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What Has Become of Social Recruiting?

By January 28, 20168 Comments

I’m sensing a groundswell of existential angst out there in the blogosphere.  My favourite blog, and one that very much inspired the style and approach of my own early forays into blogging almost 6 years ago, is Arseblog.  It may sound like a cross between a suppository and a sex toy but it is in fact a blog for Arsenal fans.  Honest.  Anyway, this week he has been bemoaning the surge in news outlets publishing the tweets of fans from the lunatic fringe as opinion of a club’s entire fanbase.

His exasperation with social media is something surfacing more and more in our own recruitment circles too.  In-house recruiter Rachel Kemp has admitted to tuning out of LinkedIn, while HR dude Richard Westney has questioned the impact and cut-through of blogging now social media is seemingly reaching saturation point.  He also cites Bill Boorman’s assessment of Twitter’s demise now that it has become “robots talking to robots”.  Twitter’s share price dropping below IPO levels and recent exodus of top brass would suggest all is not well in that particular corner of silicon valley.

But really, who cares?  Unless you’re trying to make a living solely from consulting with recruitment and HR about how to use social media to recruit, then nobody in recruitment should really lose too much sleep over this.  What it’s important to remember is that the skills that made you a good recruiter before all this “social recruiting” hullabaloo, are the same skills that will enable you utilise social media to recruit.

The moment you realise that social media is simply a digitised version of real life, and you learn to replicate your real life voice with your behaviour on social channels, is the moment you have mastered “social recruiting”.  All you need to be is authentic, because all you really need from a social media channel is to connect and start a conversation.  Once you’ve achieved that, then the natural skills of engagement, influence, charm, or whatever else mix of character traits you possess that make you good at recruiting, will naturally come to the fore.

Sure, if current day LinkedIn was real life it would a painfully boring businessperson trying desperately to be cool and interesting by telling other people’s jokes, and failing dismally.  If Facebook was real life it would be a coffee group meeting of women trying to outdo each other with pictures of their kids while the men skulked around the fringes making the odd interjection and wishing they could just go to the pub.  And Twitter, well if that was real life it would be a lunatic asylum full of gibbering wrecks and marketeers dementedly cutting out magazine articles for their bulging scrapbooks.

But any recruiter worth their salt would still innately understand how to connect, engage, and maximise an opportunity from those situations.  It’s just how we’re wired.  So yes, social media fatigue is creeping in, but don’t let it bother you. There will always be some kind of channel to display your skills within, even if the others fall by the wayside.  As Matt Charney wrote this week, the best recruiters have “learning agility” and he was bang on the money.  That’s really all that is required to keep ahead of the game and keep making the most of whatever channel you use, whether it be online or in real life.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Jess says:

    Good article Jon, I possibly am guilty ‘saturating’ the market with my own blog. However, strangely people are actually reading it? (it tells you who from which company and amount of views etc). I even have gained some amazing contacts and i guess its a personal branding thing. Like you do Jon, I try and put something out there just once per fortnight or week (not all the time).

    I like to think its helpful and I guess anyone can ‘unfollow me’ if they feel they wish to.

    Its hard when you are very passionate about recruitment, not to write a blog!!!

    I loved the comment about Linkedin being real life.
    To me if LinkedIn were real life – People would be sitting in cafes trying to work out how many squares they can count and thanking the barista with positive quotes like “treat your customers like you want to me treated” rah rah rah.

    Enough already!

  • Hamish says:

    Good article Jon. If Richard Branson scrolled through LinkedIn frequently, his reaction may be. Who are you and did I say that? The ghost of Steve Jobs would ask the same…..

    • True that Hamish, although there’s probably some PR firm monitoring all of Branson’s activity online and making sure his time isn’t wasted by looking at such inane content…

  • Matt says:

    Like it Jon. I compare this to the thinking last year in #nzrec world about reaching saturation point in discussions about how to source (how many more times can we sit through presentations on how to find developers?). Sourcing, of which social is a tool (as it is for branding), is a part of the jigsaw puzzle and has been the sexy part for a while – but I feel like the whole picture is coming back into focus now as everyone waits for the shiny new toys.

    One final thought – it social media died, would #nzrec just become The NZ Recruitment Community?

    • Thanks Matt, I think that if social died we would still exist in a world of soundbites and slogans regardless. So #NZrec it is for a while longer, but perhaps without the need for a hashtag!

  • Seth says:

    Oddly you are starting to make sense