Are You a Social Media Star? Accenture Is Looking for You. «
“Social recruiting” is a popular hiring buzzword these days, and employers from Wall Street to Washington have stepped up their recruiting presence on sites like LinkedIn, FacebookFB +3.93% and TwitterTWTR +0.53% in search of entry-level and experienced talent.
The consulting giant AccentureACN +0.59% PLC —which has about 275,000 employees and aims to hire 50,000 in fiscal 2014—is going several steps further and recruiting candidates based in part on their activity and influence on social sites.
Some recruiters are lurking on industry-specific LinkedIn group pages such as Digital Marketing and SAP Community, tracking active commenters and conversation-starters in areas as diverse as medicine, mortgage processing and mathematics. They’re exploring how to uncover talent using Facebook Graph searches, which run complex requests such as “engineers who speak Swahili.” And, they’re checking to see whether a prospect has strong online connections to current or former Accenture employees.
People who direct online conversations prove themselves as leaders in their fields of expertise, says John Campagnino, managing director of global talent acquisition, and that makes them particularly credible as consultants. (Hiring people with strong followings doesn’t hurt business development, either.)
The company is looking for people who can work through technical or strategy problems at major companies, but who would also garner a high Klout score, which measures a person’s social media influence based on their Twitter and Facebook activity, Mr. Campagnino says. There’s no official formula to assess a candidate’s talent and influence, the company says, but it’s a framework for recruiters to keep in mind.
The firm has also debuted a tool to simplify employee referrals, adding a “get referred” button on job ads, which, when clicked, automatically searches an applicant’s first-level LinkedIn and Facebook contacts for current or former Accenture employees. Once the system identifies the connections, the candidate can in a single click request a formal reference from one of those contacts. The referrer has an interest, too: Accenture pays current and former employees up to $7,000 for successful U.S. referrals, according to spokeswoman Caitlin Storhaug.
Mr. Campagnino says employee referrals now comprise 40% of all new Accenture hires, up from 16% five years ago. In the not too distant future, he says, social-media connections could yield 80% of new recruits.
Given the firm’s extensive presence on social media, it could be a reachable goal. Mr. Campagnino estimates the firm has upwards of 200,000 employees on LinkedIn, with contacts at about 740,000 companies, making Accenture the Kevin Bacon of professional services firms. Chances are, most people on the site can trace their connection to Accenture within six degrees.
Talented workers who simply do their jobs, rather than bantering on Twitter or glad-handing on LinkedIn, might not like this approach. A weak or nonexistent social media profile won’t hurt someone’s candidacy, Mr. Campagnino says, but their presence can help.
He has this tip for anyone angling to get hired at the company: “If you don’t have first-level contacts at Accenture, you should.”