Calling BS on Social Recruiting

Jason Blais is an industry veteran with deep experience in the job board and Recruitment Events business. His blog, which is one of the more substantive sources in the Recruitosphere, provides an ongoing stream of info and insight into Recruiting technology. Jason says,

I started this blog with the idea of sharing the volumes of qualitative data I was collecting. Data that didn’t fit nicely into any report. Data that when viewed as a whole, provided an amazing perspective for the issues facing both employers and job seekers with respect to the job hunting and recruiting paradigm. Over the past couple years, however, my focus has turned more toward developing new technologies and partnerships to provide employers and job seekers with better tools to be effective in their search for candidates and jobs respectively.

Jason does a good job of identifying and summarizing key issues in the space.

Calling BS on Social Recruiting

"...most efforts to deliver social recruiting really amount to spamming the social media sites with job postings."

Recently, he published a piece called Primer on Social Media for Recruiting. In the piece, which I’d consider a solid tutorial on the way things are, you’ll be able to gather the essence of Social Recruiting as currently practiced.

Jason segments the universe of social media possibilities into two general areas: push and pull. In the push segment, you promote job openings by shipping out information to social media sites. In the pull arena, you develop content that will attract the kinds of candidates you want.

The problem with Jason’s view (and most of the contemporary thinking about social recruiting) is that it grossly understates the cost, time and complexity involved in making things work. At the same time, it dramatically overstates the likelihood of success.

While social recruiting operates as Jason describes it, the problem is really different if you are a 10 person shop, a 500 person company or a 100,000 person enterprise. For a lucky few (say the top 1500 companies), the existing brand is good enough to drive employment branding activities. For the other 97% of us, employment branding is a challenging battle rife with opportunities to throw good money after bad.

The trick is that ‘defining your target audience’ isn’t so easy. There are no good templates and no proven methods for adequately identifying, sizing and attracting the people you want to reach. Whenever you hear someone tell you about the ‘viral power of the internets’, hold on to your wallet. For the vast majority of us, the internet is anything but viral.

If a large audience on the web was the flu, we’d be well immunized. If figuring out how to make something ‘go viral’ is the holy grail, most crusaders are returning from battle empty handed. It’s really, really hard to make something grow.

That’s why most efforts to deliver social recruiting really amount to spamming the social media sites with job posting. There is little evidence that social recruiting, as currently practiced, actually yields meaningful results. It’s simply not even cheaper to distribute jobs through social media. The job boards are vastly more cost effective.

So, take a look a Jason’s post and see if there’s a conversation to be started. Do you know anyone who is actually getting results with social recruiting? Are they doing anything more than spamming job postings? Is there anything particularly social about their approach?

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