Picture yourself standing in a simpler time on a glorious landscape where the promise of change and opportunity are everywhere.

You are backpacking alongside the road across this land of possibility when a camper van with a kaleidoscopic paint job happens along. Hey, things were cooler back then and without hesitation out goes your thumb.

The driver has a kind face and flowers in her hair. The van’s interior shows she is definitely the creative type.

“Hey man!” She says. “Looks like we’re goin’ the same way!”

Suddenly, feeling as though truer words had never been spoken, you un-shoulder your pack and hop into the van.

Hitchhiking may be a thing of the past, but as a metaphor for the power of recruiting perfect-fit new-hires through social media it’s the ideal metaphor. Indeed, it even harkens back to a time when the status quo had become tiresome – and looking for newer, better ways of doing things was celebrated.

The diversity of approaches to business – management styles, product and service offerings, corporate citizenship and philanthropic priorities – that define the landscape of possibility today all mean it’s harder than ever for companies seeking a specific sort of talent and talent seeking a specific sort of opportunity to find one another.

Kristi is a blogger for KristiJAllen.com where she offers disruptive approaches to global digital marketing strategy informed by work experience on Fortune 500 brands like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ford Racing, BASF, and Dow Corning. Kristi is also the Global Talent Attraction and Brand Manager for Dow Chemical.

I asked her how companies can expedite finding, attracting, connecting with, and building relationships with like-minded individuals in a business marketplace where variation and diversity in approaches, styles and priorities continues to snowball the complexity of the landscape.

Her answer was simple: wear who you are loud and proud on social media for potential talent – just as you would for sales prospects. In other words, social media strategy for recruitment should look a lot like social media strategy for sales.

[For the full show notes from this interview click here]

So, let’s consider Kristi’s insight in terms of our hitchhiking metaphor.

You have the business owner/driver with flowers in her hair and you have the hitchhiker/talented, idealistic, creative self-starter wandering the road somewhere between the ill-fitting place he just walked away from and the company that shares his interests, passions and vision.

They both know what they want, and they both get something from the deal (in this case some companionship and conversation for one and a ride for the other). But none of whatever could happen next would be possible without both of them giving off the vibe that they could have aligned perspectives.

The driver and the hitchhiker were both going the same way. Finding and getting to know each other was all that needed to happen.

And to be clear, this metaphor could just as easily have highlighted an MBA in pinstripes looking for her limo. The point is that, on the road that is social media, in order to find each other, like-minds need to recognize each other in a realm where nobody is recognizing anyone if everyone has gone safe and cookie-cutter instead of owning and showing who they really are.

Being open, transparent and honest with regard to your identity isn’t just the right way to connect with promising prospects. It’s also the right way to connect with spectacular talent who sees the world the same way as you and shares passion for the things your business cares about.

Social Media Recruitment Strategy

  1. Use your employer brand to advertise in social media.
  2. Demonstrate your value to potential candidates, like you would a product or service.
  3. Show how your business is unique.
  4. Be honest.
  5. Keep it personal.

By showing who you are, you lay the foundation for a relationship that starts from common interests on common ground. And unlike the employment arrangements of old, this is the beginning of a bilateral transaction that brings about the kind of mutual communication and respect that in turn fosters satisfaction and loyalty.

Out on the social media landscape of opportunity, talent willing to stick their thumbs out have a lot in common with talent-seekers willing to stick their necks out: they are risk-takers both; and where risk-takers with aligned values and passions come together, success is always the destination!

So hit the road in a paint job that screams who you are; and don’t hesitate – if the mood strikes you – to wear the flowers in your hair!

For more tips on how to connect with the best candidates that fit your culture, download the Social media Candidate Enrollment Formula.