Friend Requests--Social Networking Makes Me Feel Really Uncool

Just a forewarning: I am about to ramble. I realize how important social networking is, whether you are looking for candidates, looking for job leads, or looking for a job yourself. It's important to build up your network, whether the need is immediate or not, so that when you have a fit of skill to job description--BOOM. You're a leg up on the competition.

However...building a social network is nervewrecking. Maybe it goes back to me being a social outcast most of my life but everytime I consider sending a friend request on facebook or an invite on LinkedIn, I feel like I am in high school again, walking up to a cafeteria table and without the people seated knowing anything about me and without me knowing anything about them and asking if I can sit down and then bracing myself for the response. Of course, in the world of professionals it's a little different because most people can see the value in getting to know new people but there have been instances where my requests are denied or never answered. Maybe it's the ole recruiter taboo, maybe people think I am going to make flyers of their resumes or I'm going to waste their time with jobs they aren't qualified for, or maybe they think recruiters still charge fees. I thought the days of recruiter misconceptions were over but I could be wrong. In any case, getting a request denied or having it go unanswered is akin to having the girl at the lunch table look at you and put her purse on the open seat next to her and say, "I'm sorry, I'm saving this seat for someone else." Someone much cooler. Someone not you.

Even worse are the people on social networking sites and even job boards that are so elite that they don't want to be contacted. They just want to put up their job performance history and accomplishments MINUS any contact information because they want to world to know they exist and they only want to be contacted by people they already know. I understand people have reasons to be confidential but then why put your info on a public site? What a let down when you find a great candidate you can never talk to. It's like being punched in the stomach by the Prom Queen.

Anyway, the point is that everyone should be open to new contacts--namely ME. You never know--I could be the chairman of the prom committee.

Views: 80

Comment by Jenn on February 19, 2009 at 12:54pm
Wow...it was wierd to come across your post this morning. Just yesterday I was lamenting about the SAME thing. Shouldn't the very nature of connecting to others online make those old F2F networking challenges seem like distant memories?? Like you, I was brought back to school days hesitating to start up conversations or "sit with" the cool kids. Truthfully, even though I've been in people centered roles my entire career, I have had to play the "act as if" game in order to do the things necessary to be successful. I don't like to mingle and events where I know I'll have to meet new people still evoke a natural reluctance. It's nice to know I'm not alone...it seems like I should have been able to overcome this after so many years, but I guess we are who we are. [and as a side note...my HS class is coming up on a big reunion year, and everyone is starting to connect on Facebook...still don't know how to talk to some of these people...it's like I'm 16 again...] Onward I go...
Comment by Tom Sweeney on February 19, 2009 at 1:26pm
I really liked your posting today. I think you are bang on in speaking about candidates who subscribe to public sites and don't share any contact information or aren't open to communicating. It defeats the purpose of the network they are joining.

I would suggest however that networking via networks - while rejections can still happen - would be easier then any other form of networking for the simple reason that networking allows you to brand yourself as you want to be perceived. Online networking only allows people to judge you based on the profile you've created for yourself.

Any suggestions for those people who would skip out on the Prom?

Tom
http://sweens.wordpress.com
Comment by See_Jane_Recruit on February 19, 2009 at 2:44pm
Jenn: it's funny how us "socially conservative" people end up in the people business! Just because we don't talk doesn't mean that we aren't paying attention. Good luck at the reunion. I occassionally think about what my 10 year HS reunion would be like and have delusions of showing up in a Beamer and 10 lbs skinnier. Then I consider going for the opposite and showing up pregnant in an old pick-up truck with a kid on my hip and a lit cigarette just to show them all how much I don't care. But then again I would have to get prego to make that happen so FORGET IT.

Tom: I am learning the power of groups. Joining them and then meeting people that way. It's so much easier to connect when people realize you already have something in common. Also, I never went to any proms. None of the dozens they have in 4 years of high school. I hung out at the mall with the mall rats and smoked cigarettes and scoffed at the kids going to prom (but secretly I wanted someone to ask me to go.) So I guess I suggest to be open to new contacts because...smoke cigarettes and make fun of prom kids together??? I don't know. I kind of lost my train of thought in that one.
Comment by Mike Gionta on February 19, 2009 at 9:58pm
Lisa Trench ruined my junior prom for me, so I swore off my senior... :-)

...still a little bitter over that!

In this economy you need to stay OFF the job boards... HR and internal recruiters are active on them now because they have time. I am coaching all my recruiter clients that To reaaaalllllyyyy add value, you need 80% direct recruits.

Mike Gionta
www.TheRecruiterCampus.com
Comment by See_Jane_Recruit on February 20, 2009 at 12:16pm
Yes, thank God my company has a kickass database with nine years worth of resumes in it! If you have a good database: use it! But make sure you read the profile notes so you don't wake the dead that shouldn't be disturbed (see my blog: Zombie Candidates.)

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