LinkedIn, Twitter, Social Networking - RECRUITING is SPAM

There is a situation brewing in the world of Social Networks and Recruiting today that I believe is becoming a real problem. I've been in the Recruiting Business about 8 years. I know...I know...I'm not the "seasoned veteran" like some of you 20+ years veterans, but I think I've cut my teeth pretty well and have a good feeling for what is happening in the industry.

I've heard all the rage about LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Ning, etc... and I've heard people for YEARS telling me, "This is the future of Recruiting." Well...I'm going to just put this out there and tell you I think that is a load of BS. Recruiters are single-handedly causing these social networking sites to form stricter guidelines, remove features, and limit availability because you are becoming the SPAMMERS of the Social Networking World.

The future of Recruiting is going to be about what it has always been about...relationships. It's not about the number of social networks you can infiltrate or send SPAM messages to (which is what you are really doing) or how many connections you have that you are more than likely not "connecting with" beyond the initial message. How many of these "connections" that you have are you really forming a relationship with...or are you just another of the hundreds (probably thousands) of Recruiters using this "alternative" source for candidates? So let me re-phrase this a little...Recruiting IS all about relationships (not "connections") and building a network of professionals you can count on, of course it is...but a connection on LinkedIn does not automatically mean you have a relationship with that person.

The bombardment of Recruiters in these social networking sites that is causing them to become less and less useful as a tool. This is happening because hundreds/thousands of SPAMMERS (that think they are Recruiters) are out there connecting to everyone with a profile. STOP IT. I hear Recruiters complaining about how features are being removed from LinkedIn, Facebook, (and soon from other sites)...but it is RECRUITING'S fault this is happening. Some people are abusing these tools...not using them with discretion.

These "Recruiters" are making faceless, baseless, and oftentimes worthless connections that do nothing more than boost their ego and ability to say, "I have 2310 connections on LinkedIn...I am AWESOME." Sorry...I'm more interested in how many successful placements you make per month, and hearing from a friend that has worked with you how awesome you are. THAT is a connection. The number of faceless connections in your LinkedIn account do nothing for me. I know a Recruiter that I've worked with before that has over 1000 connections on LinkedIn, but when I ask him to produce a candidate for an open job with certain skills...he has trouble because he doesn't know how to recruit and doesn't really have a network of people he KNOWS. He's great at making "connections" across the country on a social networking venue, but he doesn't have a dang clue about these people's skills or abilities.

So...what do we do about this? Honestly I don't know. I will tell you this...if things continue the way they are now then every social network site on the Internet that becomes popular will eventually cut out all the ways Recruiting can utilize them as a potential source/tool. If we keep bombarding and overwhelming the market with our SPAM...it will continue to force stricter guidelines and less effectiveness. I suggest you CHOOSE your connections WISELY!! Don't just connect to someone with a profile for the sake of boosting your number of connections. This will ultimately lower the number of connections you have, but if you actually form a relationship with your connections you WILL yield more quality results from your use of these tools. PLUS...you will have STOPPED SPAMMING the social networks and are no longer part of the problem.

So...there it is...tear it apart if you like, but that's how I feel.

Views: 81

Comment by Lisa E on October 17, 2008 at 4:10pm
Touche!
Comment by Todd Goldstein on October 17, 2008 at 4:48pm
You make an excellent point Kent and I think you are right on. I do believe that there is a legitimate group of recruiters out there that utilize these sites properly. There is no denying that the way we communicate as a society has dramatically changed. Instead of having to call a girl and ask her to the prom all you need to do is text her. Technology has replaced all human contact and communication. New recruiters coming into this industry have no idea what a 3x5 card is. That is what we had to use to build our business. I have about 12 years in the business and when I got started in 1996 it was classifieds. So at the end of the day, it is all about relationships and that is why the traditional recruiting industry will all be around. Nice blog!
Comment by Susan Kang Nam on October 17, 2008 at 5:11pm
I agree with most of what you have to say.. and to be honest with someone exploring the recruiting industry once again.. I must say that it's all within the attitude as well. The training is important I believe utlizing these technologies well will benefit in the long run (both to market your professional brand as well as to your client's brand per se). It may occur to newbies like myself that things are ever changing.. and as I continue to look at different perspectives, I do believe that spamming is no way of developing a relationship at all. so I completely agree with that.. However if you look at the old way of recruiting per se.. sometime it helps to get a fresh perspective, and an attitude to have an open mind... i.e. if you feel many are doing this.. perhaps you can clearly let them know on Linkedin (those that are spamming you to say.. kindly.. spend that extra minute and say.. "not" to do this..in a professional manner. You have 8+ years in this business.. that's wonderful.. I would like to see more from someone like yourself with all those years of experience "express" positive energy to "change" one recruiter at a time. I strongly believe that it takes that one person .. and can make all that difference. Expressing, ranting.. it's all part of this social media outreach.. so this may help others who may just happen to come by (i.e. a potential recruiting partners, colleagues, or even a candidate) to see who "you" are as a professional. It is all about the relationships.. however having that positive attitude with a strategy to look into also helps. As for me, personally, I will never spam period - as to me that will affect how I do business. I will work on my brand per se (both professionally and personally) and guard them specifically..

As for those LinkedIn connections, I must say pros/cons to that.. as it can be a wonderful tool if you have many connections -- it all depends on "how" you approach that particular candidate I believe.. so that's my quest in connecting as many professionals as possible out there... and thankfully someone like Dave Mendoza will have a great lead and networking ability to do so as recently had the opportunity to connect and double my linkedin connection. As per LinkedIn per se (in terms of how I see it in the future - well.. I would like to have a discussion with the key leaders at LinkedIn one day and see what he/she may think about all this.. as I do understand many recruiters do like LinkedIn. At this time, I only see LinkedIn as a marketing tool and a potential lead to many talented professionals out there.

Respectfully ~

Susan

PS - on a side note, I do agree content is key.. and actually if 90% of recruiting blogs went away, I would definitely notice as I have learned quite a bit reading these blogs for the past 4 months... and yes.. I may not have a "name" in the recruiting industry however I do allocate myself to "spend" time online... as I have not found any other forms to "connect" and network so quickly utilizing few of these tools i.e. this Ning site as well as twitter and facebook. Everything is all subjective however so I will continue to look for metrics to measure how all these tools will help with bottomline ~ I do believe there are some researchers out there are working on that with their employers (from what I read so far). Quality + Strategic time used online = Best Practices. If this doesn't make much sense, I'd be happy to talk or discuss off-line as I do appreciate sharing information. Best wishes.
Comment by Kent Sims on October 17, 2008 at 5:18pm
Susan...you definitely make a great point, and reading back over my blog I can see it might have been less on the "positive" influence side of things. That I can improve upon.

I have some other ideas on ways to use "alternative" resources, and I have found them to be very successful. I'll have to make a new blog post with a little more positive spin on alternative recruiting methods.
Comment by Jason C. Blais on October 17, 2008 at 8:36pm
HERE HERE!! GREAT POST and wonderful perspective. I've been a strong supporter of the more restrictive use of LinkedIn. The way I view it, I only "connect" with people that I would personally recommend. If I'm not willing to put my reputation on the line for someone, they won't end up in my "professional network" which is the point of LinkedIn, I think.

I LIKE LinkedIN, and find it to be a useful way to stay in touch with people I know and trust in a professional setting.
Comment by Kent Sims on October 19, 2008 at 2:08am
I agree with you Vincent. I was using that sensationalistic title to draw in replies and discussion. Truth is...you and I seem to be on the same page. Those that are utilizing LinkedIn (and the others) as a professional tool, and using it with discretion are seeing benefits, but OUR benefits and ability to use these tools is being diminished by the thousands upon thousands of "recruiters" that don't have the 1st clue about developing relationships.

So you are correct...a true Recruiter would not be the "spammer" of which I am referring.
Comment by Susan Burns on October 21, 2008 at 11:30pm
Interesting post Kent. You raise some valid points but generalizations and absolutes are always concerning. Taking the extreme point of view with any group by focusing on the bad behavior rather than the good can send the wrong message. I do think social networking is a bit different because of the ease of access and blasting techniques. The beauty of Community is it can assume more power and push back to balance the behavior. There are great examples in the Groundswell of the collective power to influence behavior.

Yes, there are "spamcruiters" as Maren labels it - I like the term too Maren! But, there are a lot of awesome recruiters doing some amazing things in the area of social networking. And, the true value of social networks is grounded in nurturing relationships. So, yes, many people are simply jumping in to ride the wave without really taking the time to understand how to engage or apply technical skills to abuse systems. The more we collectively educate on what social networks are about and how recruiters can contribute and realize value the more influence we can have on everyone's experience and reduce the "spam" aspects.

You could take any aspect of recruitment and find an extreme that is a negative reflection on the craft. As example, the lack of follow-up by executive/agency recruiters and/or corporate recruiters creates a lot of value dilution to company brands and to how Seekers view the value of working with a recruiter. But, that's obviously not a complete view because again there are a lot of people doing great work.

RecruitingBlogs.com is a great place to educate and share best practices. Additionally, when bad behavior is evident lets call the person on it. Maybe its intentional but maybe they simply don't understand the rules of engagement.
Comment by Suzy Tonini on October 22, 2008 at 1:10am
I Tweeted about this, and one very enlightened person hit the nail on the head:" Embarassing to see recruiters mess up new LinkedIn Groups w/crummy "hot" jobs."

I too have visited several of my groups hoping to see some enlightened conversations between SME's, and what do I see? Job Reqs, peppered everywhere. Oh, and they are almost always urgent, and not very compelling, IMHO.

Guys, this is not *recruiting*- this is the lazy way to hopefully pick up leads, but in the meantime you are turning people off in a big way (candidates and other recruiters alike), and giving the industry a really bad rap.
Comment by Kent Sims on October 22, 2008 at 7:53am
Maren - great term...I love it!!
Susan - I agree...which is why my last blog post was trying to be more educational and less bashing.
Suzy - that's a big part of my gripe with the "spamcruiters" is all the "HOT JOBS" that get plastered everywhere. I love how EVERY job from EVERYONE is always the most urgent/hot in the world. I wish these people would wake up and realize that they are (sometimes...not ALWAYS) peddling crap.
Comment by Patrick on October 23, 2008 at 1:25pm
While I agree with 95% of these positions, I would like to point out another side of the equation. For instance ~ how I found this post, and then ~ what this means to me.

Thank you to Suzy for tweeting this one. Via a tweetscan on {recruiters} I ran across a tweet from "researchgoddess" (aka AmyBeth Hale), referencing an original tweet from "InfoSourcer" (Suzy), supplying http://tinyurl.com/5lt82c .... Hence, my visit here.

While I know that spamcruiters are clogging up the resource (and tarnishing the name of recruiters across the board), I think there is still value in the repetition of valuable information - aka the oldest marketing strategy in the world, Word of Mouth. I am a brand new member of this blog, and am happy to have found it. Working as a Researcher, dabbling in Social Media Marketing, I find that SPAM techniques are everywhere - LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, etc are not the beginning, merely the continuation of a technique that dates back long before the Internet. That being said, let's think of the rise in levels of control that we all have as a result this. No longer are we subject to marketing telephone calls in the middle of our evenings. No longer are we forced to weed through the SPAM that once crushed our inboxes. No longer, if we buy the gadgets, do we have to sit through broadcast commercial time equal to that of the television we are viewing. Those that abuse the systems only lend to place the power deeper in the hands of those that deserve it the most. In the case of tried and true recruiters - those who are building strong, lasting, reciprocal relationships.

Let's let our social ethics be the guide here. The rest will weed themselves out.

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