Stop the Social Recruiting BS #CarnivalofHR

This post has been written for Trish McFarlane at HRRingleader, the brains and the beauty behind #HREvolution, the unconference I attended in Chicago earlier this year. Trish recently put a shout out for #CarnivalofHR posts on social recruiting, following on from #HREvolution, to share case studies and active best practice.

On my part, I’m no longer actively recruiting or working in H.R. I’m working as a consultant to a couple of recruitment companies and job boards on introducing social to their operating strategy. Whilst in Chicago I picked up quite a few learning points, but one in particular has really made the cost of the flight and hotel really worthwhile.

The real lightbulb moment was when Laurie Ruettimann of PunkRock HR fame  and Lance Haun of Rehaul and ERE, stated that the best way to introduce social recruiting in to strategy was to stop talking about channels like Twitter or Youtube, to not mention tools or applications, and to just talk recruiting.

How you attract talent, engage with them or ultimately hire them is irrelevant to the presentation, it’s the outcome that is of real interest.

Thinking more on this, when I consult on sales strategy for recruiters, I don’t talk about what telephone provider I’m going to use, the laptop I use to present or the content of the presentation. I talk about targets, conversion rates and market share. To talk about the tools I’m going to use and how I’m going to use them is too much detail and quite dull. Why then, when I’m talking recruiting do I feel the need to talk twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,tweets, engagement etc etc. It makes no sense.

Since coming to this conclusion I’ve stopped talking about social media because that creates more negative impressions than positive ones. I don’t talk tools or channels and concentrate on outcomes. I can give the detail if it’s needed but mostly it’s not. The result of this is a much more positive response with more uptake. My conversations are based on recruiting and marketing and there has been much more take up and less negativity.

If you want to integrate social in to your recruiting strategy, stop talking about what comes across to others not involved in social as Social Recruiting BS. Talk recruiting and outcomes not social media or social recruiting. You might be surprised by the reaction.

Be an ambassador for great recruiting! Thanks for the evolution.


15 comments on “Stop the Social Recruiting BS #CarnivalofHR

  1. Hey Bill

    I don’t disagree with you at all – although I have to laugh at the “Possibly related posts” that have presented themselves to me at the bottom of this post – one of them being “The 4 most important tools in Social Recruiting”……

  2. Great points Bill its not the technology its the outcome and the results and the wisdom to bring all together

  3. For early adopters there isn’t much novelty left and it is now normal, like the computer and and mobile phone. But it is still “new” for many recruiters every day so we shouldn’t be judgmental and we should be patient.

    When it comes down to brass tacks just keep your eye on the target. James Bond’s tools are here to make it easier, more interesting and more efficient, just like your phone.

  4. Hi Bill, I like the thinking – and see the point – but not sure I wholly agree with the angle – or maybe I am misinterpreting?
    Sure, the end goal is the end goal – it’s what we are all aiming for – satisfied clients and candidates – recruitment fulfilled.
    But if the strategy intention is to incorporate social media, and lets be frank – for not many recruitment agencies is this true – then surely the means to the end needs executing effectively. Therefore – at the right time – we must talk about the platforms, and learn how to use them wisely to get to that end goal.

    I guess it depends on needs of the recruiter. I’ve been in recruitment management for 15 years, but social media for 8 months. I need to learn social media results strategy more than I need recruitment results strategy.

    Maybe also the problem is that not enough social media chat relates to actual live results.

    I understand the post, but I think the point is that social media isn’t some kind of revolution – it’s merely another business tool that can be used to enhance our recruitment communications, and used effectively can only be a benefit towards achieving recruitment objectives in the 21st century rather than a distraction to our core goals.

  5. Bill

    I have to take you to task for some selective switching on and off of the lightbulb!

    You say you ‘don’t talk tools and channels’ and ‘talk recruiting and outcomes not social media or social recruiting’…yet barely a week ago you published an article through HR Zone entitled ‘An Introduction To Social Recruitment’ in which you talked about the tools and channels!

    The problem with the BS around Social Recruiting isn’t necessarily the terminology…it’s often the inconsistencies delivered by both the message and the deliverer.

  6. I think there are always appropriate times to talk about social recruiting tools. Using those tools are skills that are worth developing assuming it makes sense in the wider scheme of things.

    What I am often discouraged by is this idea that if you’re not using social tools in recruiting, you’re a neanderthal. I know recruiters who make six figures without touching the internet and smaller firms that don’t use it in any sophisticated way that made it comfortably through 2009.

    What that speaks to is:
    1. Millions of people aren’t using social networks.
    2. Millions more aren’t using them as well as they could.
    3. Yet lots of people are still employed, have businesses and make a good living.

    If it makes sense for you to investigate social media, than by all means do it. But it has to make sense on the strategic level, not just because you are enamored with a tool.

  7. Nick,
    That is quite funny, your right. (Should have thought about the “most important tools” coming up in the related search. For the record, the tools I talk about in this post are: 1: The Phone 2: The Job Spec 3: The Interview 4: The Recruiter. Nothing technical there, but thanks for the comment.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. It has helped at the “adoption” stage.

    I talk plenty of “how to” once we get past the adoption stage. I’m not judging anyone on their take up, i’ve just found that talking about the technology rather than the outcomes confuses the issue and can frighten some people off. I have found that i’m getting better results holding back on the twitter and facebook talk until we have agreed the outcomes, as there is still much aversion to the technology and channels. This wasn’t original thinking, it came from Lance and Laurie during the closing presentation.

    Having re-read the post I can see that I need to clarify this. In the post i’m talking about recruiters that are looking for solutions rather than talking specifically about social recruiting. Once the objectives are established, there is plenty of “how to” talk.

    I was talking about recruiting conversations. There is still plenty of how to talk in posts, presentations, unconferences etc.
    Sorry if I gave you the flickering lightbulb impression. It seems to be working in the meetings.


  8. Here, here! This is a bold post and one I love. There will always be new tools and trends, but recruiting is still about basic actions (reaching people, engaging candidates etc…).

    I believe social media tools are extremely useful and make the basic actions mentioned about easier/quicker, but they are not the magic bullet. The common denominator is and always will be the recruiter!

  9. I might write a blog post called “When will everyone stop the social recruiting link baiting blog titles”.

    Current vogue to get traffic seems to be a title made up of “Social Recruiting ” traffic and comments guaranteed to follow!

    I’m off to write one of my own now (no really I am)

    Matt 😉

  10. Whoops lets try again (long day)

    I might write a blog post called “When will everyone stop the social recruiting link baiting blog titles”.

    Current vogue to get traffic seems to be a title made up of “Social Recruiting…(insert sensationalist negative comment here) ” traffic and comments guaranteed to follow!

    I’m off to write one of my own now (no really I am)

    Matt 😉

  11. […] Bill Boorman’s Stop the Social Recruiting BS. […]

  12. Oooh – could this be your very own Ratner moment Bill?

    Earning a living peddling something that you have for months been praising, only to tell us it’s BS!!

    Oh dear or dear!

  13. Bill

    You are either suffering from a lack of oxygen (suggest Diamox) or low blood sugar levels (try a jelly baby).

    Love the post, say it as you do not quite getting the point across as you hoped. I get what you mean. Results matter and you’ll use what you think best (I think).

    Keep on keeping on Bill.

    All the best


  14. I can’t vouch for the veracity of these stats, but here goes. Apparently there are around 132,000 Twitter users in the UK, with only 13,000 making 4 or more tweets per day.

    This tells me that there are indeed a huge number of early adopters, who are probably up to here (raises hand to forehead level) with blogs from self appointed experts with detailed instruction on how to “do social media” using the channels T, Li, FB and YT. We early adopters may still be learning all the time, but don’t require the elementary education that the vast majority of new SM citizens do.

    The range of experience and knowledge is huge, and its absolutely fine to address newbies in a more holistic way, if it helps explain the purposes SM can be put to.

  15. […] and recruiting technology are failing and why? Which are working and why? – How do leaders go from “light bulb” to best practice to making the business case for cloud-based technology? – Who are the primary implementers and […]

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