Why Your Social Recruiting Efforts Suck

Kris Dunn Bad HR, Candidate Pool, Kris Dunn, Recruiting, Social Networking, Social Recruiting, Sourcing

Note from FOT: The best social recruiting efforts give gifts of time, knowledge, community and transparency into the organization you recruit for. Need a story to have it all make sense? Fine. Gather round the campfire kids, ’cause KD is about to hit the refresh button in your FOT browser—get ready for some science in the blast-from-the-past post below. 

Cliff notes first: Because all you do is post links to jobs, sucker.

Longer Version :

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

-S kin thicker than that of a donkey, for the lashings you’ll receive in the comments section

What You Get in Return:

– Membership to 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 – Okay, 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 recruited 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.