Why Your Social Recruiting Efforts Suck

Failed yo

Cliff Notes – Because all you do is post links to jobs, sucker.

Longer Version – Because the best social recruiting efforts give gifts of time, knowledge, community and transparency into the orga

nization you recruit for. And there”s no automated social job posting solution known to man that can provide that. It takes you. You haven”t done it yet. That”s why your social recruiting sucks. Not because you suck. Your plan, commitment and execution sucks.

Need a story to have it all make sense? Fine – gather round the campfire kids, cause KD is about to drop some science.

The date is early January 2008. The HR Capitalist had gone pretty well, and I got approached by a conference/media company to put together a second blog focused on talent management issues. When I met them and figured out what they were looking for, I knew there was no way I was going to do the second blog all by myself and keep my day job. So I pitched them the following: I”ll own the blog and recruit a team of smart people from the industry to write on Talent Management issues. You sponsor it. Film at 11.

They said yes. There was just this one little problem: I didn”t know anybody who could write in the style I was looking for (big writing talent, big snark, pop culture junkie, in the talent game). So I did the only thing I could do: I wrote the following “help wanted” ad and put it out on the Capitalist:

HELP WANTED – (4 Positions Available)

“Progressive blogging organization is looking for witty and sometimes jaded professionals, in the Talent Management sector, to blog on a weekly basis, about their life as part of the machine. New blog, as yet unnamed, to be launched to provide perspective of people conducting recruiting, staffing and talent management activities in the field.


-A working position in recruiting, staffing or HR, focused on acquiring, aligning and maximizing talent in your company, or on behalf of clients.

-Writing skills, plus the actual willingness to write and blog on a weekly basis.

-Personality and the ability to merge other resources and pop culture in writing, all in an effort to make it digestible for the commoners (that”s me…)

-Ability to tell the world who you are while you are blogging – name, what you do, and where you do it.

-Skin thicker than that of a donkey, for the lashings you”ll receive in the comments section.

What You Get in Return:

-Membership in an exclusive, yet opinionated team that will undoubtedly make the dysfunction in your extended family look like an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”.

-The ability to blog and share your thoughts without having to start your own site.

-Exposure of your ideas and brand in the online property of a national periodical in the Talent Management space. If you”re a current blogger, you”ll also get enhanced exposure for your blog.

-A projected stipend per month that will fall somewhere between a night out at Denny”s and paying your cable bill.

-The warm feeling of giving back to your profession with the professional distance that only digital media can provide.

Sound like you? Interested in hearing more? To apply, please confirm your interest in the comments section or email the Capitalist at hrcapitalist@gmail.com.

The results from that social recruiting play using the Capitalist? 53 applicants, over 30 of which I had submit a writing sample and 6 or 7 that I brought aboard the original cast at FOT. See if any of these names sound familiar:

Jessica Lee– that”s right, the former editor of FOT responded to a social media help wanted ad. Now she”s a biggie at Marriott. Hard to do much better than that.

Jennifer McClure– the Cincy Recruiter was one of the responders, and was already an uber networker by the time we met. She jumped on the opportunity to carve out an online voice as part of FOT.

Kelly Dingee– The first and last voice I listen to when it comes to sourcing. Answered the call and gave FOT credibility when it came to sourcing.

Maren Hogan– OK, Maren didn”t actually answer the help wanted ad. I found her off a backlink to the Capitalist she put up at Big O Recruiting, which was the 1.0 Marennated. I actually cold called her and told her thanks for the link and asked her to be a part of FOT. Backlink to phone call – maybe an even cooler form of social recruiting.

Think about it – how”s that for a lineup that was recruited straight up off a blog? Others, like Paul Hebert, Steve Boese, Dawn Burke and the rest of the gang came through professional relationships and later introductions (Tim Sackett was on a work-release program), but these four? Straight up off the social platform. Once they got warmed up, all four have done other things – their own blogs, big twitter presences, etc. – but I was able to connect with them through the social media infrastructure.

As time goes by and we”ve attempted to recruit other writers, I”ve become more self-aware of how unusual some of that talent I originally connected actually is.

The point – I don”t think any of them would have been compelled to raise their hand had I not built trust up with the gift of professional content, conversation and snark. The same thing holds true for candidates. If the only time you want to have a conversation is when you have an open job, you and your company are commodities – you”re just like everyone else.

Instead, get a plan together to share something of value to candidates before you need them. Content, then distribution is the only way to get above-average results from social recruiting.

Links and distribution only through social? Sucker”s play. White noise.

Find something to say.

FOT Background Check

Kris Dunn
 Kris Dunn is Chief Human Resources Officer at Kinetix and a blogger at The HR Capitalist and the Founder and Executive Editor of Fistful of Talent. That makes him a career VP of HR, a blogger, a dad and a hoops junkie, the order of which changes based on his mood. Tweet him @kris_dunn. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard the good word, he's also jumped into the RPO game as part owner of a rising shop out of ATL, Kinetix. Not your mama's recruiting process outsourcing, that's for sure... check 'em out.


  1. Tim Sackett says:

    It’s tough on a work release program because everybody just assumes you’re a murderer or a pedophile, no one realizes that people actually do hard time for ripping off those mattress tags. I’m so appreciative of Kris for giving me a second chance, when no one else would. I also appreciate the fact he didn’t get a restraining order against me when I begged him repeatedly through email, phone calls and flower grams to let me write for FOT.

    My only wish is to one day reach the level of Jessica Lee, Kelly Dingee and the rest of the crew, where I don’t have to pay Kris per post for my contributions that get ran on FOT. I can only keep reaching for the dream…

    Thank You, KD!

  2. Tim Sackett says:

    P.S. – I read an FOT post today

  3. Ben Martinez says:

    How does the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act impact the P&L for FOT? Will you be doing layoffs to support this act? I hope not. No worries though. I’m sure the NLRB will protect a guy like Tim Sackett. I know a couple UAW leaders near Sackett. They can help him.

    All kidding aside. Keep it going FOT crew. Ever thought of breaking some immigration laws? Perhaps you can go find someone outside of our U.S. boarders to add to the FOT content. Just a thought…

  4. Josh Tolan says:

    This is a great post! You can’t just post your jobs and hope that magically the right people will find them. You need to know your market and understand the kind of candidate your company needs to thrive. This way you’ll recognize them when they’re sitting across from you, whether it’s an in-person meeting or on the other side of the webcam in a video interview.

  5. Albert Issa says:

    What if employers have a talent bench for each department which is curated and referred by current employees? This is a place where talents can learn about job scope, company and interact with current employees which keep them interested and update about company and postions. Then when there are vacancy, they already have a list of potential talents. This will save a lot of time for employers. I found a tool like that at http://www.accruto.com which worth trying out

  6. Please – say it ain’t so! The best example of social recruiting is finding a group of bloggers? Come on man – anyone can do that.

    Show us some social recruiting in the CNC Programmer world – or perhaps a talent community of motor design engineers. Now THAT would take some work.

    I love FOT. You guys are great. But seriously? THIS is your example of social recruiting? Nope. This does not count.

  7. KD says:

    Hi Jerry –

    Yeah, probably a bit rambling. Main point i wanted to make is that most recruiters simply post jobs, when building a community, followers, etc. by giving the gift of time to organize a tribe related to whatever specialty you are in is the key.

    Love to hear examples of that you’ve seen, either in the areas you mentioned or otherwise. Thanks for the comment and keep it coming…

    Thanks – KD

  8. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I
    think I would never understand. It seems too complex and
    extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!


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