Over the last two weeks I have used this analogy when talking to recruiters within my company that recruiting via the social networks is more like a garden and not a grocery store. It seems to have connected with them and I know there are hundreds of other analogies out there describing "social recruiting" and this one just came out of my mouth during a conversation. My point is when a recruiter is using the social networks to find candidates and engage them either in conversation or to direct source, the mindset is different than before.

This change in mindset is a challenge for me. I am used to the grocery store approach where I would go to my company resume database and search those that directly applied or to a job board database and pick out the candidates I felt were the most qualified and contact them. This is like going to the store where you know what you need and in what aisle it is located. The choice is then determined on fit, price and need. Do I go "generic" because the salary range will not allow me to select the name brand? What store seems to carry the best produce that is fresh?

Now, with social recruiting, the mindset feels more like planting a garden. I am doing research on where should I connect with people, setting a strategy with goals that need to be very flexible and seeing where I might want to go for future needs. Unlike the grocery store, the people I am connecting with are not necessarily looking for a new position and will most likely wither away if I over fertilize them with job opportunities.

There are hundreds, maybe a thousand posts on what a recruiter should do in the social network space - listen, engage, ask questions then approach. I do not disagree with this approach, but the recruiter mindset changes in this environment. There is rarely a quick hit or a one and done phone call, but more of a chain of connections through one or multiple networks. It is not a mindset of post and pray or wait and see but going out, seeking and being vulnerable. It is a mindset that I had when I first started recruiting and in order to find candidates I had to cold call, develop leads and relationships and attend networking events in person.

To me we have come full circle with our transparency, engagement, social networks and connecting. The key difference now is that it is so much easier than digging through phone books, association directory books and cold calling into companies. Now I can “lurk”, listen, perform far better research and searches before making the decision to contact. I can follow someone and determine if they really are a guru, expert, rock star or ninja (all terms I dislike) and then decide whether to contact or hit the unfollow button.

As you conduct your searches and social recruiting tactics remember the mindset is different – it’s not a store but a garden. By changing the mindset you can move your company forward.

Originally posted on www.letstalkrecruiting.wordpress.com

Views: 104

Comment by Maureen Sharib on June 10, 2010 at 7:02am
It just occurred to me that what we used to do as "sourcing" on the Internet can be likened to searching (and slashing) through a jungle. Social networks have tamed that jungle, somewhat, and present a tamed "garden" experience. The problems with gardens is that they contain "garden variety."
Comment by Jerry Albright on June 10, 2010 at 9:09am
Great post Mark. I'd add a more thoughtful reply - but I've got to pull some weeds!
Comment by Slouch on June 10, 2010 at 10:24am
I think that just because "There are hundreds, maybe a thousand posts on what a recruiter should do in the social network space - listen, engage, ask questions then approach." does not mean the actual art of aggressively finding the right candidate who is in a position now to accept a new position with your client is different than it was before the existence of social networks. Good Post!
Comment by Mark Sullivan on June 10, 2010 at 10:58am
Maureen, I like your analogy. It has almost tamed the garden maybe made it more like a national park where trails exist but you can still go off on your own and rough it.

Jerry, I tried to work a line in my post about weeds but couldn't make it work - nice one.

Slouch, You nailed it and after re-reading my post it looks like I took out the sentences that included those that are ready can be found and there is nothing wrong with approaching them right away. Thanks for bringing that back into the discussion.

Thank you all for your comments.
Comment by William G Morgan on June 10, 2010 at 12:57pm
All I can say is ... welcome to perm recruiting. Nothing has changed except the medium. The best recruiters always did this... they culled the soil of their industry turning up the people in it, they cultivated relationships by always talking, engaging, and listening. They researched through trade groups, journals, etc... They met with thier industry veterans. NOTHING has changed in how to recruit, except the tools are better, the amount of data now available and the speed of access.
A retired recruiter who now creates the tools for recriters, said to me about a year ago... "I wish I had to me to recruit today. I'd be making so much money". If you learned to truly recruit with a telephone, and not rely on a job board or database, today is a really great day to be a recruiter.
Good article though. I'm not taking anything away from it.


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