Google Plus has been ignored, ridiculed and abused by recruiters the world over. I regularly get told that G+ is……. “A waste of time”, “No candidates on there”, “No-one uses it”, “Not another waste of time social network“, “It’s a candidate ghost town” <and my favourite> “It isn’t like LinkedIn!” And what makes these excuses even more laughable is that many of these same recruiters have never even tried Google+, let alone use it for finding candidates! And they seem to go out of their way to then share their feelings with whoever will listen!
Recruiters need to start thinking of 2014 as the year of change. Seriously. And not to be afraid of it either. Too many recruiters are doing the same thing as they always have done (and still failing!), dismissing new methods, techniques and tools that could actually benefit them. Google+ is a prime example. It is fantastic tool for recruiters in many ways, yet recruiters treat Google+ like it is a deadly Google pathogen and won’t go near it.
We all use Google every day of the week. Google is the largest search engine, it has the biggest free email platform (Gmail), it owns the second biggest search engine (YouTube) and it is now the third biggest social network (540 million active monthly users), and one of the leading blogging platforms (Blogger). It has a free 15GB cloud storage for everyone and an excellent cloud sharing photo website (Picasa).
Google has integrated ALL OF THESE into its Google+ social network, meaning you get all the proven benefits of all these leading products.
So, why Google+ for recruiting then?
- Candidate sourcing - will over half a billion people do for now?
- Engagement - commenting and +1’s (Google+ now integrates it’s own commenting engine on YouTube and Blogger, to further drive engagement)
- Contact and communication - with all the contact information and links on the profiles, it is a great source of contact details for people. Now you can send other people on Google+ an email to their GMail account even if you don’t have their email address.
- Content marketing
- Increased organic SEO - well it is Google!
- Excellent community functionality - to create and participate in
- Create completely customised talent pools (via Circles)
- Superb video conferencing and messaging platform via Google+ Hangouts
- Excellent mobile experience
A fellow blogger, Rebekah Radice sums up Google+ nicely:
“The exposure within my industry is unlike anything I’ve experienced on any other social network. With Google Plus, I control my own destiny. Not so with Facebook. Between the dilution of organic search and the suppression of posts, Facebook is reducing even further what ability businesses had to get in front of their audience.Google Plus is all about the quality of your content, your ability to network and how willing you are to connect, engage and inspire others through your words and actions.”
Well, I want to start you thinking that Google+ may not actually be that bad after all. Remember what I said - don’t listen to others, make your own decision and give it a try.
- Create an awesome Google+ Profile. Google+ loves content and information, so make sure your profile is packed full of interesting information, relevant keywords, web links and include ALL your social profiles (I will talk SEO benefits later). Unlike LinkedIn you can add many links, bold text out and add multiple social networks (easily) on Google+.
<TIP> Start with your LinkedIn profile (cope and paste it), making sure you add links to all the text links that relate back to your web pages, blog pages etc in the text. This will give you a good starting point.
So here is your profile checklist - make sure you spend the time to really max these out, after all it is for your benefit in the end!
- You need two good pictures for your Google+ page - a cover picture - the minimum size needed is 480 x 270, and a profile picture of you - a nice clean smiling head shot is always good. (as above, why not use your LinkedIn picture).
- Telling Your Story ( Google+’s wording for your profile). You have your Tagline which is your elevator pitch, your Introduction (which is the same as the LinkedIn summary) and at the end of the Story is Bragging Rights - go and have a brag about something, you know you want to!
<Just for reference> Up to the first 77 characters of your introduction will show up in Google+ search results when people are searching for others people with specific keywords in their profiles. The bit that shows up will include the text from your Introduction that most closely matches the search criteria.
- Ensure you have links to all the pages and web pages from your website, blog, social, email addresses etc.
- Include all your keywords, synonyms, industries, sectors, job titles you recruit for etc as you would in a really good LinkedIn profile.
- The Work section allows you to add content for Occupation, Skills and Employment, and as before you can utilise your LinkedIn profile for help in populating these sections.
- Links is the specific section to add all your social media profiles - so get them all on there!
- Contact Information - don’t be shy here! Remember if you want to be contacted by candidates, recruiters and companies then it always helps to put telephone numbers and email addresses on here. My advice would just to use the public ones already display on job adverts, websites and other profiles.
- Getting your own personalised vanity Google Plus URL like mine - plus.google.com/+andyheadworth, requires just a few criteria before Google will issue you with one.
You will need to have a profile photo, at least 10 followers and an account over 30 days old
- Building your own set of Talent Pools - aka Circles. Circles are the Google+ way of ‘following’ people. You create a Circle, calling it whatever you want as it is private to you (no-one will see it). You can have as many Circles as you like (although there is a limit of 5000 people you can have in your Circles in total). Then you add people to your Circles by mousing over someones profile and ticking a box (it is really easy to do!) So as a recruiter you can set up your Circles for all the candidates sectors/skills/industries you recruit for.
When you have people in your Circles, you can then share content with them. People will be notified when you have added them to your Circles, but they don’t know which Circle or who else is in that Circle with them. They will also be encouraged to add you to one of their Circles.
This is as easy as it is:
<TIP> If you are still unsure Circles, just think of an analogy with Twitter. Your Followers on Twitter = the people that put you in their Google+ Circles; the people that you choose to add to the Circles = the people you follow on Twitter. I hope that makes it clearer.
- Candidate sourcing. This is the one thing about I find the strangest when discussing Google+ with recruiters. It has over half a billion people active on the network in one way or another, and recruiters just dismiss it out of hand. Seriously? Why wouldn’t you want access to this huge pool of people?
So how do search for candidates on LinkedIn?
- You can use the search bar at the top of Google Plus,clicking on the People and Pages tab at the top, remembering the normal Google search terms you use. For this example I did “marketing Manager” UK.
- Another way would be to do the same search (minus the UK), but click on Communities instead. When you see a Community that looks appropriate, click on it. Then what you want is the Members link - click that and it will show you all the profiles of the members of that Community.
<TIP> Remember, not everyone joins Communities, so you need to do a search using both methods.
- Use the x-ray search on Google. It unsurprisingly works very well indeed.
Just use the usual string….. e.g. site:plus.google.com “lived * London” “Marketing manager” And of course it works nicely 🙂
- Claim Google+ Authorship for the content you create and boost your Google Author rank. (And get your picture appearing in Google search results as below). With Google really focusing on original content in their recent Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates with regards to search results quality and SEO, it really makes sense to take visible ownership of the content you create.
You do this by linking your Google+ personal profile to the content you create on your website, blog or any other places you post content i.e guest blogging etc.
It is easy to set up Authorship, just follow these instructions here.
- Tell the world you are now on Google+ and make it easy for them to add you to their Circles. This is really easy to do, as it is all about promoting your presence there using buttons, badges, links and widgets on all your online and offline collateral - website, blog, email footer, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. You can customise your badge or button on the developers page here.An alternative is to use a slightly different widget called Widgetplus.com. It pulls your Google+ details, and it adds you latest updates from the site. I really like this as it shows people the types of updates you are sharing which will help someone add you to their Circle.
It looks like this below. Go on …. add me to one of your Circles by just clicking the blue box below….. you know you want to 🙂
- Engage your Circles with good relevant content. Google+ loves you to share content - not just links to your blog posts like you may do on other social networks, but posts that actually mean something. It also loves visuals - images and videos, as they know how popular they are in terms of shareable types of content.
When you are posting your content, you have a number of options:
You can share specific content with your individual Circles you have created, which is really useful if you are creating your specialist talent pools. You can share content with all or some of your Circles at the same time, make the post private (only Circles will se it) or public, which means anyone can see it and it will can also be found in searches.
The big bonus for Google+ from a content sharing platform is that you actually have the power to share your content to your Circles by email (you just tick the box at the bottom as shown above). Just think about that for a moment…….. You can add who you like to your Circles AND then you can send them an email direct to their inbox! Brilliant.
<Word of warning> Google+ allows users to easily block these emails. If you spam people (either with endless jobs, irrelevant content or too frequently) then you are going to encourage them to block your emails. Take a sensible approach and this is a fantastic part of using Google+ for content marketing.
Now in terms of the best way to post content on Google+ here is some great advice in how to create the perfect Google+ post (full size one here):
Thanks Dustin Stout for this great graphic.
- Use Hangouts as your video platform - it’s free and very good indeed. You may already use Skype or Facetime to interview, brief and engage with your candidates, but try Google+ Hangouts. They are superb and have so many uses, and like the others are very easy to use via mobiles and tablets. This is what hangouts can do here.
From a recruiter perspective they are superb. You can record the Hangouts and then share them on YouTube (if you choose to). You can use them for candidate interactions, client meetings across multiple locations (you can have 10 people in total on the call at any one time), presentations, briefings about jobs, interviewing influencers and industry leaders and then using this content for sharing via social channels, building your brand, products and services awareness as well as creating group Hangouts on specific subjects and publicising them as an event. This is exactly what I took part in yesterday for Colleague on their regular Hangout. I covered this same subject as this post - using Google+ for recruitment. Take a look, as I have embedded the video:
- Set up a Google+ Company page. If you have your own company or you work for a company, make sure you get a company page set up. The set up is exactly the same as setting up a personal page, ensuring you maxing out all the things I have written about in this post. This is absolutely essential for SEO purposes with regards to Google and search. It will obviously improve your social footprint, especially from Google’s perspective!
Try and make sure that you start posting some content on the page, and don’t forget to post a Google+ company page badge, button or link on your website.
People can add companies to Circles, as your page can add people and companies to your page Circles. So it is also important for branding and marketing, and you may also find that prospective future employees may well be adding your page to their Circles as well.
<TIP> Even if you plan not to use Google+ within your company for recruiting purposed just yet, take a few hours out now and just set up your page and post a couple of posts. It will help you from Google’s perspective.
- Join the some of the excellent Google+ Communities. For those of you that remember how good LinkedIn Groups were a few years back, without the endless restrictions and changes they have introduced over the last two years, then you will seriously enjoy Google+ Communities. You can use them in many ways - setting up your own community; actively participating in relevant communities you hav joined, ‘source’ people (add them to your Circles) from Community Member list or use them to actively network with active members within the Community itself.If you are setting up your own community, you can opt for a private or public one, which dictates whether you are visible to anyone including search.
- Use these excellent Google+ tools. As with any social media platform, there are many tools that get created to help you get the most out of the different networks - Google+ is no different, and here are some of my current favourites:
- Hootsuite - this is a well known social media management tool. It allows you to mange your Google+ company page - sharing and scheduling posts without having to leave Hootsuite. Very handy for time management - especially for recruiter.
<Note> Currently this is only applicable for Pages and not Personal Profiles.
- Circlecount - an excellent tools that helps you fully understand your Google+ pages, Circles, content etc
- FriendsPlus.me - it regularly fetches all your publicly published Google+ activity Pages and Personal Profile) and reposts the new ones to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts of your selection, and delayed intervals.
- Timing+ - helps you decide when it is the best time to post your Google+ content. By analyzing your historical post data, it shows you when you have had the most impact with your posts. This in turn will give you better access to your audience.
- AllMyPlus - all your Google+ analytics and more. You can input other profile and pages and this site will give you all the analytics on their content, posting and lots more. Excellent tool for competetive analysis in recruitment.
- RecommendedUsers - good site to look at other Google+ influencers across a number of different industries. Good to get started, but the downside is that the industry subjects are fixed. Worth a look if you are starting off, or if you want to follow some industry leaders on Google+.
So I hope you now realise that Google+ is most definitely worth using for recruitment. I would love to hear about other ways people are using it for recruitment, or any other Google+ tools you use, so share them in the comments.
If you are lucky to be in Calgary, Canada at the Social Recruiting Seminar on the 30th January, then you be hearing me speak more about how Google+ can be used as part of a social recruiting strategy.
And remember, don’t forget to check my profile out on Google+ and maybe add me to your Circles.
I work with recruitment agencies and corporates to help them understand and leverage the different social media networks to improve their recruitment strategy, recruitment process, candidate attraction, employer branding and content marketing strategy. If you require guidance, advice or social recruiting training, get in touch today.