Obama, The True Recruiting Maverick

William Tincup HR Technology, Recruiting, William Uranga

Mavericks What has been a long “conversation with the American people is finally, mercifully over.  Policies will continue to be debated and budgets (earmarks and all) will be haggled over.  However, the big winner for Election 2008 was the recruiting game plan.  Voters responded to the one who best courted them consistently and continuously.  The scoreboards of the Electoral College (349 to 162) and popular vote (52% – 46%) clearly show this.  Obama was a recruiting maverick.  Let’s take one of the pages out of his play book group this week for a closer look: Don’t “use” social media, embrace it. 

Most recruiters view social media as a tool, much like a job board, business networking, contact management systems and applicant tracking systems.  This is probably because we miss what social media is truly about.  Let’s review basics and dynamics of social media:

–Definition – Wikipedia has a clinical description here. Isabel Hilborn has a great definition too.  My definition: Social media is the sharing, collaborating and publishing of content on the Internet. 

–Composition – It’s diverse , big  (caution, some profanity) and growing.  Pick what suits your style and where you want to cultivate your audience: blogging, microblogging, pictures, video, niche networks, social networks, etc.    

–Redefines “brand– Because everyone is a brand manager.  You have an impact on your personal brand, your professional brand, and your corporate brand.  Are you helping or hurting them?   

–It is about people, not technology – Sure, it involves the Web, but that isn’t the focus.  Think of it as more social science where: a) authenticity must be shown, not told and b) the conversation can be influenced not controlled.



How you can embrace it?

–Listen – To the conversations that are going on in social media.  Quit trying to first get your message across.  Learn something about them first.  Also, be sure to study other social media practitioners that are not even in recruiting or your industry.  Give me a shout if you need some initial suggestions. 

–Determine your voice.  Who are you speaking for?  Yourself, personally?  Representing your profession or corporation?

–Engage – Ask questions.  Contacts, like candidates, want to talk about themselves, their experiences and views.     

–Give value – Maybe it’s a cause for them to join, make them feel better about themselves (sincerely done), or something that is remarkable.  As Seth Godin says, “No one talks about you because you want them too”.  They have to want to on their own accord.  What can you give that is worthy of them bringing your name into their conversation?  Your title or the name of your organization on its own is insufficient.  

–Cultivate – If your organization doesn’t use social media, help them set up one (before Legal does), build resources for and coach others in your company to be better involved in social media, remember they are brand managers, too.

When it came to recruiting the American electorate, John McCain wasn’t the maverick.  Obama proved himself to be by embracing social media as shown here.  Quit trying to “use” social media and end up being the laughing stock that Josh LeTourneau so aptly describes.  If you embrace social media, then you too will be a recruiting maverick.  8~)

Photo by Pixarman