What the social recruiting gurus aren’t telling you

what social media gurus arent telling you

Do you remember back when job boards first came onto the scene? If you were in recruiting back then, I bet you can recall how people said this would be the end of recruitment agencies. Why would any company hire via a third party when they could choose instead to go direct?

Of course we all know how that story unfolded. After a while, corporate recruiters came to appreciate the value that recruitment agencies brought to the table – and that job boards were just one part of the answer.

Let me make a prediction for you. A few years from now we’ll instead be writing that “after a while, corporate recruiters came to appreciate the value that job boards brought to the table – and that social recruiting was just one part of the answer.”

Let’s look at 4 reasons why social recruiting is only one part of the answer…

4 key things the social recruiting gurus aren’t telling you

In my role helping recruiters to leverage social media, I’m consistently seeing 4 issues that the proponents of social recruiting are covering up, or at the very least failing to declare. In no particular order, here they are…

1. All channels become saturated and reach the point of diminishing returns

Anyone reading this that’s been in recruiting for some time will remember a trend in the years after job boards came to the fore. Response rates fell off as job boards became more and more successful at selling their services, right?

That of course stands to reason. If you have more and more recruiters chasing a limited pool of candidates, each is going to attract fewer applicants to their roles over time (or find more and more candidates lining up competing offers over time). In short, the return from time and money invested in job boards diminished as their services became more and more broadly used.

Now let’s translate that logic to LinkedIn, or indeed any of the other social recruiting platforms we’re seeing emerging right now. Whilst efforts will be made to grow the user-base and improve member responsiveness, the reality is no different. Once you have far more recruiters using the service, the returns that each gets for the investment of their time and money drops off significantly.

So be wary of anyone recommending that you put all your eggs in one basket, be those social sites, job boards, referral schemes or anything else. Particularly if those recommendations involve you signing up to year-long deals where you then find yourself tied in to a service that’s generating ever poorer returns.

2. Recruiting via social media isn’t free!

I wrote at some length stressing that social recruiting isn’t free on a previous guest post. It’s a point that’s worth repeating – and one that I rarely hear done justice by anyone with an interest in selling the benefits of social approaches.

For the avoidance of doubt, let me put things on the record here. It takes a significant investment of time to become fully proficient at sourcing candidates via social channels. It takes longer still to build up a recruiting presence on social media that will actually start to produce tangible volumes of hires through the attraction of talent to your brand.

So whilst the lure of recruiting on social media is that so much can be achieved “without any budget”, be wary of the actual resource you’re committing when you set out to exploit any of these free resources to the full. You may well find that the ultimate resourcing cost exceeds what you have historically spent on hitherto very successful approaches to recruitment. By all means call us if you need to quantify what the real cost of social recruiting is likely to be for your business.

3. There’s significant expertise required to do it well

Social media seems so simple doesn’t it?!  In one sense it is – on most social sites it’s pretty intuitive how to create an account and get started. But that’s why newbies come unstuck. The sheer scale of what you don’t know is staggering!

If I’m hiring someone to be effective on Twitter, I’ll want to spend several days coaching them on what works and what doesn’t work, and then I’ll want to catch up at least every month to update them on what’s changed and how our strategy needs to evolve…

4. The goal posts are constantly moving!

… which neatly brings me onto the point that social media strategies are constantly evolving. Not a month goes by without one of the major social sites making a significant change to their offering.

Withdrawal of services, changes to profile design, restrictions on their API, new algorithms to determine what does and doesn’t appear in users’ streams. I could go on and on. The fundamental point though is the goal posts are constantly moving. Your social recruiting team could be purring on social media this month, and wailing in anguish in a matter of weeks!

None of which is intended to deter you from exploring what a social recruiting angle could bring to your company. Nor does it mean that social shouldn’t be an important element of your candidate attraction strategy. But it is important to embark on this fully alert to the realities of recruiting via social media. I hope this is helpful food for thought.


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