Quite often a client asks me this question:

'Can you recommend an Online Recruiter in your network for...X.'
Sure I can, but the are ways to reviews someones expertise online yourself.
Naturally you can Google someone's name and see what comes out, but be informed that there are also some networked methods to check someones proclaimed expertise.
For Online Recruitment there are 3 main success criteria you will have to investigate in order to find out if your Online Recruiter / Trainer Online Strategies can be considered to be sufficient professional:

1) Quantity Everything begins with a 'quantity' in your network. First you will have to be able to see 'who does what'. If you don't know who is available, and thus a potential candidate, you will never be able to source him / her.

On networks like LinkedIn that simply means, be able to reach out to a lot of people in your direct (1st degree) or secondary (2nd degree) network. If someone mentiones his 3rd degree network he will automatically disqualify himself because in real life you cannot reach the 3rd level of people in your network.

Also, be aware that a lot of online recruiters have added their network up to just over 500 direct contacts because LinkedIn than just will add (500+) behind your name. However there is a huge difference in having more than 5000 members in your direct network than just 500. Some very important issues in networking on LinkedIn can only be experienced after aproximately that amount in your direct network. Furthermore, there are tricks to add hundreds of direct contact to your direct network in a matter of minutes (!). If you recruiter isn't aware of that, he obviously has not enough experience to really add ROI to your quantity strategy..

Solution: Just ask your Online Recruiter to provide you with a screenshot of his network information, such as this example of my network:

2) Target the right people, quality
Quantity will only get you so far. It will enable you to 'see' profiles. Making targeted selections out of those quickly, without much investment in time is thus very important. In the case of the LinkedIn example that means that your Online Recruiter needs to know how to interact the quantity network with the Specialists groups elsewhere, like on Yahoo Groups e.g.
Also he should have his own views in how to analyze competences from his targets networking styles. After all, an online recruiter who cannot make that match will not be able to reach out to matching specialist for your company.

Also Blogging experience is very important. A lot of online recruiters / consultants claim a certain expertise in Blogging. Most of the time that means that they have written some articles on other people's blog but have not set up or managed a blog themselves. This active role is crucial however if you want to understand the techniques needed to get a high Google-ability of your vacancy or company expertise. The same goes with proclaimed knowledge of Portals such as Second Life (just being there is not enough, do they have a domain or group there), Facebook (this portal is fast becoming the most important portal for recruitment purposes) etc. etc.

LinkedIn experts: On linkedIn and other networks there are also Rankings which are more related to the quality of one's work. E.g. just go to your LinkedIn account and choose the 'Answers' tab. There you will find that networkers, including you can ask questions to their network and also give answers to questions coming from your network. These Answers are Rated. Each exptertise has it's own rating, also there is a general rating. You can check if your expert is present on those ratings.

Solution: -Just Google your online recruiter (use his / her name) and find out if he / her is playing an active role leading a considerable Specialist Group or managing a successful blog themselves, or if he or her is just playing a passive role.
-Check LinkedIn Answers for the expert rating of your online recruiter.
-Check if your rectuiter has ever created Jobboards, recruitment widgets and tools himself which are successful.

3) Become a networking enabler to a specific Target Group
Leading a specialist group or a blog is also not enough to ensure a ROI in online recruitment.
You online recruiter needs to be able to be a 'Recruitment Magnet' for your company. His / her skills also has to include building Portals and Blogs in such ways that specialist notice the added value of such a portal and are willing to voluntarily participate and contribute, like on the Open Networkers Forum

Solution: Just ask your online recruiter for his / her specialism in that area or simple Google to investigate it.

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Great Blog, I am trying to do exactly what you suggest by making my skills and knowledge more promiment in the Industry. I have a dream, so to speak to be a matriarch of recruiting, by networking, building relationships, and learning, learning, learning, so bring it on!

I am on LnkedIn, recrutingblogs, zoominfo,opennetworks. Any suggestions for other sites to get involved with to better position myself for career opportunities and knowledge?


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