Friday, 5 February 2010

Social recruiting and conferencing part 1 (RTU)



I was at a recruiting tweet-up (RTU) ie Twitter meet-up that was part of Social Media Week London last night and was delighted to meet lots of new people and some old friends including Mervyn Dinnen, Gareth Jones, Wendy Jacob and Bill Boorman (pictured) – plus Paul Harrison after I’d put my camera away.

Before that, there was a presentation / discussion on social recruiting which focused around what this is / isn’t, including some examples of good case studies (Microsoft, Cisco, Sodexho, Deloitte NZ).

Matt Alder (see here and here) kicked the presentations off by explaining what social media isn’t, ie advertising.  And I think the final definition that was suggested(a bit hard to be certain above the noise of the clinking glasses) was people having a conversation on-line.

But I liked Wendy’s suggestion: “talking to people, that’s all it is – getting to know the real you”.  I like the ‘real you’ piece – SR’s not a conversation about a job, it’s about the person.  And I like the absence of the ‘online’ bit.

To me, SR is something we’ve always done, but which is now substantially easier because people are online, and particularly because they’re on 2.0 too.

So as Matt said, it’s different to non-social recruiting in that it’s not just about advertising jobs.  And it’s not just about receiving applications.  It’s linking the organisation and an individual together through conversations and by developing a relationship.  So something like an employee referral scheme would come within the definition of SR for me.

But there is another bit here too though.  I’ve previously suggested that social learning should mean learning of the social unit (the team or the organisation as a whole) and not just learning socially (generating, co-creating and sharing content, collaborating etc).  And I think this should apply to recruitment too.  So I’d suggest that SR isn’t just about using relationships to recruit, it needs to be about developing and then maintaining relationships because these are going to be critical to engagement, retention, collaboration etc after a person joins.


The presentations then moved on to the benefits of SR and the suggestion was that it is good for recruiting young people cheaply.

As you might guess from my definition of the concept, I think this benefit is a bit weak.  SR isn’t (shouldn’t be) just about young people, and it’s not just about efficiency.  The opportunity is to use SR to get people you’ve never been able to tap before, and to provide your organisation with more / better people with better relationships between then too (higher levels of human and social capital).

SR provides an opportunity to transform what your organisation is capable of doing.  If all you focus on is activity (doing things on line) and efficiency (doing HR more cheaply) don’t be surprised when you find it hard to engage the business in this!



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com



  1. Hahah! Shame you had to wait a good 20mins for my soundbite though!

    I agree with you totally about social recruiting not just being an online thing. I blogged about something similar before Xmas because, IMHO, SM is only the beginning... It's the real world bit that ultimately counts.

    And pretty PLEASE with cherries and cream - remove that hideous picture of me! I look like some strange, one-eyes monster! I'll send you a new one you can replace it with! Hahah! (but seriously...!)

  2. Hi Wendy, oh come one it looks fine (although obviously not anywhere as nice as in real life*), but yes, of course, send me a snap and I'll be happy to change it!

    [* recruiting AND people - both better in the real world?]

  3. Thank you for the review. I am annoyed I did not stay longer after to meet you. I agree that cost effectiveness should not be the argument to promote social recruiting. Being able to gain honest feedback and opinions from your intended audience has to be relevant. Recruiters (or brands) then refine their processes and presence to the most effective channels. Saving a lot in the process. Steve Blank talks about the concept of customer development and I think this applies to recruiters too - learning how to be attractive to desirable employees is essential.

    From my experience in the graduate market recruiters have a very good idea of who they would like. The hurdle is appearing relevant and desirable to these candidates. Social media channels offer the opportunity to hear directly from these people. I could ramble about connecting with passive candidates too - but I am aware my experience has been graduate focused (",)

    Like the blog - thanks

  4. Thanks Nick.
    Wendy, I've put your Linkedin picture up.

  5. Some very sound thoughts John. I think the debate went off in a particular direction because Brave New Talent were chairing and organizing. Perhaps understandably Lucien steered the conversation into their specific corner of the social recruiting landscape.

    I think it's good to finally be having some proper debate on what is a massive subject. I look forward to seeing the existing embryonic definitions and value propositions evolve over time as more opinions and case studies come into the space

  6. Thanks Matt, I thought this linked well to your post on Deloitte NV ie comments on 'social media is simply about talking to each other', 'up close and personal'


Please add your comment here (email me your comments if you have trouble and I will put them up for you)