One of the biggest advantages that Google+ has for recruiters is that the social media platform is run by Google. This means that any content being shared on that platform gets search engine optimised treatment in Google search results. It is also free to use, has more active users than LinkedIn, its profiles offer rich data regarding its users and it has access to highly valuable candidate niches. From a recruiting perspective, these features make Google+ a powerhouse for finding and engaging with talent. So, why are so many recruiters passing on the opportunity? This may well come down to a simple lack of knowledge about how to recruit on Google+.
In this article, we hope to inform you of the various ways that you can successfully use Google+ in your recruitment strategy.
We have teamed up with TalentCulture to help inform recruiters about the essentials of recruiting on Google+. Both our companies are social recruiting advocates and we wanted to help accelerate the adoption of Google+ by recruiters. Once you’re up and running on Google+ do follow us for more insights like these! (Social-Hire here and TalentCulture here)
An Overlooked Goldmine of Talent
Contributing to the slow uptake of Google+ is the question from recruiters as to whether it can help them hit their recruiting targets. Let’s start off by addressing this concern.
Google+’s potential reach is second only to Facebook, with a total user base of over 1 billion people. There is more of a chance that candidates will respond to your approaches or updates in a prompt manner on Google+ rather than LinkedIn because its active user base is considerably greater – and users receive their Google+ notifications whenever they visit a Google-owned site, including Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.
By using Google+, recruiters have access to some extremely valuable candidate niches. As you can see by using the CircleCount tool to research user demographics, Google+ has been strongly adopted by IT professionals and students, to name just a couple prominent audiences on the platform.
Not all users have filled out their social media profiles as thoroughly as they have done on job boards or LinkedIn, but a recruiter can still garner a lot of information about these candidates. Recruiters can see the content they have shared, look at the communities they are active in and then find ways to engage candidates most effectively.
Is recruiting on Google+ starting to sound more appealing, but you have become drawn to LinkedIn’s enterprise tools? It’s true that Google+ will seem arduous and time consuming by comparison, if you just want to research a long list of candidates to approach and then quickly fire off messages to target candidates. However, adding Google+ to your recruiting toolset is absolutely essential if your company’s success depends on reaching a higher proportion of those targets, and on reaching candidates who are absent from – or overlooked – on LinkedIn.
There two main approaches that you can take here:
- Building Your Recruiting Brand on Google+
- Sourcing Candidates on Google+
I will be concentrating on the first of these and suggesting articles that cover the sourcing angle. But first, you must set up your Google+ profile.
Setting Up Your Google+ Profiles
Managing a presence on Google+ is similar to managing one on LinkedIn. Individual recruiters can manage their own profiles and be active on the site in their own right. Company brands can also manage their own company profiles and recruiting presence on Google+.
Company profiles on Google+ can do almost everything that individual profiles can do. As a company or recruiting brand, you can be active in communities (similar to “groups”), you can circle other people (similar to “following”), comment on their posts and +1 them (similar to giving something a ‘like’).
As we will talk about in a later section, this allows you to be build your recruiting brand’s following. On LinkedIn, this can only be done through paid advertising. This difference is particularly significant for any recruiters who are operating on a limited budget. Since company profiles elicit a different reaction from people than a personal recruiter profile, it is well worth investing the time to create and maintain both.
The first course of action to take here is to set up both your individual and your company recruiting profiles. After that initial set up, we will want to better understand how Google+ works so that we can leverage these profiles to attract and win over new candidates and clients.
There have been many fantastic posts written about how to create a visually appealing, keyword optimised and targeted profile. Therefore, in the interest of brevity, I would direct those who need help with setting up profiles to the following excellent resources:
>> For individual recruiters: How to create a Google+ profile
>> For recruiting or employer brands: How to create a Google+ company page
For now, let’s turn our attention to some of the basics you’ll need to know once you’ve created your profiles.
Recruiting on Google+: The Basics
Get organised. Google+ gives you the ability to follow people in a manner that allows you to be hyper targeted (in Google terminology, this is called “circling” someone…). On your profile (under ‘People’) you can create an unlimited number of circles and name them in the manner you choose. Other people on Google+ know when you have circled them, but they don’t know the name of the circle or circles you put them into.
Recruiters can therefore group contacts into circles by client, job title… or indeed in any other way that will help you to most productively organise and engage with your contacts.
Once you have categorized your contacts into circles, then you can view your homepage and filter to show only updates from a certain circle. When you share updates, you can choose to share them only with certain circles. This is one way to tailor Google+ to your business’s needs at any point in time.
Be smart. Like LinkedIn or Twitter, the majority of profiles you will visit on Google+ are not “active” users of the site. As with all social platforms, you always have to be monitoring what you’re doing to see if you are reaching real engaged users or simply disappearing into the Google+ abyss.
In my experience, active users on Google+ typically respond or react in a matter of hours which is a huge advantage for the platform. This is a true breath of fresh air for anyone who has become tired of waiting for a response on LinkedIn, only to get one months later!
Notifications play a major factor in this. A logged in Google+ user sees their notifications flag every time they visit Google, YouTube, Gmail … or any of Google’s other web services. This makes it hard, for most business people, to go through a day’s work without seeing these notifications at various points in the day.
Get Noticed on Google+
The notifications feature is an important part of the user’s experience on G+. If we want to be noticed, we must understand what triggers our activities appearing in someone else’s notifications stream, in a way that’s natural and appealing – rather than too eager or spammy.
The following are worth taking note of:
- When you add someone to your circles or add them back (reciprocating them having added you), it will appear in notifications.
- Commenting on someone’s post, resharing their content or +1’ing a post will appear in notifications – of these, comments are most likely to be noticed.
- +1’ing a comment that someone has made will appear in notifications and is also a great way of acknowledging those whom are giving life to a discussion. This is also good for acknowledging that you have seen a comment someone has left you.
- Inviting your circles to join a community or to attend an event or live video broadcast (hangout on air) will appear in notifications.
- A summary of all new posts into a community will appear in community members’ notifications
- Sharing a post with specific circles (rather than just publicly) results in your introduction to the post appearing in the notifications of those you targeted.
In this last point, I want to stress that many of the people who have circled you will see your publicly shared posts, as active users tend to check their homepage frequently. Sharing with specific circles, thereby bringing the post into someone’s notifications, can become tiresome if done too frequently. Because of that, we recommend only doing this for your most valuable posts (by which I mean “valuable” for your audience rather than valuable for yourself) or you risk losing or tuning out your followers.
Now that we have established how you can increase visibility with your profiles, let’s focus next on how you can leverage this to grow a strong candidate following – for either yourself as an individual recruiter, or for your employer brand page.
Build A Compelling Recruiting Brand on Google
It is possible to grow a following – and generate engagement – on Google+ quickly. This interactive chart (thanks again Circlecount) shows how my own profile grew at a phenomenal rate in the 10 months after I embarked on building a Google+ presence. Once I began to put the right approach in place, you will notice that both my follower count and the engagement on my posts accelerated dramatically.
On any social platform, my recipe for success is generally as follows:
- Build profiles that are filled with valuable insights and quality content which give the people who come across them a compelling reason to follow you.
- Figure out ways to identify the users on that social platform who are 1) active, 2) interested in the things your profile will become known for and, ideally, 3) already demonstrating that they like to share and comment on other people’s posts.
- Take the time to interact with your followers and fellow group / community members so that you give your profiles a real sense of personality and your followers feel that they “belong” to a community.
Creating profiles that are valuable to your target audience (1) is not specific to Google+. If you need help understanding this – and it should be part of your overall social media recruiting strategy – I suggest that you read through a recent guest post I wrote for Totaljobs.
Engaging with followers once you have won them (3) is also not specific to Google+. However, the essential principle on any social platform is that the more personal interactions someone has with your recruiting brand (or with you as an individual recruiter), the more inclined they will be to look out for – and engage with – your future updates.
Identifying the right people to try and engage with (2) is the crucial part. This is true on all social platforms, but particularly so on Google+ where the overwhelming majority of users are only on the network occasionally. (Google+ and Twitter are similar in this respect).
My suggestion for Google+ is the same I have for Twitter: begin searching Google+ for the type of content that you plan on sharing and any related hashtags. For example, a search for the URL social-hire.com on Google+ will return links of content from that website – and all the people who have +1’d the content, re-shared it, or commented on it. By taking this approach, we learn valuable information about our audience. We know the kinds of content these people are interested in, we know they are active on Google+ and we know that they are the types of users who will engage with other people’s content. You will soon be circling people whom are likely to circle you back, be interested in the content that you are sharing and inclined to re-share your posts.
Be Visual and Show Your Human Side
A good way to keep up with the types of content that are users are responding to the most is to follow the “What’s Hot” section of Google+. The posts that are generating strong reactions (at the time of writing this) incorporate striking or entertaining visuals. Similarly, occasional posts that reveal your personality or that show that your brand has a human side are also strong performers. Here’s a recent example from my own profile which combines both these points and has attracted a lot of shares and interest.
Having made this generalisation, be sure to monitor your activity in order to identify what is working well for you and what is not. Also understand that each Google+ Community has its own personality. Some are particularly vibrant, while others are subdued. Manage and nurture them by always trying to adjust your approach to reflect what’s producing results. If you would like some Google+ Communities to get you started, I recommend TalentCulture’s World of Work community for those working in Recruiting / Talent / HR; our Social-Hire Job Search Advice + Recruiter Contacts community; Andy Headworth’s Recruiting with Google+ community as a specialist recruiter help forum and the Plus Your Business! community for broader Google+ help and insights.
It is only by monitoring reactions to what you are posting – and where you are posting it – that you will be in a position to adjust your strategy and maximise your effectiveness. You cannot assume that you can just replicate what is working well on LinkedIn. Your strategy must be tailor-made for each platform and target audience.
Finding Talent on Google+
The topic of sourcing candidates on Google+ has been discussed by those in the recruitment industry thoroughly and since others have more expertise in this topic than I do, I will simply guide you to some recommended resources. To get a feel for the types of candidates you could reach out to on Google+, it is certainly worth taking a few minutes to have a play with Social-Hire’s candidate search tool.
For those who are serious about sourcing and want to take this to the next level, I recommend that you take a look at SourceCon’s brilliant Everything You Need to Know to Source Candidates on Google+. For a shorter read, you could turn to point 3 of Andy Headworth’s 10 Ways To Use Google Plus For Recruitment.
In sharing these experiences and insights, I hope to have encouraged you to seriously consider using Google+ as a recruiting tool. With the information in this article, I also hope that I have made it easier for you to get started and to figure out how to make Google+ a powerful part of your wider recruitment branding (and sourcing) strategy. If you need more help getting your social strategy worked out, you are always welcome to schedule a call with us to walk through the things that you could be doing differently and more effectively as a recruiting team or recruitment business. Otherwise, I look forward to engaging with you on Google+ in the coming weeks!