Webinar presenter Dr. Anne Li Kringen answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Using Social Media for Recruiting. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Is having a separate recruiting social media account beneficial, or does it just make it more confusing?
Dr. Anne Li Kringen: You know, so, I would say, obviously, you want to sort of have a sort of departmental overall departmental message. And, so, you want to think about, what is your public information officer, if you have one, able to sort of help you navigate. But I think having it nested purely in recruiting, the advantage is, especially if you’re in charge of recruiting, and you can sort of have a say in what’s being done or said, is that you can then market the message, right? Is that you can have certain types of images, and applicants don’t feel like, hey, I’m writing to a larger audience about my questions, are the things that I’m naturally interested in. So, I think that there are some strong advantages. I think the disadvantage is that then you’re in charge of the personnel who can keep up with social media, right. So, I’ll give a quick anecdote. I think I’m on Twitter, I’m terrible at keeping up with tweets, right? The amount of time it is, to sort of follow all of this is more than I ever care to deal. And so, you then have to nest the personnel who will manage social media so that it doesn’t become a dormant social media account, that you know, applicants then aren’t getting responses in a timely fashion or aren’t getting new types of information or imagery.
Audience Question: What is the best way to handle negative comments about the agency or law enforcement in general, when they are posted in recruiting messages?
Dr. Anne Li Kringen: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting, because while I was prepping for this webinar, I’m thinking a lot about that, and so I was going through everyone, a lot of departments, various Twitter, and feeds to kind of see how people navigate it. And I think, smaller departments, what I noticed is that they are sort of more direct on saying, like, “Hey, if you have a concern, please send it here” right? And so, it was almost canned in that sense, but polite and, like, “Hey, I really appreciate you reaching out about this,” right? I know that may not be appropriate for all the comments that are occurring coming in, especially currently, but if you can, I think a response is good. I also know, given the number of comments that may not work, right? So, I see often with some of the larger agencies that, I’ve been following that they don’t necessarily navigate them on an individual basis. So, they might navigate and some of them, but not all of them. I think that you’ll just have to kind of come up with a policy and then stick to it. If you’re going to do individual responses. If they’re ones that you can facilitate of saying, Hey, you know, feel free to, I’m sorry you have that experience. feel free to contact someone about it. You know, as you know, that probably will not happen, but you know, that way, you seem proactive in your response.
Audience Question: Are any agencies tracking the level of engagement throughout the recruiting process? So, for example, comparing people who apply based on a post versus those who actually interact with someone through chat or direct messages?
Dr. Anne Li Kringen: So, you ask a great, great question. I would love to say yes. But actually, that list, so, for example, the survey that was conducted was actually only initially conducted at the cadet level. And then I was working on a project with this particular department, and I saw that they were doing the survey. And it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a department survey their cadets. Especially a Major Metro Survey that cadets on how they even heard about it, right? And so, the tracking just isn’t there, right? And we know this from, you know, department agencies, they don’t have the personnel. They may not have sort of the wherewithal to understand how to, what to track or how to track it. And so, there are no studies currently that demonstrate that. And so, like I said, unfortunately, the best that I got out for you is, is a survey where cadets have retrospectively, reflected on what they’ve utilized.
Audience Question: Got it. So, we actually have a person asking just that question. Nicholas says, “He has surveyed over the last couple of years. And he’s happy to send you that if needed.” I’m guessing you would be happy to get that information Nicholas to send to and that the e-mail in front of you.
Dr. Anne Li Kringen: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s part of it is, is that. I used to be in law enforcement and that’s how I felt, like I had a real job. And academia, I love. But it’s so removed from what you all are doing, and the amazing work. And the really cool part for me is being able to actually do the analysis and to say and to give law enforcement agencies like this is what you should consider, right? I don’t have the golden answers. But you have some data. And here’s what your data supports at this point in time. Here’s how you might utilize it to make a decision. So, more than half. And then even better yet, how do you disseminate it through things like police chief or other types of avenues. You know, I wrote earlier an article about, evidence-based articles related to recruiting and hiring, because a lot of it isn’t evidence based, right. And I read that for police chief. But getting some of these things, you know, writing something up, you know, on, on this, so that other agencies can be informed would be really helpful. So, I’d be happy to.
Audience Question: Do hashtags make a difference?
Anne Li Kringen: You know, I think so, and like I said, me, being a person who studies social media, and he uses a very rarely, I think it does. Because it allows people to it, A; either identify with a certain group, or theme, or idea, right? So, they can then search it. So even if you came up with the hashtag that everyone’s utilizing within the agency, or the recruiting department, and that you’re then later posting to Instagram, people could then search for that particular hashtag. Also, that being said, you can also give it to other individuals who may be working that PD who could hashtag, but are posting underneath your recruiting page. So, you actually could probably generate more content by utilizing a hashtag, as well.
Audience Question: Are entry level into our agency is through the jail, and we struggled when hiring someone we know, that they’re going to end up leaving, versus someone who may not be as good, but might end up staying longer. Do you have any suggestions regarding recruiting for corrections?
Dr. Anne Li Kringen: Oh, that’s a really, That’s a really tough one, in the sense that, you know, one of the agencies I worked with was a sheriff’s department. It was the same. It was the same thing where they had a stance that you did, and in jail before leaving out for Patrol, and they also had very different gender differences, and who stayed and left. I think it’s just a challenge, because you also have to deal with what is sort of your bias as to, who may leave or who may stay. And so, a lot of times that, you know, I remember this in policing, you would sort of have this sort of bet on whether people would stay or go based on certain factors, or things that they sad, or they did, and you wouldn’t necessarily, but you don’t really know how their career is going to turn out for them. So, I always sort of say, I think the best thing is, give them all of the potential opulent options and sell it to them, as, these are these really great aspect highlight the things about being in a jail, right. That are potentially better than if you’re out on patrol, due to things like being in one place, schedule, etcetera, etcetera. And be able to turn those into sort of positives, so that individuals who want those types of positive aspects are more likely to apply and then stay. And so, you know, I think that’s, I think that’s the best thing, you know, potentially to do.
Audience Question: Should we consider using new platforms like Snapchat and others, Tiktok, you know. And how does an agency go about making that decision of whether or not they should dedicate resources to constantly emerging platforms?
Dr. Anne Li Kringen: That’s a good question. We recently had a discussion about Tiktok. I don’t do Tiktok, I know only what I read about Tiktok, I think the challenge like is related to what can you say about an agency within that short period of time? And if you can’t generate the appropriate content for what image you want to portray about the job against the organization within that medium, don’t waste your time, right? And so I think that’s the one thing with Tiktok that I’d be sort of, you know, skeptical about, is like, is there anything that you can generate in that medium that would make someone say, oh, yeah, I really want to do that particular job, right? And would that be different than a short video that, you know, that’s on Instagram, right? And, you know, as you just sort of mentioned, you have to put the personnel and resources into it. And so, it might be that you choose to do a pilot, you know, for a period of time and say, we’re going to do a cutoff. If this is not going anywhere and kill their account before, you know, before generating your, or before putting too much into those resources.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Using Social Media for Recruiting.