Social Recruiting: The Replacement for Cold Calling

By Justin Miller

Article Originally Posted on

A Blog that Caters to the Marketing Aspect of Recruiting

I think it goes without saying that probably the hardest part of the job for recruiters is making cold calls.

Having to make hundreds of calls a day can be a bit daunting on people, especially when only a handful are willing to let you get passed a sentence, and only a handful of those people are willing to work with you on a contingency basis.

It’s a main reason why the turn-over rate is so high amongst recruiting firms; young people with little patience and thin skin. But the cool thing that Biz Stone(Founder of Twitter) Reid
Hoffman (Co-Founder of LinkedIn) and “The King” Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook) has brought us are avenues in which we can rely less on cold calling, and more on pressure-free conversation.

Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are quickly over-taking job boards as places where candidates are going to find their next job opportunity. I get the sentiment that candidates now feel sending their resumes to places like Monster and CareerBuilder is akin to sending it into a black hole, often times never even getting emails back to let them know their information was received.

Why is there a growing trend of candidates on social sites?

Quite frankly, it’s not as if candidates joined these sites to begin their job hunt, they were already members to begin with.

Now as opposed to just interacting with family and friends on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn they are able to engage companies they are interested in working for. Yet for whatever reason, a lot of recruiters seem unaware that sites like these are crucial for the direction their business is moving towards. As more and more things like televisions, smart phones,
and tablets include social applications in their design features, so too must our industry.

Social sites encourage conversation and interaction, this can help recruiters avoid cold calls and embrace joining in on the dialogue. Depending on what each recruiter’s specialty may be there is a group on Facebook for it, or a list on Twitter that applies. Being present online and having exposure can benefit recruiters to the point where people will now come to YOU (what a thought!). But it’s important to not just overwhelm people with job ads and constant pitches. Become a trusted source for a topic, gain a reputation as someone who knows what their talking about and I guarantee you will find success.

Quality over Quantity.

Do you currently use social media for recruiting purposes? Does it work?

Comment Below

Views: 542

Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on November 29, 2010 at 12:23pm
These sites are just tools, nothing replaces the phone power.....
Comment by Justin Miller on November 29, 2010 at 1:26pm
C. B. I won't disagree with you. The phone is a necessity for the business, however we cant ignore the fact that the world has gone social. Statistics show the amount of people in the USA who have some sort of social profile be it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter far outweigh the group of people who don't.

What these new outlets allow us is the opportunity to both generate or join in on conversation. Maybe right now it's not as directly effective but who knows about the near future? As we speak there is probably a Facebook Phone being developed...Twitter is an app on every smartphone...and Youtube videos stream across millions of phones.

I know that just based on my 5 months working as the Marketing Manager for a national recruiting company all the social media stuff we've been implementing has had a profound effect on our brand and I've been having recruiters tell me they've been getting new candidates based on the videos they've seen or follow our Twitter account, not to mention the traffic they bring to our site.
Comment by Jerry Albright on November 29, 2010 at 5:15pm
"We can't ignore the fact that the word has gone social" exactly the kind of thinking that has many once-successful recruiters wondering where all the money is.

Not only can we - but many of us SHOULD ignore the whole social cabal. It's a pipe dream for many who chase it. We use to have an inside joke at the agency I started in - more of a saying actually. "Anything but dial baby!" as in it's always interesting to see just how many people would LOVE to make a living in recruiting - but they just don't want to call anybody.

As far as chasing the SM Holy Grail - I say go for it. But I firmly believe that not only "can" we ignore the social attraction - most of us should. I use social media for one primary reason - entertainment between calls........
Comment by Justin Miller on November 29, 2010 at 5:35pm

Although I realize the phone is and should be the main tool for recruiters I don't think you can just toss social media aside as a fad or "pipe dream."

There's a reason why LinkedIn has 80M members worldwide and has recently unrolled a platform that caters specifically to recruitment firms and that's because staffing companies are clamoring for it, and why are they clamoring for it? Because that's where the people are, and they've seen tangible results by using it.

Now we have the ability to easily search and find potential candidates that we can cater to specific necessities for any job.

500,000,000 Members (Facebook)
160,000,000 Members (Twitter)
80,000,000 Members (LinkedIn)

Those are real numbers, which means social media HAS to be a real outlet to find candidates. White boards and Rolodexes can't be relied upon anymore like they were in years past. And I would contend that if you aren't finding candidates through the various avenues online, you may need a clinic on new age sourcing.
Comment by Justin Miller on November 30, 2010 at 9:21am

That's kind of my point, social media won't work if you don't do it properly. However that's not an excuse to toss it aside like alot of old school recruiters are doing, all that means is now it's time to go back to school and learn how to do it properly.

Right now it's not the main tool, but think about the future...think about what generations now are doing and how they're communicating. They aren't calling friends anymore, they are facebooking and tweeting and why do we just assume the way things are now are the way they are going to stay?

I'm in marketing but it seems like to me that recruiters now should be learning this stuff so they can eventually be comfortable enough to engage new candidates with these new forms of communication.

In my company there's a weird mix, some of the most successful recruiters are the ones that have been here for years and rely on the old school methods, but there's also a growing trend of younger recruiters who are working with less candidates but making more deals because they build relationships using all of these options and getting referrals from them.

I get the sense that maybe the industry is moving in that direction as the world gets more and more social and less trustworthy of traditional recruiters.
Comment by Jerry Albright on November 30, 2010 at 9:36am
"Less trustworthy of traditional recruiters"? Sorry - but following/being followed by a thousand people doesn't build any trust. What kind of trust would that be, exactly? That the links you tweet don't get your followers Rick Roll'd? The "content" you recommend has some sort of social stamp of approval?

I don't Facebook my doctor. I don't tweet my accountant. There are business interactions that take place absolutely exclusive of these sites.

Being a success in recruiting has nothing to do with building "awareness" or "brand" 95% of the time. Candidates do not flock to your "community" to learn about you if you're an agency. If you have no job for them - they move on. Whoever started the Community notion was most likely selling community building consulting services.

For the record - I've done social media "properly". In my opinion I'm one of the more progressive recruiters I know. But it's not about where you're starting - it's where you're finishing in the agency recruiting world......and you finish with clients needing your service.

So you can pile up all the friends and followers you like. But at the end of the day if you do not have a relationship with someone who wants to hire them it's over for you.

Busy clients are not out seeking agencies. Never have. Never will. You (we) need to be in constant pursuit of them. All day. Every day. It's called "Making presentation". And as far as I can tell Social Media is for glad handing, praising people you don't know, grasping for ways to seem knowledgeable in other professions (adding content??) and offering job search tips.

So while many may be caught up in where things are "going" - I'll stick with where things are "now" and continue on. Old school. New school. Whatever it's called. All the while watching recruiters lose their grip on a great profession - thinking they have to go where the business "will be" and neglecting where it IS today.

Good luck to all!
Comment by Justin Miller on November 30, 2010 at 9:57am

Facebooking your doctor or tweeting your account isn't're right. You don't need to convince potential doctor's you have jobs that interest them, or build relationships with potential accounts who are looking for a service, so to me that comparison doesn't work.

These sites are mini advertisements for yourself as a recruiter and I get the sense that maybe you aren't doing it as properly as you think. If you were doing it properly you would know that those followers are people that have opted into following what you have to say and as a recruiter...the more jobs you are able to broadcast to a bigger audience, the better the chance of getting interested candidates that fit the bill.

No one is telling you to stop calling people and just use social media, just telling you that it's not a fad and you cant just pass it off. Not using these avenues means you're missing out on a ton of people you could be presenting to clients and as a recruiter you have the responsibility of exhausting all options to find the best fit for the company's needs. And I don't know about you but the issue facing our industry right now is not finding companies to work with's finding qualified candidates who are willing to switch jobs. You typically wont find those on job WILL find them on LinkedIn or by reaching out to them on Twitter/Facebook.

Whether you want to deny it or not, there are people on these sites that you wouldn't be able to find by combing through resumes from Monster and it doesn't hurt to use them it only helps.

The only people who have had negative responses to this post be it on this site or my actual blog are recruiters who have been in the game for 10+ years. And the ones who have agreed are recruiters who have been around for less and said they are firm believers in social media and have had success.

So what can we deduce from this?

To me it tells me that the new age of recruiting seems to be by the way of social media. Like I said out of the top 10 recruiters in our company...half are in their mid-late 20's and use Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook heavily and the other half are in their mid to late 30's and are traditionalists. The younger guys are building relationships with this stuff...the older guys are maintaining relationships.

There is a reason recruiting companies are hiring social media specialists and investing in services like Jobs2Web or's because there are tangible results that prove it's worth spending thousands of dollars on because the return is far greater. And I don't need convincing...since we started our online presence...we have seen a huge bump in new candidates who previously wouldn't work with us but saw our content online and came to US.

The key isn't just broadcasting's establishing yourself as a thought leader and a person who actually has an interest in the industry you recruit for as well as gaining trust from potential candidates with true testimonials and referrals.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 30, 2010 at 2:35pm
The bright spot in my life is that i know that the under 30 recruiters will grow up and realize that all the social media hype will fade into it's rightful place in the process just like those of us who have been around since tennis balls were square, grew up and realized that the computer was not a magic machine that delivered candidates to us with no effort. Job boards were not the garden of candidates where internal recruiters could just sign on and pick the fruit thus eliminating agencies.

Fortunately new things come along all the time, they generate a lot of noise , then pieces and parts become a part of the process, some fall by the wayside. Every new marketing avenue starts out as the end all to be all, until a newer one comes along.

Some of the biggest idiots in our industry consider themselves "thought leaders" have their little cult of followers and couldn't beat a fat man down hill when it comes to consistant production of hireable candidates. But they do a lot of beating of the drum on social sites.

My prediction ..there will be some fallout due to social media in the recruiting ranks unless it becomes another piece of the process.
Comment by Justin Miller on November 30, 2010 at 3:34pm
Well Sandra I'm glad you're here to tell us all the future. I'll have to pick your brain for the lottery tonight while you're online.

And at least you're keeping an open mind about everything. Because you're right, it would be a terrible thing if sources like social media made recruiter's jobs easier. Lord knows no one hangs up on recruiters who make cold calls or writes negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor or Yelp because recruiters can be too pushy on the phone.

Like I said before, social media recruiters are making deals and building relationships. People are online. You don't have to embrace it, but you certainly don't have condemn it. If it works...why is that so bad?

Just by the language you choose in your just seem kind of bitter about it all, calling people "idiots" for considering themselves thought leaders, why does that bother you? I don't call myself a thought leader but if people read what I write on a daily basis and follow me on Twitter does that make me a jerk because I have opinions and people agree? You're very definitive with the fact that social media is just a fad...I get the sense that you were like many who said email is just a fad...people will always send letters, the internet is just a fad...people will shop at stores and there's no way people would get rid of their land line phones for cell phones. Why can't people like yourself just embrace evolution and the way things are moving?

500,000,000 Members (Facebook)
160,000,000 Members (Twitter)
80,000,000 Members (LinkedIn)

They aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
Comment by Timothy Yandel on November 30, 2010 at 8:50pm
There are so many ways to gain an audience with both hiring managers and candidate that if you don't pay attention to different ways to communicate (and progress) you'll get left with your can on a string with no one on the other end but a dust bunny.

There are quite a few companies out there (mostly technology companies) that don't have any phones but one main line that goes to no one and everyone communicates using their cell phone, gchat and social media. For these companies that have very relevant developers working there, how are you, as a recruiter, going to reach them? My order of preference:

1) Face to face
2) Get their cell phone
3) Get their gchat ID
4) Reach them on Twitter

Out of the four options, only one of them (#4) is attainable without hacking into any accounts, trying to find their physical address and stalking them or trying to locate their cell somehow.

To say anything as "the answer" is naive, but equally naive is to think that an industry doesn't change and just remains the same. I remember when some thought the internet was a waste of time and they jumped on the "information super highway" in between banging the phones for new contacts. Those same recruiters are the same ones saying social media is a fad.

Having hack recruiters hang their lifeline to their Twitter account as a means of survival without having any real strategy as to what they're building says more about the recruiter than Twitter, doesn't it? It's not the tool but the carpenter; it's not the typewriter but the writer; and it's not social media but the recruiter that's going to make it effective.

No matter who you work for or what you do, you carry your brand with you wherever you go and if you're not thinking of yourself as a brand in itself then you're approaching networking in a very short sighted, what have you done for me lately attitude that always comes off as shallow and forgettable.

Here's a recent post I wrote that relates:

Tim Yandel


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