good payoff with small change. “You can spend $25 a day or less and just target maybe a few thousand people in a specific area, or you can target a million people—it’s really up to you.” A Twitter card allows you to specify zip code, keyword, location and followers of certain people. “You can do Facebook advertising, but it’s not as specific.”
Rodriguez says that straight job postings are only about 15 to 20% of Dell’s social media recruiting content. “We figured out probably a year into it that people usually make a decision on whether or not they want to join a company based on what they see on social media,” she says. “The culture, the testimonials, the videos we post. But they don’t engage too much with actual job postings.”
She and her colleagues use Saleforce’s Chatter, a platform where employees can talk back and forth internally, to troll for good stories that they can highlight in social media. “And whenever, let’s say, someone says ‘Congratulations to so-and-so for winning woman of the year,’ we’re like, ‘Oh! Woman of the year. Let’s put that on social.’”
Miller-Merrell advises keeping expectations small at first. “You’re not going to turn on the floodgates with Twitter or Linkedin and suddenly have 30% of your candidates coming from those sources,” she says. “Social media is about conversation. You are going to have a plan and make an effort. It might be posting a couple times a week of employees doing fun activities or shooting a video of something that’s going on.”
Pay attention to small technical things like updating your company’s Facebook fan page to allow people to view current job openings,” or setting up a feed on CareerArc (formerly TweetMyJobs) to tweet job openings or post to Facebook.
Converting your online job application to mobile is also a good idea. Newbill says Dell is seeing a 3 to 5% uptick per year on candidates applying from mobile. “People consume social using their mobile phones more than their laptops or desktops. They’re on Facebook and they’re waiting in line at the DMV and they’re like, ‘Ooo, a job.’”