The Impact of Facebook on Recruitment

This hyperessay reviews the impact of social media—namely Facebook—on organizational recruitment. Social network recruiting is not a secret anymore. The key for my industry (biotech) is not just to do it, but to do it well so that they gain a competitive advantage.

In 2012 few things will matter in business as much as speed. He who gets their first will win. Social media have the unprecedented ability to tap into powerful networks and help companies find the talent they need—faster and cheaper than ever before.  In today’s landscape, it’s not only the message that matters, but how and where you reach your audience. It’s about connecting and interactivity. It’s about going to your audience rather than asking them to come to you.

Ninety percent of the time you’ll find them online. As Wittkower pointed out, social media platforms like Facebook are growing more important by the day. The ways in which we communicate have dramatically changed. Best-in-class companies advertise career opportunities and share their employment brand on social sites, because that is where their audience is. They identify, create, and manage a social presence that extends their brand into the digital world.

We have spent the last couple of weeks examining how companies best use Facebook. We have narrowed our focus, and identified two who are exemplary for their ability to market, publicize or publish content. In my research two companies’ rose to the top: Cisco and Fast Company. As different as these two companies are, I identified three things they have in common:

  1. Strategic focus—they identify strategic opportunities where social media can improve the brand’s competitive position.
  2. Collaboration—their social media sites are managed collaboratively to build and deepen customer relationships.
  3. Encourage Interaction—they gain value from consumers by encouraging interaction by posting content that isn’t necessarily related to their business.

Strategic Focus

In 2010 Cisco introduced a new structure to drive alignment on process, skills, and behaviors in key areas where social can have a strategic impact. It is made up of the following roles:

Digital Community Manager Manages external online communities (for all stakeholders)Helps create and post information to encourage two-way dialogue
Monitoring Manager Assigns relevant dialogue to appropriate team, leads and manages response (usually the first line of response)
Connector Connects stories to influencers and inspires activity/conversationsUses intelligence, empathy and sincerity to “bridge” a story to others in a way that’s compelling to them
Content Producer Creates or ensures others create content to fuel customer interactions (e.g., videos, blog posts, policies)
Research Librarian Analyzes relevant terms used by customers and documents conversations by content/sentiment  Presents data for analysis by strategists
Industry Expert/Strategist Leads digital strategy and masters the art/science of linking new and traditional media to the bottom line and also understands customers and market trends
Subject Matter Expert Uses expertise built on the job to create interesting or informative content for customers and works in conjunction with content producer

The beauty of this structure is that it prioritizes conversations with potential for two-way value exchange between the company and customers. The volume of conversations social media staff receive can often prevent a company from responding to all of them. In this structure Cisco listens for actionable conversation, finding opportunities to add value where candidate conversations are naturally happening. The average post on Cisco’s Facebook page has 150 likes and 10 comments. The post below received 60 likes and one comment. You can see if Cisco examined this post with a strategic filter, they would choose to forgo follow-up posts on this topic, and focus on those where they generate more interest from their audience.

Cisco uses principled decision rules to narrow opportunities based on their potential value add by looking for alignment with business objectives (e.g., feedback, new business opportunities, developing strategic relationships and boosting awareness or loyalty). Since those objectives were not present in this case, they moved on. The next example shows a post that mentions a new product launch. Posts that mentioned new products received the most comments and likes. Not surprisingly I saw more attention paid to posts such as this:


Cisco and Fast Company enable subject matter experts to be heard on Facebook. For example on Fast Company, the following post leads with a quote from someone featured in the magazine, rather than the voice of the magazine.












This is a great way for a company to extend their reach. By linking to someone else’s page (who has a generous amount of followers already) you extend the visibility of your brand to people who might not normally see it.

Build Relationships

Cisco and Fast Company both focus on starting authentic conversations. The people who follow the Facebook pages for Fast Company and Cisco are what we call ‘high potential’ for quality candidate referrals. When they post something on their page, and someone ‘likes’ it or posts a comment, it broadcasts the content to their network, increasing visibility to high-profile job candidates.

Studies have shown people like to receive messages, that they are most likely to open them if they come from friends, and they are reluctant to open messages from those they do not know Therefore, it is important to engage in conversations and understand how prospective employees view the company. You can use that information to craft a employee value proposition or messaging campaigns that address misinformation.

To encourage interaction, Cisco and Fast Company add fun (and sometimes seemingly random) topics to get their followers talking. On average, the content was a 50/50 content split: technical posts vs. lighter/fun posts.  Take this post, for example, that shares a video that call “fun” featuring top executives rapping.

Notice the high number of comments on the posts above.  No longer is communication a one way street. As Miekle explained, social media has enabled the many-to-many communication flow. This is where an organization releases information and engages in direct interaction with the recipient and amongst members of the audience. In addition to being a true many-to-many platform the content was extended to each of those people’s followings, at no cost to the sender.

There are a number of reasons to suspect that content shared in this manner can have a powerful influence over attitudes, beliefs and behavior. Whether individuals share the content directly (e.g., sent electronically to the receiver) or indirectly (e.g., posted on a sender’s online profile or website for others to see), information from a peer is generally assumed to be of some interest and value.

Many studies have shown that humor, fun, intrigue, and emotional connections are present in messages that go viral. Therefore, incorporating fun content (such as videos, pictures, status updates, user posts, and exclusive opportunities) Cisco and Fast Company attract a broad audience and strike an emotional connection. When their users respond to these posts, it increases the likelihood of peers taking it among themselves to share the content with one another.

Here’s another example of a fun post by Fast Company.  The title says it all.

As you can see Cisco and Fast Company start the topic of conversation, but rarely participate in the dialogue that it results. When they do participate, its to correct misinformation or respond to a customer concern like the one below. Here a follower identified Cisco that a link they posted was not working, and they quickly responded.


This hyperessay focused on how companies are leverage social media to create a strong base of job applicants. Today, Facebook is the largest of the social networking sites with over 400 million users. It connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them. Building Facebook into their recruiting mix companies like Cisco and Fast Company are building a community of high quality potential job applicants who are engaging with their companies on a regular basis.

Social media recruiting helps employers like Fast Company and Cisco get to know potential job candidates and what their views on the company. As with any job opening, using social media recruiting requires time and effort but it’s an investment in longer-term benefits for your company.

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Hey, it’s a good cause, and I’ve got bills to pay

If you want to grow your business you must first grow your network. And if you can’t, get your checkbook ready.

Let’s face it. Many of us, and the companies we work for, do not have the capacity to solve the complex problems we set out to solve. Weather we strive for world peace, landing a  new client, or simply growing our businesses beyond 2 % in a single digit growth economy, we struggle when we work as single entities.

When we move away from a focus on growing individual organizations, to growing networks– anew world opens up to us. Companies that do this  are “Networked.”  They leverage the power of social media and connectedness. They engage people to shape and share their work to raise awareness of social issues. They organize communities to provide services or advocate for legislation.They engage in conversations with people beyond their walls — lots of conversations — to build relationships that spread their work through the network.

Working this way is possible because of social media. However,  you need the right tools (and free agents) in your bag if you’re going to be successful.

Most social media Marketers will tell you that you need free agents. A free agent is a person who is a passionate about a social cause (that’s the good news). They work outside of an organization to organize, mobilize, raise money, and engage with others (also good).  Free agents are fluent in social media and take advantage of social media tools to promote your cause (this should be starting to sound too good to be true).

That’s because it is. Free agents want you to pay them to promote your cause/business to their network. And the more followers they have, the more it’s going to cost. Oh, and there are no guarantees you’ll get a return on your investment. You just have to believe in the power of people to get swayed by other people.

Shawn is an example of a free agent. He has created a movement of people who are dedicated and care about solving extreme global poverty. He tells his story, in a compelling way online. Overtime he has built a huge following of people who care what he has to say, and more importantly, listen and engage with him.

Wendy Harman  (who is employed by the Red Cross) took note of this, perhaps by watching this video. Knowing that she couldn’t solve her problems alone, she engaged Shawn to gain a following for her cause.

After their first meeting, Shawn wrote this post entitled Unfortress.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if there was a business transaction involved.

At the end of the day, social media tools don’t create relationships or cure causes we care about. People do. And if there is anything that people are good at, it’s creating meaning through social interactions, and when all else fails…buying what we want.

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When security goes too far

In 1961 American historian Daniel Boorstin introduced the idea of “pseudo-events” in The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. Arguing that the rise of mass media in modern culture left us with an insatiable demand for constant news and information, Boorstin says staged techniques were created that  make news, rather than waiting for news to occur naturally.

Boorstin applied this analysis to media coverage of American politics, and found that the Presidency is particularly tied to pseudo-events. Writing just after the 1960 election season—where the landmark televised “Great Debates” were critical to JFK’s  victory over  Nixon—he  criticized how a series of pseudo-events reduced “great national issues to trivial dimensions” due to the debate format.

Similarly, Journalist Neal Gabler examined the pseudo-event in his work “Life: The Movie, How Entertainment Conquered Reality,” written in 1998. Gabler argued that the pseudo-event transformed in into “pseudo-life.” In Gabler’s analysis, entertainment forms have tainted the way in which news and politics are packaged resulting in a world where reality and fiction are blurred, undermining the authenticity of our news.

We can find examples of this blurring of reality in politics. Politicians go to great lengths to script the unscripted—sometimes creating advertisements that resemble non-fictional documentaries such as Sarah Palin’s Alaska (when in fact they are fabricated and staged) and other times creating advertisements that are highly produced movie previews (such as this ad by Ron Paul.)

The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign released a national security-themed television ad that portrayed him as a veteran who will secure America’s borders and rebuild its defenses. The 30-second spot titled “Secure” includes flashing images of military helicopters and aircraft carriers. The ad states that America will not be the world’s policeman and spend trillions overseas.

The ad tries to position Paul as a leader who is prepared to deal with threats to U.S. national security and someone who is ready to be the nation’s commander-in-chief. The ad suggests that a strong national defense means ending destructive unconstitutional wars having an unclear connection to national security, ending costly state-building in regions where our presence is unwanted, and bringing hundreds of thousands of troops home to make America safer and cut overseas spending.”

I transformed his own political ad into an ad that counters his argument. I wanted to instill fear/anger/outrage at what would happen if Ron Paul were elected.  I did this by using  exaggerated and misleading images that played up the notion of security  to transform his own political ad into an ad that counters his argument.

A common tactic used when attempting to influence opinion is to scare people with fear-arousing communications. A good examples of such communications are the advertisements made by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which often portray the horrific consequences drugs can have on people’s lives. By stirring up people’s fears, these communications hope to imprint imagery or ideas in the mind that will keep people away from drugs.

I tried to do the same in my ad. For example, when he talks about securing our nation, I portray him as taking security too far resulting in an oppressive society where citizens are scared, greeted by guns when exiting the metro.

When he says he doesn’t want to act as the world’s policeman I show this image of armed guards outside of the Capitol, essentially saying “Yeah, right. This is what would happen if you elect this guy.” Whether its true or not, I have just planted the notion that it is true and that this would happen.

When he talks about how he’ll control wasteful spending, I play up that he  wants to eliminate the department of education. On November 14, 2008 Ron Paul said in a New York Times interview:

“The Department of Education has given us No Child Left Behind, massive unfunded mandates, indoctrination, and in some cases, forced medication of our children with psychotropic drugs. We should get rid of all of that and get those choices back in the hands of the people.”

To illustrate this point, I used an image of children learning in a classroom setting.

In this case, my alteration revealed a truth. Ron Paul does want to eliminate the Department of Education. However, I manipulate the viewer to believe that he wants to get rid of education all together (not just the government’s involvement in it) by placing this image with his statement. This technique gives the illusion that a false statement is true for the purpose of propaganda.

The images I chose were designed to create an emotional effect on voters, instilling fear anger and outrage at what would happen if Ron Paul were elected.  I was able to use digital tools to manipulate Ron Paul’s words and advertisements in a way that blurred reality and fiction.

Fear-arousing communications work best when the speech or advertisement instills the fear but then explains how to avoid/reduce such fear. If the advertisement simply causes fear but doesn’t offer information on how to avoid it, then people will likely dismiss the purpose of the communication. This is why at the end of my ad, I say to “vote no to Ron Paul” giving them a way to control the fear.

People often think of propaganda as something negative, as in a con or a lie. But propaganda really doesn’t have anything to do with negative or positive. It’s a technique. The word propaganda refers to any technique that attempts to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes or behavior of a group in order to benefit the sponsor.

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Audio Narrative: Entering the Scream Zone

I was inspired to learn how to construct a narrative through sound. The examples we studied this week demonstrated the complexity of editing and audio manipulation that is possible, and while I may not have been moved by them all, I developed a respect for the artist who is deeply invested in narrative through sound, and wanted to give my best attempt to do the same.

I was intrigued by the Geekspeak by Pamela Z. I liked how she created loops and phrases as though were musical sounds, and focused on phrases that evoked a kind of hyper-geekiness. Using the techniques in Geekspeak as my inspiration, I aimed to focus on phrases that I heard during my walk and wanted to learn how to layer sounds together. To do so, I needed to capture a myriad of sounds, emotions and unexpected elements. Rather than worrying about what I would say and when, I chose a location that would do all the prompting for me—a haunted house of horror.

I should mention that I am easily scared. I don’t do well with scary movies, especially the type with people jumping out at you.  This would be the perfect setting to get me out of my comfort zone.

Once inside San Diego’s largest haunted attraction (the Scream Zone) three gory attractions awaited me: the House of Horror, the Haunted Hayride, and the Chamber of Chills. I recorded several 2-minute clips in the Chamber of Chills before moving on to the House of Horror where I managed to capture 6 straight minutes. Cell phones were off limits once inside, adding an unexpected level of complexity to my project.

My finished product is the combination of my experience in both the House of Horror and the Chamber of Chills.  I took bits and pieces from my experience of being trapped in a maze, wandering through a blood-soaked autopsy room full of dissected corpses and long pointy tools, and coming face to face with a Texas-style chainsaw-wielding maniac, complete with skin mask.

I had 4 friends accompany me, one of which was just as scared as I was (pictured left waiting in line) and a few who just laughed at us and tried to add to our levels of fear.

In the end, I hope I created what Schaub coined a “new art form.” I rearranged phrases and tried to take my listeners on a  journey that allowed them to fill in the blanks using the the rich elements of sound.

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Collective Narrative

Every morning, like a song stuck on repeat, the first thing I do is to reach for my iPhone. On September 11th I was going to reflect on the actions that occurred ten years prior whether I wanted to or not. My CNN app told me so…before I had even brushed my teeth.

It was going to be a heavy day. This assignment required public reflection on my experiences relating to September 11 and I wasn’t going to be able to ease into it.

I live in California and began the assignment three hours behind most of you.  As I acclimated to the 911 twitter feed I automatically felt behind.  I was reading posts by Brittany, Rachel and Randall that listed specific times. They recalled where they were at specific moments 10 years ago.

“Sitting in my 7th grade class 10 years ago today at 9:03 am. I remember watching the second plane hit the tower on TV” 

“10 yrs ago I was sitting in class. Teacher got a phone call and put on the TV-watched the towers fall in silence”

“10 years ago watching Aaron Brown on CNN narrating the falling crush of the towers. It was completely unreal.”

“I remember watching the events on TV unfold, while holding on to my one-year-old. I didn’t want to let her go.”

Seeing these precise memories made me stop and reflect. Where was I? What was doing at that time? But it felt funny. It was three hours earlier in San Diego so it didn’t feel legit.

When I couldn’t add to the majority, I started to deflate like air seeping out of a tire. I wondered, would I be the tweet that through the whole narrative off-balance or out of whack?

I steered away from writing about my thoughts throughout my morning because everyone else was half way through their day.  I was clearly altering my participation and felt iffy about it. Then I remembered Ascott. He said that problems of uncertainty instability arise in the relationship of the reader and the artist because “telematic art meaning is not something created by the artist, distributed  through the network, and received by the observer.  [Instead the] meaning is the product of interaction between the observer and the system” (Ascott 308).

This was happening and I was feeling uncertain.

As the day continued I began to see the depth the different time zones, neighborhoods and ages brought to the narrative. It was interesting to see images of New York and Ground zero side by side with images from DC, Seattle, PA, etc. I wondered how the beach towns of San Diego would compare. In true Cali style, they did not disappoint with tribute in Cardiff by the Sea.

Reading the different perspectives did add to my experience of 9/11. As Ascott suggested, creative writing has become more participatory because we are no longer just receiving content. We are creating own content after interacting with what came before, distributing the content again and eventually transforming to the surface for other users (Ascott 311).  I noted some similarities between the process of distributed authorship and our assignment. For example in our 9/11 twitter feed one person would begin with a post and or photo, and several others not knowing what would proceed them, would continue it. Each person participating could read the latest additions to the narrative and add to it—with all participants receiving updates on their feeds. In this way, the narrative was continuously supplemented with unpredictable twists that produced something that could not have been obtained by any single person. This project demonstrates Ascott’s goal of creating a field of consciousness that is greater than the sum of its parts.

I was drawn to the images throughout the day. A good image tells a thousand words, right? This got me thinking about Baurdillard. He said that an image captures the event, and at the same time glorifies it. He continues to argue that “there is no good usage of the media, the media are part of the event, they are part of the terror and they are part of the game in one way or another” (p.4).

If you agree with his perspective then you probably agree that the media drew more attention to the terrorist associated with 9/11 and in a way, furthered the terrorists’ cause. It’s what Baurdillard refers to as a symbolic act. It seemingly achieves one thing on the surface–informing the public about a significant event–and achieves something else entirely at the same time, whether intentional or unintentional.

Wast this assignment a symbolic act? We added attention to 9/11 and the acts of terrorism…and we were now trending in DC on Twitter.

Opinions aside, the question has been posed: are collective narratives the storytelling of the future? The explosion of social media combined with our busy schedules and short attention spans, seemed to create the perfect trifecta when it comes to distributed authorship. This assignment did show me that the sum can be much greater than its parts.

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9/11: A Collective Narrative Project

 A selection of images and tweets from San Diego, CA on September 11, 2011:

Waking up and immediately remembering 9/11.

This is what remains of ground zero. 10 years later.

If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate” Wife of Flight 93 pilot.


California residents in Cardiff remember.

Friends in Afghanistan. Proud to be an American.

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Multimedia experience

I am procrastinating writing this assignment by reviewing my online wedding album for the hundredth time. Obsessing might be a better word. After twenty-two days of waiting I was busting at the seams when this email arrived:

Hi Charlotte and Mike,

Congratulations on getting married! The two of you look great in your wedding photos 🙂 The images have been uploaded online and can be viewed by going to

I was at a work dinner when my i phone chimed. Knowing I couldn’t wait until I got home, I clicked on the link and entered my login. The connection was slow. Painfully slow. I am sure my foot was tapping on the floor under the table. My coworkers probably noticed I was ignoring the conversation at hand.

Then I saw this:

I am sure I let out a gasp and held my phone up for my friend Riann who was sitting next to me to see the thumbnail image. I spent the rest of that night and several that followed online. I was reliving the happiest day of my life. I was also uploading as many pictures as I could to Facebook to show the world.

When you get married you feel a lot of different things. You also miss a lot of moments occurring around you because the time goes by so fast. Some of my favorite photos let me experience the emotion all over again. Some let me pause and revel in it for as long as I like, such as:

The joy of getting ready with my best friends:

The exuberance of walking down the aisle with my dad:

The emotion showing through from my ‘tough as nails’ husband:








Receiving congratulations from complete strangers on the street:

I could go on and on.

For me, this is a recent and relevant defining multimedia experience that encapsulates all the important elements.

  • Multimedia should evoke emotional triggers. Check.
  • It should submerge you deeply in the content/situation. Check.
  • It should be easy to access and easy to share with other people. Check.
  • It should combine more than one medium—in this case it was the combination of digital photography with color-enhanced images that were communicated through blogs, social media and online sites within minutes of each other.
  • The elements should play off each other. The viewer should have a richer experience because of this combination.  For example, if I wasn’t able to download and re-post my photos upon viewing, I would have felt like I was missing out. I would have missed the instant gratification, congratulations, well wishes and funny comments that kept me smiling all week. 

Check. Check. Check.

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