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.
Tomorrow, I have a post coming out on FistfulofTalent.com titled something along the lines of, "The Recruiting Community: If You Build It, They Will Come (And They'll Be Engaged, Too!)"
Of course, I'm kidding . . . because I ask myself what truly defines 'engagement'? Just because someone creates a profile, uploads a pic of their pet (along with their favorite song), and answers a discussion post, doesn't mean they're necessarily 'engaged'. However, we too often see 'engagement' as an assumption of all community members . . .
In many cases, we also try to cover up the fact that our 'community' exists to reduce our time-to-perfect-candidate by posting about things non job-related. Anything to drum up conversation, right? Well, to the contrary, it's this useless conversation that dilutes the value of the recruiting community we're building. We'd be better off with honesty by staying true to the fact that our community exists for mutually beneficial gain.
While the shortest path between two points is indeed a straight line, our market has also been taught that the shortest path to placement is an online community. Unfortunately, it's not that simple :)
Worth a thought. Again, great post and sorry for being so late to the party :)
It has been several months - and I would say that my feelings on the matter are still the same, but I should have been more clear in my original blog.
1. Yes - I do post some jobs out there on various social network media.
2. Yes - I do passive recruiting via LinkedIn, and will occassionally send out jobs to my personal network. BUT - I am selective of who I send msgs to.
In the end - I think there is a HUGE difference between a professional recruiter and a SPAM-Recruiter (or HR flunky) that blasts jobs or emails to hundreds/thousands of strangers every day.