The World’s Biggest Social Network: The Phone

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Jan 7, 2011

To attract talent at the top of your game, you need a winning sourcing strategy.  Since passive talent cannot be found on the job boards, create a strategy that branches out to a wide variety of networks, social media, blogs, user groups, and so forth. Throw as much into the top of the funnel as possible. The secret is to track candidates where they are in real life. There is no one stop shop. And how many times have you seen those statistics used to pitch the use of social media for recruitment?

  1. LinkedIn: 80+ million users
  2. Twitter: 100+ million users
  3. Facebook: 500+ million users

The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to why an employer should use social media to attract talent. These statistics will only increase, considering that 98% of Gen Y has joined a social network. And while I do see the significance of social recruiting, however, there’s a few more stats that I’d like to consider:**

  1. Cell Phone: 3.3 Billion users
  2. 93% of U.S. adults own a cell phone
  3. 300+ million U.S. mobile subscribers by mid-2011
  4. In 2009, 80% of US households still owned a landline phone
  5. The mobile device will be the world’s primary connection tool to the Internet in 2020.

I’d like to introduce THE PHONE as the world’s biggest social network. Don’t believe it? I picked up a new phonebook the other day; every single company had a “phone book profile”. Looking for CPA’s? There’s a whole chapter of ’em in the phone book.

Sourcing Reach:

If you want to talk about reach, every professional that I know has a phone. Now, I’m not talking about some percentage of people that now have “phone profiles”. Literally 100% of professionals that I know have a phone on their desk. Not only that, but 93% of U.S. adults own a cell phone.

Time for some math:

  1. Take a company with 10,000 employees.
  2. If 100% of the 10,000 employees have a direct extension, that’s 10,000 phone numbers you can call.
  3. If 93% of those employees have a cell phone, that’s 9,300 phone numbers.
  4. If 80% of those employees maintain a land-line, that’s 8,000 phone numbers.

Grand Total: we’ve got 27,300 direct lines of communication to get hold of these potential candidates!

Sourcing Contact Method Effectiveness:

The “Phone Network” goes beyond simply having a greater “reach.” It’s also about relationships and sourcing effectiveness. When sourcing, I want to give the supported recruiters the best chance to spark an engagement. I want to find phone numbers, direct dials, extension lists, the phone line for a satellite office, etc. In my opinion, an effective sourcing strategy should build toward a “real-time” conversation. Recruiting is sales. And, if you take this approach to recruiting, start to consider how many sales calls start with the answer “no?” A skilled recruiter can overcome these initial obstacles, but it is too easy to just delete an email or an InMail without a recruiter having a chance for rebuttal. Since the recruiting process starts with the source, I’m definitely going to take the extra time to source a phone number if all I have is an email address or social media profile.

Reach + Effectiveness = One powerful network

To wrap it up, what are you looking for? Based on the phone usage stats, one would think that sourcing a contact’s phone number would be the easiest place to start. Social sites foster interaction but when it comes to sourcing I’m looking for the most direct contact method to engage a candidate. Of course, the first goal is to identify top talent, but then how do you reach out? What contact methods work best for you?

**(Source: Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, July-December 2008, Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, May 2009.)

** (Source: CTIA – The Wireless Association, Wireless Quick Facts, 100 Wireless Facts, 2009.)

** (The Nielsen Company – 2010 Media Industry Fact Sheet, 2010)

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