By Jose Villa
President, Sensis

An encouraging sign that could indicate the economy is on the mend is increased interest from diverse organizations (Fortune 1000, government, non-profit, etc.) in recruitment advertising and outreach.

One area of significant interest is diversity recruitment. More organizations in a variety of sectors are beginning to examine ways their staffs can represent the changing face of America. Looking at diversity recruitment, heavy emphasis is being placed on reaching qualified Hispanic talent. A number of organizations have mentioned to me Hispanic recruitment is a strategic priority for the next one to five years — particularly companies seeking specialized talent and skill sets, such as recruiting Hispanic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals.

I don’t think I will offend anyone by stating Hispanic recruitment has been a fairly formulaic business for decades. In most cases, organizations have managed Hispanic recruiting with three tactics:

1. Attendance at Hispanic career fairs / conferences, such as the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Annual Conference, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference, etc.

2. Participation and sponsorship of Hispanic professional and trade organizations, such as the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), etc.

3. Placing job postings on Hispanic-focused job boards such as LatPro.com or iHispano.com.

In many cases, these tactics are bundled by one organization — for example, companies recruiting Hispanic MBAs often turn to NSHBMA for sponsorship packages which include a booth at its annual conference job fair and the ability to post positions on the NSHMBA job boards.

While the aforementioned tactics remain valid ways to recruit Hispanics, the rapid adoption of digital media — particularly heavy Hispanic social media usage — represents a seismic shift in how companies (and many of the organizations listed above) should approach Hispanic recruitment.

A review of two of the largest social networks in the U.S. — Facebook and LinkedIn — should provide a sense of how social media is changing Hispanic recruitment. Starting with Facebook:

As of June 2010, Facebook reports it reaches 1.4 million Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics.

A quick search of Facebook shows there are:

More than 1,000 pages with the word “Hispanic” or “Latino” in their name.

More than 1,000 groups with the word “Hispanic” or “Latino” in their name.

Facebook ads provide organizations the ability to launch cost-per-click ad campaigns micro-targeted to users based on such metrics as languages spoken, age, likes and interests (e.g., you can reach 60,000 people ages 30-64 who speak Spanish and have a college degree).

Jumping over to the professional social network LinkedIn reveals equally compelling opportunities:

Searching people with the word “Hispanic” (in their profiles) returns 46,000+ professionals who can be filtered by location, industry, groups, company, seniority level, function and company size.

There are currently 507 groups on LinkedIn with the word “Hispanic” in their names (the largest has 3,602 members).

There are currently 417 groups on LinkedIn with the word “Latino” in their name (the largest has 2,191 members).

Looking at nationality-specific groups, there are as many as 150 Mexican groups, down to two groups for Costa Ricans.

Linkedin’s Direct Ads platform allows advertisers to target users based on criteria such as age, gender, geography (e.g., a company can easily create ads targeting experienced high-tech professionals ages 35+ in high-density Hispanic markets)

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Twitter, custom social networks (on Ning, etc.), and a variety of other social media platforms present equally compelling opportunities to reach even the most targeted Hispanic groups.

There is obviously more to effective Hispanic recruitment than hyper-targeted media channels or leveraging existing online communities. As with any type of advertising program, research is necessary to identify key insights from which to build Hispanic recruitment messaging and creative. In addition, most organizations already have access to the most important asset in developing effective Hispanic recruitment advertising — Hispanic employees. These assets, as well as leveraging key Hispanic insights, should drive the creation of content and creative that will drive awareness.

However, social platforms like the ones previously identified represent an opportunity to drive engagement through paid and earned media activity. This is critical to effectively activating Hispanic talent and getting the most out of the offline partnerships with organizations and event activations that drive highly successful Hispanic recruitment programs.

Story courtesy: MediaPost – Engage:Hispanics