What are the best social channels for recruiting globally? How do you differentiate yourself from talent competitors? How do you calculate return on investment on social media training for recruiters?
To get some answers, I had a chat with Sarang Brahme who is the Global Lead of Social Recruiting Initiatives and Strategy at Capgemini. Have a listen to the podcast episode embedded below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.
Tell us about Capgemini and your role?
Capgemini is a global IT services company. We are present in more than 40 countries today. We have just acquired IGATE, so all our strength is around 180,000 people. We are into consulting, outsourcing, technology, pretty much what the new age IT companies are into. We have a really good focus in terms of driving direct sourcing and using social media for branding and engaging. We’ve recently created an HR centre of excellence for that that looks after all these activities globally.
My role is to really look at the way we are adopting social, from three different perspectives. The way I look at social recruiting is source, brand and engage. So how are we using social recruiting process, sourcing and finding those purposefully, how are we using it for branding and positioning Capgemini in terms of employer brand? And as well as, are we keeping our audience and talent, our talent community engaged? That’s pretty much my role. I work with all the regions and all my teammates to make sure that the strategy is adopted and implemented at grassroots level in most of the regions. That’s pretty much what keeps me busy.
What are some of the challenges that you are facing in the recruitment space?
As of now, I think it’s really important for all of us and for recruiters to understand the digital transformation that is happening. We all talk about digital transformation. Every IT company talks about it. What does this mean for recruiters? One of the objectives that we really have is selecting the best talent and not the talent which remains or which no one else hires. So we are selective and understand what is our talent segment, how do we source them, how do we engage them, how do we brand them, how do we position them, is really more important. For a recruiter to really change their thinking hats from using traditional channels, which were more of a post-and-pray kind of challenge, is to really use social to identify, engage them into conversations, and then hiring. We think that shift is really important, and that is currently, one of the biggest challenges that we are working on.
How do you differentiate Capgemini against IBM, Accenture, Deloitte etc?
In fact that’s a conversation that we have with all our hiring managers. If you look at our target companies, we’ll always come up with IBM and then Deloitte. In terms of differentiating, we really look at two to three different things. One is how do we position our employer brand or what is the value proposition that we put forward to our candidates. So we have an employer branding campaign which is called “Be the you, you want to be,” which really focuses on the you part and not the company part. So we talk about how can Capgemini help you to be empowered to really develop where you want to be?
In fact we also have a great mobility policy where you can change and go across location, go across functions. So that gives you freedom in terms of choosing the path that you can think about. Also we are really a multinational corporation with a really global mindset, where it’s not just India or not just UK, but we also look at cross-collaborating. Of course, a lot of opportunities for candidates to go ahead and find new territories to them. Just to take an example of myself when I started my role in Capgemini, I just started as a sourcer, but today I’ve grown into this new role where I approached my management and said, “This is what we can do,” and they were happy for me to take the lead. So that’s exactly what we offer to our candidates.
We make sure in all the conversations, all the engagements, whether that’s offline or online, we look at that particular aspect for recruiters, for hiring managers to talk and engage our candidates and set us different from our competitors.
Why did Capgemini choose to invest in recruiter learning?
Well, obviously our recruiters are habituated. They will always go for an option which gives them faster, cheaper and better results. For years, from the time monster.com was started, the online job pool was started, they were then habituated right from their day one, to go into the job portals, find candidates, or just send them emails, “Hi, this is Sarang. This is the job description, send me your profile,” or post a job and wait for good candidates to come to them. However, the market is changing and changing really fast, where good candidates are no more just using traditional channels. They are there on social.
So it’s really important for recruiters to learn these new ways and really embrace these changes, and be as a differentiator and a competitive advantage over others rather than using the same old traditional methods. Also in the long run, it would give us a cost advantage. It would give us a branding and engagement advantage, and it would really prepare recruiters for the future, where if everything is moving digitally and we can’t afford to sit back and see this disruption, we have to be part of it. That’s where we invested into a lot of learning programs, including LinkedIn certifications, which has helped us to get the best out of our investment on LinkedIn, to use LinkedIn in a most effective manner, rather than just using the same old tradition manner like a job portal.
There has to be a change in the thinking of recruiters, the way they are engaging candidates. They can’t just send job descriptions. They just can’t use the same old methods of finding people; it has to be different. That’s why these programs have helped us. And not just LinkedIn; in fact we have regular workshops to find candidates from Google X-ray searches, Facebook graph searches, Twitter, XING, TalentBin, and all of the new tools that have come up. We make sure we invest our time and efforts into this, so that at the end of day, recruiters will help us to find the best candidates and not the ones which remain at the end of the day on the market.
Which social networks are working best for Capgemini, and how do you use them?
I think as of now, in terms of direct recruitment or direct sourcing, I would say LinkedIn is the preferred channel, because of the way it is structured. It is a professional channel, where we can find more professional information about people’s skills and experiences. So that has really helped us from a sourcing perspective, but we are not limited by that. So we also use Facebook, we also use Twitter, we have XING. In Poland, we use GoldenLine. So there are regional flavours to it. There’s Viadeo in some regions, and we use it for branding and engagement. Every region has their own Facebook page, and we also collaborate with marketing. A lot of times we don’t have a different career page and different business page. We have one page, one Capgemini approach so that it helps us to collaborate and not to have separated segments.
We are also working to look at new tools, as I said like TalentBin, which are more talent aggregators, but we are still trying to find value out of it. But for branding and engagement, I think Facebook and Twitter have been great. From a sourcing perspective, a recruitment perspective, I think LinkedIn has been great.
We also do a lot of gamification. Last year we ran a challenge called Tech Challenge, which was completely a social gamification initiative for all the technical folks in India. It had nothing to do with hiring; it was just to test their mettle in terms of how much expertise they have in specific skills. We ran the assessment, it was leaderboard-driven program. Players could write and challenge their peers on social, gain points. At the end of it, we know which are the top people who have scored more, and then engage that talent community in terms of future requirements, or making sure that we hire them and attract them to us. We use a lot of different channels where it makes sense for us, and where they are effective.
Calling all #Drupal experts to mix work with play.
— Capgemini India (@CapgeminiIndia) August 30, 2014
What has the return on investment been on your social media training?
One of the challenges that we have always seen in terms of training is, while training looks great, but how does that reflect or change… or you get visible results out of it in terms of hires. We did the research and what we found out is that people who are certified or recruiters where we’ve invested into their learning, their performance in terms of using social, whether that is utilisation of social media channels, getting more candidate responses, adding more candidates into the talent pipeline or even hires, is significantly better than the recruiters who have not gone through that learning program. Just to give an example, Capgemini today has the largest team which has been certified, we have over 130 recruiters globally who are LinkedIn certified. That shows our commitment to learning.
Also from a hiring perspective, we saw that most of the LinkedIn or most of the social hires that we have done are from the people who are certified or people who have gone through the training program. There is a direct correlation between learning and hiring. As of today, a pretty large proportion of our hires come from social; and not just for one region, but globally. We’ve been able to make a really good cost impact out of it compared to where we were probably two years back in terms of our agency usage. This has pretty much helped us to, one, drive down the cost, secondly also, our number of followers, number of engagement, our Talent Brand Index has also shot up three times from where we were two years back. I won’t say this is the final destination, but I think we are moving in the right direction as we go ahead.
What hard lessons have you learned along the journey?
When we started all these programs, obviously there wasn’t a magic wand that we had. But we realised that recruiters are habituated. So it’s not just about buying some, let’s say, logins and job postings, and giving it to them and hoping that they will use and they will get hires out of it. We learned that… we made sure that there are a proper processes, governance, learning programs, some kind of push and pull, which is also needed to make sure that social is being used at a mass scale. So we want all of our recruiters to use social. In some cases we made that as part of their KPIs. In some cases, we would run a gamification program.
Just to give you one example, we ran a sourceathon initiative last year, which was completely driven from a gaming perspective where we awarded points to recruiters who are using social more. They are getting more hires, more offers out of social, and we had cool prizes like iPads and all of it for people to really want to achieve that.
We saw that the number of offers that we got in those three months were doubled than what we used to do previously. So in some cases, as I said, you have to have a push approach, like making sure they are using it, there’s a process and governance. In some cases, it’s just a pull approach, making sure social recruiting is not just another process thing, but it’s cool, interesting, and most importantly they need to understand what the value is for them. It helps them to be current, it helps them to differentiate themselves, and it helps them to add a value into their career path and growth. Because if someone is just using traditional channels, he probably won’t be valued in the next three to four years. He has to learn and understand.
What companies and brands inspire you and why?
I think one particular company that I would take an example here is clearly L’Oréal. I saw their presentation last year at LinkedIn Talent Connect. I think the kind of work they did from two things, one is from a branding and engaging perspective, it’s just phenomenal. The video that they showed about the inspiration was really awesome. It just shows the human connect they have with the talent and the whole philosophy behind it, how would they look at it. Secondly, their data driven approach and the artificial intelligence and some of the pull technology that they are using for onboarding candidates or interviews or candidate experience; I think that was really good. It gave us clues in terms of where the world is moving and where probably the next generation recruiting are going to come from.
What is the next big thing in social media and recruitment?
I think social media is here to stay. I think we should stop talking about whether it’s important. Yes, it’s important. More importantly, how are you using it? I think next big challenge will be around how do you use social media for data driven decisions, and not just at a direct level or a requirement level, but at a strategic level? The world is becoming more global from a skills perspective. The mobility is also coming in. How you think big, how you use data, social data to really match your requirements to the candidates is, I think, one thing.
Secondly, candidate experience, I think this is unchartered territory, which a lot of companies are still looking at. We looked not just at how do we find candidates, but how would social help them to really have a great experience. The candidate remembers memories and experiences that they have, which probably give them more edge to have a decision, whether I would join the company or not. Finding candidates is becoming easier because there is such an influx on social, but how do you engage them in making sure that they attach to your brand as humanly possible? I think that’s going to be the next challenge. So how do you engage them, how do you keep them with you? Their attention span is reducing every year. There’s probably about six seconds, so that’s really important.
How do you stay on top of their mind, creating that connect and engaging them ongoing. I think that’s going to be the next challenge. Social and technology is there, but at the end of day, I will always say that as a recruiter, you have to think like a marketer, act as a hunter but be human at the end of day. So how you do that is also pretty important.