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Social Media and Recruitment at Walmart Asia (2): The Purple Pony

F.Y. Teng | April 5, 2012
Walmart Asia's top headhunter Simon Heaton talks social media platforms and how far they go in helping his team of executive recruiters this side of the world.

The industry that supports organisations recruiting and finding people is changing and adapting to reflect the online world that we're now increasingly spending our time in. I think the last time I did a print advertisement in a newspaper was probably in 2002.

Where do you see your relationship with LinkedIn going in the next 12-18 months?

I hope to have a long relationship with technologies and companies that enable us to connect with people that want to come and work with Walmart. So I'll say the same with LinkedIn as with other social media: I hope to be able to continue to leverage ways that help us make connections with candidates and people who are interested in Walmart.

With LinkedIn, I hope it continues to be a professional networking site. I spend as much time using LinkedIn to network through and talk to likeminded professionals, as I do actually recruiting, and I think LinkedIn is a great source for talking to experts in whatever industry you're in, whether it be retail or human resources or finance. There're discussion groups and meeting places for people to get together and share ideas and stories and challenges and problems.

I think LinkedIn is a lot more than a job site. It's a professional networking area that helps connect likeminded people. Twitter has a different approach in terms of those short byte stories, things that are going on that're affecting people. It allows you to sometimes follow professionals or other groups of people that you're interested in. I think such things will continue to flourish and grow.

So social media does help you find the right people with the right kinds of job fit.

It certainly helps us find people to talk to. And then our processes and assessment methodologies help to take care of the rest of the recruitment and hiring process.

I don't think social media can help me qualify whether someone's a good cultural fit for Walmart or whether there're capabilities that enable them to do a great job for Walmart. We still need to rely on interviews and assessments and testing and different things that we do once we've started conversations with people. I don't think that will change. I'd love it if it could. I'd love it if there's something that could tell you whether people are going to be successful, but I think that probably gets into a whole new world of technology and could be quite scary.

Would you be able to quantify the kind of value that this LinkedIn relationship has brought to you and your team for Walmart Asia?

I cannot disclose how much we spend with them or the kind of cost savings that we see by using them. But I can tell you with certainty that we see a significant return on investment by using tools like LinkedIn and we see them from a way of being able to move processes faster, which obviously has a business impact and from a cost of doing business perspective. By spending money with organisations that enable us to connect with candidates effectively, we're not spending other money in other less effective ways and areas.


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