Talent Circles

Friday, December 27, 2013

Recruiting & Reaching Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants: Part Three of a Three-Part Series

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Parts one and two of this series provided insight on why different approaches must be used for recruiting digital natives and digital immigrants and how you can identify each category. I talked about why a solid foundation of research is essential to creating a successful recruiting campaign and where to start when you’re ready to dive in. Now that the research is done, it’s time to embark on the action part of your campaign: the strategies you put into play to meet digital natives and immigrants in the online spaces they frequent and in a way they can relate to.

Defining your campaign The size and scope of your campaign will depend on how much of your organization’s resources can be devoted to these efforts and how great of a need you have for new candidates. For instance, if you wish to gain 20 new prospective candidates, your approach and time required will be different than if your goal is five candidates. Additionally, the channels you use and the ways in which you use them will vary depending on whether you wish to reach digital natives, digital immigrants or both.

Strategies for reaching digital natives In general, digital natives are drawn to flashy technology, new approaches and active communities. They are attracted to different and unique, and in a lot of ways they are the first adopters of social networks, apps and tools within these networks. Because of this, they tend to be more jaded, meaning that your efforts will have to be creative and out of the box to make a splash. Technologically advanced and creative recruitment strategies are essential here.

When it comes to community, this group relies heavily on crowdsourcing and utilizing their networks to meet as many of their needs as possible, from choosing a movie to go see to finding a job. You can use this to your advantage by making your company’s job information available on social networks and giving them everything they need to assess your company without ever leaving the social network. They prefer quick replies and aren’t afraid to reach out or reply to an online connection. This means that you’ll need to be diligent in communication with digital natives but should have a bit of luck connecting with them because they are open to having conversations right there on their social network.

Strategies for reaching digital immigrants Overall, digital immigrants enjoy utilizing social networks, just not in the same ways that digital natives might. For many in this category, their online existence is based around a need or desire, from needing to create an online professional profile to wanting to connect with family and friends. They also crowd source, but they are less trusting of those they don’t know. This group tends to be more wary of people they don’t know reaching out to them and are less likely to do the reaching out. As a recruiter, it’s important to build some type of familiarity or relationship with these prospective candidates because trust is key to engaging them. Recruiters can typically use a more classic approach with digital immigrants and should be mindful that response time may be greater and frequency of responses may be less than that of digital natives.

Some may interpret the habits of digital immigrants as providing less of an opportunity for recruiters but this is not necessarily the case. Since this group desires community just like digital natives, you actually have the opportunity of developing more solid connections with these candidates, leading to real results.

At the end of the day, both of these groups desire the same things, just in different ways. They are both seeking community and interaction, so when approached the right way, they are both open to creating connections.

Have you tailored your approach for digital natives and digital immigrants? Tell us about your efforts in the comments section below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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