Friday 19 June 2009

Social Recruiting


     I enjoyed participating virtually in the Social Recruiting summit at Google HQ earlier this week.  There were some really good presentations, especially from Laurie Ruettimann of the Punk Rock HR blog, who I met face-to-face at Kennedy’s Recruitment conference last year.

Some other presentations missed the point a little though I thought.  For example, although it was hard for Linkedin’s founder to say anything anything other than what he did say of course, I think social recruiting needs to be defined much more broadly than just using Linkedin like a glorified job board – to me, there isn’t actually much that is that social about doing this.

So – I thoughts there could have been some more useful presentations.  I also thought it unfortunate that one of my favourite bloggers, Kris Dunn of the HR Capitalist / Fistful of Talent couldn’t attend, as I think he would have been able to raise the quality of the insights that were offered.

Oh – and it would have been really nice to get a virtual tour of the Googleplex as well, but I understand why this wasn’t possible.

But my main criticism was that there didn’t seem to be that much in what was presented that referred to what I would suggest are truly social approaches – for example, about setting up company owned communities to really establish deep and meaningful relationships with highly talented individuals as potential recruits (despite there having previously been a very good post about managing social communities for recruitment on the summit blog – although this may just have been something to do with the sessions which were broadcast).

And I thought there was a rather unnecessary focus on technology too.  For me, social recruiting isn’t just about the use of social media.  It’s about an approach that uses peoples’ social relationships between each other and with people in a firm as the basis for their recruitment activities.  And this can be done in the real world as well as the virtual one, ie by ‘analogue’ as well as digital means.

I’ve made the same point about HR 2.0 recently.

I think this other, analogue, side has been described well in the HBR article I wrote about in my last post, in connection with the need to ‘develop the pool’:

“The most effective strategy for sourcing is to think not only about candidates themselves but also about people who may know the best ones.  Rather than waste your time calling too many irrelevant prospects, talk to individuals who are likely to suggest several high-quality candidates right off the bat.  The best leads will come from suppliers, customers, board members, professional service providers, and the like.

Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer puts out an ‘all points bulletin’ whenever he’s looking for senior talent – reaching out to recruiting firms, consultants he has used, industry associates, and board members.  This strategy helps him identify great candidates and also find further contacts who can connect him with new prospects.  As effective as this approach is, we’ve found few CEOs and senior executives who get as systematically and personally involved as Sharer does in the generation of candidates.”


I think it is this type of behaviour, whether done personally, or via technology, that is the real basis for a more social approach to recruiting the people we still need.




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  1. Jon, I'm not surprised by your comments. Our industry want's to focus on tools and not strategies and that's why they kept talking about technology. You make a great point as communication not technology is what will build your pool.


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