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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.

By recruiting people via social media, is one of your requirments is that they must be social media savvy?

I wouldn't say so. Again, that savviness isn't coming through. What we're trying to do is getting people to come and talk to us. The required social media savviness depends on the role we're looking to fill.

We have a team who operate social media for us. We now have more than 11 million fans now on Facebook-so that team are incredibly social media savvy.

As for some of my colleagues, I've actually written their LinkedIn profiles for them and helped get them started and set up. They rarely look at LinkedIn but it helps me share and showcase the backgrounds of individuals who work for us. It works in a number of different ways.

We've got lots of people who know how to use social media, so that savviness isn't a prerequisite for a job at Walmart. It depends on the job that we're hiring for.

So what would your advice be for potential job seekers?

There's a thing that's being talked about a lot at the moment: personal branding. I think people, if they're interested in being found, they need to think about their social brand. We sometimes look for that kind branding. It's one of the ways, an exclusive way, that we look for people. It has been increasingly helping us find 'passive' people. I think the more you put yourself out there-if you're interested in being put out there, that is-the more likely you are to get found.

Can you comment on how effective other channels like Facebook and Twitter have been to your efforts?

We use Twitter and Facebook for different things. We tend to use Facebook more to talk about Walmart and what we've got going on. We even have individual Facebook pages to represent the individual stores that we have, particularly in the US. We're doing a lot of work with Facebook in the US around having dialogue with our customers.

With Twitter, it tends to be a very fast way of being able to talk about different things that are going on at Walmart, whether it be our corporate social responsibility and sustainability messages. Sometimes, through that we end up getting conversations going about employment.

Often on Facebook we'll talk about a new store opening up and our hiring centre getting going and we get dialogue going through Facebook for that.

Generally, but not all the time, we'll see more store level activity going on through Facebook. For comparison, consider LinkedIn as being for more senior level interaction. What we do tends to be based on the profile of individuals who use Facebook versus the profile who use LinkedIn.


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