Some of the most successful recruiters that I’ve encountered have very little to do with social media.
Last week, I caught up with a friend and a former colleague, a top-notch recruiter and one of the best I know in the business. Curious, after five years since we last met, I asked about his social media footprint. Zilch. He doesn’t tweet nor blog. I cannot find him on Facebook or MySpace, and his LinkedIn network is limited to a miserly 33 connections. It turns out he’s doing very well regardless of his limited presence on social networks. The downturn has been hard on his current employer, but not surprisingly, I am told he is consistently one of the best performers. His secret: the phone and the phrase “Let’s do coffee”. Over the years he pursued a deliberate and determined strategy of building strong personal relationship with candidates and clients.
I pondered if my friend will be at a disadvantage if he does not embrace social media. Unlikely, because the use of ‘social media’ is largely tactical and he’s got the strategy part sorted out. Besides, I suspect his limited involvement is because the demographic group he services has not embraced social media yet. I am sure, like any other recruitment tool that he has used over the years, he will embrace social media if that is what his clients and candidates are using. For him, strategy comes first; tactics and tools are secondary.
Take a look at companies who are applauded for using social media effectively. Often, they are organisations who have a history (strategy) of caring deeply about customer service and building relationship long before social media even exists. Social media is embraced as a tactical tool to pursue an overall strategy of serving their customers with distinction, and in the process enhance relationship.
I am convinced it’s not any different for recruiters. The big picture strategy should be a relentless focus on building relationship with candidates and clients. If enriching the relationship requires the use of social media, by all means embrace it. If a phone suffices, invest in more ‘phone time’. Obsessing over strategy and finding the right tactical tool(s) to support the larger long-term strategy is a more sensible path.
As Kathy Sierra puts it “Please, businesses, don’t DO ‘social media’. Do ‘user happiness’.