HR departments are used to snagging the top talent, the brainiacs that can do their job and appreciate job stability. But today’s hiring climate has changed. The baby boomers are leaving the workforce, and there simply aren’t enough new recruits to tag them out. This makes any HR department’s job that much harder. What were once considered competitive hiring fields, are now intensely competitive hiring fields. In turn, new sourcing and recruiting practices are entering the public sector slowly but surely. We’ll say the public sector was fashionably late to the “social media in HR” trend.

Let’s face it, there are best practices, policies and regulations that don’t change quickly in the world of government jobs. When a new HR trend arises, things don’t exactly change over night, but public sector HR departments are catching on, and utilizing social media to up their recruiting game.

Privacy and security have always been prized in the public sector, and social media carries an inherent threat to that. New policies and regulations are needed in order to implement the use of social media. Basically, tailored social media strategies are vital to the security needs and overall functionality of social media for recruiting purposes in the public sector.

Public sector HR Departments have realized that this isn’t a trend that they can opt out of. Social media isn’t dying soon, and the benefits of utilizing it as a tool are unignorable…

It’s is by far the fastest mass communication tool:

  • New Yorkers received tweets about an East Coast earthquake 30 seconds before they actually felt it.

It is the most efficient way to reach the largest amount of candidates:

  • There are 554,750,000 active Twitter users and over 1 billion Facebook profiles.

It’s cheap:

  • While social media is free, you need someone to run these multiple outlets who actually knows what they’re doing. The national average salary for a social media expert is $63,000.

It is now a best practice in HR:

  • 78% of HR executives said that they use social media to recruit employees.

Hootsuite recently came out with a white paper, “Social Media in Government: 5 Key Considerations”. While not necessarily directed toward HR objectives, these 5 considerations apply across the board.

  • Aligning Objectives: Any time social media is used, it should be in-line with the organization’s overall mission. Objectives should be clear and consistent with all communications.

Transparency and Collaboration: Until just recently, traditional means of scouting and recruiting have been typically one-way, social media lends a chance at dialogue and 2-way communication. “Using social media tools to create a more coordinated environment fosters external transparency and internal collaboration.

  • Engaging the Public: It is no secret that employer brand and company culture are of the utmost importance. Government agencies are now able to use social media to engage citizens and appeal to more candidates in a more in depth way.

Privacy and Security: Herein lies one of the major differences in social media between private and public sector HR. Social media policies are a must in the public sector. “The need for Open Government is a stated priority. The need to protect data is also a priority.”

  • Analytics and Metrics: The helpful new tool of social media in recruiting is amazing, but along with it comes a little something called big data. Best practices, tools and consistency must be used in order to harness this information to the HR department’s benefit. Additionally, everyone’s agenda should be considered. What numbers are they interested in and how can you deliver them?
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