Social Media Recruiting: A Second Look Beyond the Big 3

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Jun 28, 2013

Last week, I wrote an article on ERE called Beyond the Big Three, in reference to the social networks that nearly everyone seems to be referring to when they talk about social recruiting: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

In that article, I pointed out that not only have most of the networks in the big three have a small job board component (or social add on that has made them less social and more database like) but the majority of the statistics you find in social recruiting reports essentially reference LinkedIn; the behemoth professional network accounts for nearly 80% of “social recruiting” activities.

Working with startup and small businesses has given me a window into just what “cutting edge” recruiting techniques really means, and it’s not LinkedIn. In fact, many of these smaller companies are looking for the kind of talent that doesn’t poke it’s head out of the ground on your standard social network. In Part 1, I referenced GitHub, Quora, Dribbble and more pockets of talent on the internet.

But there were a lot I missed and so for Part 2, I’d like to dive right into the social networks my clients are using and that I think YOU should be using.

The Aggregators- A lot of folks pointed out that there are tools that make searching these sites a lot easier. Gild is an aggregator that culls technical talent and scores them according to their “fitness” for the job. In addition to pulling from multiple job boards and databases, the social data from sites like the big three AND beyond are pulled in as well. Tools like Remarkable Hire, Entelo and TalentBin all do something similar.

Pinterest- A great many comments centered around Pinterest, and to be honest, I have not heard all that much buzz in the recruiting world about it. While it can be a great way to get one’s employer brand out there and even a quick how-to pin can serve as an FAQ, I imagine its largest strength for recruiting purposes would be in retail or creative positions (one should note that the aggregators listed above tend to be very good at finding tech talent but have not broken down the algorithm for other positions that don’t have social proof just yet.)

Where the $$$ is- I was privately informed that because my list didn’t discuss investment hubs (like angel list) that it was incomplete. In the first place, I never set out to create a comprehensive guide to other recruiting sites for everyone, I just wanted to expose people to some networks that I saw my clients having luck with. Secondly, I think that Angel List is simply another job board, it’s not bad, it just is. That’s another reason I didn’t include it. Finally, I realize that there are great number of people who are recruiting (even with social!) outside of the hubs of Silicon Valley and New York City and while niche boards for startups may work there, they are neither a social recruiting tool or helpful to people outside of a few select cities.

Meetup- Meetup has long been a tool for recruiters looking to snag top talent very quickly. However, as more and more groups began to be infiltrated by those looking to offer new gigs, group owners began to be stricter about who they let in the group. Now, with every recruiter chasing online talent communities and X-raying LinkedIn (not that it’s a bad thing!) these meetups are surprisingly fallow ground, both online and offline.

But here’s the dirty little secret about all of these tools, aggregators, groups and technologies: They probably won’t work for you. I think John Sumser from HRExaminer says it best:

“The days of recruiting by shooting fish in a barrel have been gone for a while now. Recruiting is a mostly local sport that is won in the trenches on a case by case basis. The technology and the demographics have changed the game.

Any given communications channel may be exactly right or exactly wrong for your recruiting efforts.”

When I started writing about these technologies, it was to get people to broaden what we defined as social recruiting but there are always growing pains. Keep in mind during debates around a new technology that if you haven’t put any thought into how you are going to use it or who you are looking for, it will very (embarrassingly) fail. Paying close attention to the type of people you want (would they be on LinkedIn?) and the sort of recruiting environment in which you find yourself (does everyone use the local job board?) and the business for which you are being an ambassador (perhaps your restaurant CAN you Foursquare or Yelp to recruit!) will create a much better strategy than randomly riding the next wave of Google+.

That being said, I’d love to hear what tools you are using and why you chose them. What’s been the biggest social upset? Did you try a tool for fun and get results? Or expect big results and find your results flat?

Tell us in the comments.

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