There’s a lot of buzz at the moment around using social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook to recruit job candidates. Success stories are available (if not all that convincing) and proponents are hailing it as a revolution in recruitment.
And at first glance it seems to make sense. After all, isn’t it just like the good old-fashioned method of asking your friends if they can recommend someone for a job? It’s tried and true: candidates automatically come with recommendations and references from people you know, and their distance from you in your network of friends gives you an indication (perceived or real) of how reliable they are.
Social recruitment using modern technologies is the same thing, but multiplied by 1000s because of the way these technologies allow you to expand your reach to a much wider audience. Right?
Well, not exactly. Putting aside the difficulty of growing an active and engaged social network, one problem with using only this approach is the huge effort required of candidates. I mean, how many hundreds of twitter accounts, blogs and Facebook groups would a candidate have to follow and process in order to hear about the positions they’re interested in? It’s a lot of work, multiplied by the number of candidates trying to keep up with all this information.
So how can we make modern-style social recruiting work? The solution is a relatively small number of trusted aggregators that collect the massive amounts of real-time recruitment data, filter it and direct it to the candidates it’s relevant to. Candidates are then left with the much more achievable task of checking a few 2nd-degree sources rather than hundreds or thousands of 1st-degree sources.
If it sounds familiar, it’s because this solution already exists in the form of job boards. The reason we have them is that we’ve faced the problem of disseminating relevant job information to a wide audience before. Social recruiting (traditional and Web 2.0-style) is great and feels more personal, but it just doesn’t scale up very well: as the social network grows there’s too much information for job hunters to process.
If using job boards feels a bit backwards and last-millennium, just think of it as making use of an existing “social” network, only you can be sure that it’s a network of only active and engaged job-hunters.
Sure, recruiting isn’t just about making first-contact with candidates, it’s also about keeping their attention. And this is where social networking tools really show their potential. Just make sure you take the social recruiting hype with a grain of salt and be careful not to throw out the stuff that works at the same time.