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Social Media and Recruitment at Walmart Asia (1): Being Everyday Low Cost

F.Y. Teng | March 30, 2012
Simon Heaton, Head of Executive Recruiting at the retail giant talks about the eminent usefulness of social media channels for sourcing talent in markets new and unfamiliar.

Also, Walmart is an everyday low price organisation. To do that we have to be everyday low cost. So we are constantly looking for the lowest cost ways we can operate to help drive our business.

We have that approach within our human resources organisations too, which explains why we've turned to social media, things like LinkedIn and other tools, to help us identify potential candidates in the market place for recruitment. They help us keep costs down.

Tell us more about this solution that you've signed up with LinkedIn for.
I've been using LinkedIn as a solution to help with recruiting since LinkedIn started. Actually, I've been using Twitter and job boards and all other types of online media search as well. Our social media efforts are not all about LinkedIn, of course. But LinkedIn is especially good and has certainly helped us find a lot of people that wouldn't have been available through other avenues.

Typically, what we do when we get a search is we will take a look at the brief of the search, put together a list of target organisations that we want to recruit people from and the target skillsets we wanted, and then go on to some of the social media platforms to do some searches and find people to engage with.

What social media helps us to do is find people faster than we would if we were to go through more traditional means, such as using external recruitment companies or having to rely on people applying for roles.

We can be much more targeted too. If we want to hire someone from a specific organisation with a specific skillset and they happen to have a profile on LinkedIn, we can reach out to them, talk to them very quickly.

After that, of course, we've got to go through the same old process of having to assess their capabilities, desire and aspirations more closely, and see if they fit with Walmart.

In summary, LinkedIn and other tools help us find and qualify people faster to be able to bring them into our process, which is still relatively consistent with how we've always recruited-incorporating a series of interviews and assessments with different people at the organisation.

How would you illustrate this?-Using social media being more effective than the traditional ways of recruitment.
It helps a great deal for when you don't know anything about a marketplace, like when you're going into a new market-as we were with e-commerce in China, an area we had no prior experience in. LinkedIn and other social media help us immensely when we were putting together a team. They helped us to draw a map of key people and companies and titles and the job descriptions of people who are active in the market, so we could have a view into what a potential recruitment process may look like. With social media we could go in and take a look at some target organisations, and where people have got their profiles posted, and have a good look at them before we even start doing some recruitment.


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