Putting the “Human” in Social Media…the Increased Importance of Good Recruiting

by Shannon Tinker

Social networking and recruiting has expanded beyond our wildest dreams and offers a gazillion (roughly) free ways to connect with people.  If predictions are accurate, we can expect 50% of web marketing and sales to attribute their growth to a social presence by 2015. Considering the number of free resources, it’s natural to question the need for recruiters and recruiting agencies altogether.  How do you quantify recruiting and justify recruiting costs, when most everyone is visible to the googling public? Has technology and the Internet posed a threat to the recruiting world, as we know it?  Or, has it made professional recruiters more valuable than ever?

Perhaps by reputation, recruiters (and a-hem, headhunters) have been most valued for their ability to source, attract and deliver talent that employers may not have found on their own.  Notoriously, recruiting firms are paid high fees for finding the needle in the haystack.  So, what happens to recruiting when social media and the web give virtually everyone, access to the same “haystack” of potential candidates? 

The process of narrowing and honing the massive “results” of an Internet search has quickly become one of the most difficult time management tasks of all time…really. Technological advances offer us more information than ever and the importance of working with someone who can sort through it all just became more crucial.  Going the talent search alone, can easily lead you down one rat hole after another until eventually you’ve wasted an entire day on dead ends.  The “haystack” of potential candidates is now enormous.  It spans fields and fields, over miles and miles.

Perhaps Bruce Morton Executive Director at Allegistalent2 summarizes this best:

“It’s not that the value of social media is overstated, it’s that the investment required for getting value out of social media that is understated. This is what’s relevant to recruiting: social media can be a powerful tool for finding candidates, but a) it is just a tool, one of many, not some silver bullet solution, and b) it takes substantial effort to get results.”

Recruiters are skilled at screening, qualifying and disqualify candidates efficiently.  Effective recruiters combine ninja-like reflexes, researching and sourcing expertise while utilizing intuition and strong interpersonal skills to connect with and assess potential candidates.  After sourcing and connecting with a candidate (this alone can take weeks) the true work begins.  Next comes the evaluation of a candidate’s goals, interests, job history and personality to understand if they are a good fit for the client. “Fit” is crucial, and cannot be assessed by a LinkedIn profile. A recruiter’s ability to establish fit is their bread and butter.  Sub-par recruiters lacking this skill do not have a long shelf life.

A LinkedIn search for people with J2EE, within 100 miles of San Francisco returned: 7658 profiles.  Narrowing it, “J2EE” AND “wireless” yielded: 722 people.  How long would it take to find THE candidate with the right skill set, within the commute range, with the right personality, AND who wants to leave their job to work for XYZ company?  If time is money, how much is this process worth?

Recruiting is not just a paper push.  Hiring a skilled recruiting team affords you the freedom to do your job while someone else sorts through the inbox, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Monster, Dice, Craigslist, etc.

Despite all that technology and search engines can offer, the humanness of recruiting cannot be replicated. As the Internet widens and stretches its reach, the human task of researching, weeding, mining, and conducting accurate interpersonal assessments has become more valuable than ever.  In fact it may be…well, priceless.

*Morton, B. (n.d.). Social Media in Recruiting [White paper].

About the Author:

Guest blogger, Shannon Tinker, successfully recruited for over a decade in various high tech fields. She is a multifaceted writer who entertains in her blog Reinventing Tinks on coming to terms with post-burn out. Shannon’s professional writings encompass subjects on hiring, interviewing, talent management, and other recruiting-related subjects.

See all Shannon’s articles.