OK, I'm the first to champion social media as a great source of continuing education, networking and professional development for HR pros. It's cool, and it's necessary. Get into it now if you haven't. Of course, I'm not really talking to you. If you're reading a blog, you probably already get it. It's the other 230,000 members of SHRM we need to convince.
"Social Media's cool and all that, but you know, I've dug around for candidates on LinkedIn, twitter and blogs, and I think it's over hyped. I still get a lot more from the job boards."
Dude, of course you do! Job boards are a volume generator. You post it, the hordes of active candidates are trained to put on the feedbag and apply for 50 jobs in one setting, then you get to troll through the 5 out of 100 candidates who matter. I get it, you get it, and let's face it, for the time period, you need that.
My company still gets around 30% of our hires from job boards. Good hires, bad hires, etc. We know we can sign the Monster/CB contract and our cost per hire is pretty measurable. We get some hires from postings, more from the database, etc. It ads up to 30% right now. They're called aggregators. They're the Golden Corral/Sizzler of the recruiting scene. You go there when you want volume, not when you want a meal to remember.
The goal for most of us who are curious about social media is to grow our overall % of hires who come from the passive candidates found in social media over time. Will Monster and CareerBuilder cease to be a factor in our lives? Maybe, but it will take a while.
Here are a couple of thoughts about the tradeoffs between job boards and recruiting in social media:
1. If all you are doing is posting to the boards, you're a dinosaur and won't make it another decade.
2. If all you do is post and you don't use the resume databases of the job boards, I'd reconsider your approach. The databases are worth more to you over a year than postings, so spend your money accordingly.
3. If recruiting via Social Media is too much for you to comprehend, go to the Social Media Headhunter and order a recruiting primer on how to use LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook to hunt talent (twitter coming soon). I'm the proud owner of the LinkedIn version (straight cash homie, not a comp, so this is not a paid advertisement), and they're strong tutorials, the kind that can get a newbie up and running, but one that can also streamline how a pro uses the tools.
Video killed the radio star. Social Media hasn't killed the job board - yet. Don't fool yourself, though. You need to know the percentage of hires that come from each source, and make sure your "hires via social media" grow year to year.