A Tale of Two Recruiters: Social Be Damned

deskLet’s imagine, shall we, that there’s no LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any number of other social technologies and channels upon which one can rely as a recruiter. Let’s take the old-fashioned print publications out of the mix since as we all know no one reads newspapers anymore.  You can still access job boards and your own website where you can write bullet pointed job postings to your heart’s content.

Throughout this experiment your focus as a recruiter remains the same: finding and identifying candidates for open positions, building rapport, discerning their abilities and fit, presenting them to hiring managers and ideally getting a successful hire or placement.  Next step, of course, is to further engage with this newly hired candidate by tapping into their network and getting referrals for more successful hires.  And, of course, if you’re hanging on the agency side you need to get the ever-elusive hiring managers, HR leaders and decision makers to place the necessary requisitions into your hands.

You have no shortcuts and no social sites.  You can’t go mobile and you’re not allowed to use job distribution technology; the branding and marketing you do is in your hands.  You have a telephone, an email account, your connections (whatever that may mean), and an awareness of what’s going on in your market and/or your niche.

Can you still do it?  Would you still want to do it?

Is it 1993 or what?


Over the last few months I’ve had coffee, lunch and cocktails with a number of local recruiters to get an idea of what they’re working on and how they’re approaching some changes happening in our market.  I’ve chatted with corporate recruiters, 3rd party recruiters, and staffing (contract) agency folks.  I’ve had these conversations with people who are relative newcomers and some who are jaded, world-weary, and remember dialing for dollars on a rotary phone.

So on to the tale…

Recruiter Number One (in-house) spends 2 – 3 evenings per week attending industry gatherings, professional networking events and mixing and mingling with his targeted candidates  – or those who know them.  Oh sure – he rocks social, can run a mean x-ray search, and wields his LinkedIn cred with finesse BUT he knows that a LinkedIn InMail or a bunch of automated tweets is not “social” recruiting.  He knows his success in the job also requires some traditional old-skool kind of social.   Would he rather, on some occasions, head home at 6 PM instead of spending an hour or two schmoozing over watered down cocktails and seafood puffs?  Sure.  But it comes with the territory and he knows it.

Recruiter Number Two (agency) recently told the agency owner  “no thanks; there’s no need for you to pay for me to join the Robotic CoffeeMaker Professional Association even though that’s my target market.  They hold all their events after work and when I’m done for the day I just want to go home.”   This woman apparently does some things right or I would assume she would be long gone but is she serious with this attitude?  Perhaps she’s the queen of the ATS or is able to close candidates when it’s down to the wire but this just stupefies me; she’s apparently under the mistaken belief that job orders will magically appear on her desk and that candidates, when needed, will materialize out of thin air.

So who, I ask, wants to do their job? Who understands that social behavior has nothing to do with tools and apps and technologies and everything to do with building relationships and connecting with people?


Sure I’m picking on a recruiter here because that’s who shared the story.  But you could replace that job title in the above with Purchasing Supervisor or Database Administrator or Human Resources Manager or Widget Maker.  I continue to be amazed at the number of individuals who decline to take advantage of the opportunities – or shall we say the necessities – to do their work to the fullest.

Some may argue that if Recruiter #2 is getting the basics done and apparently the owner is OK with her performance why shouldn’t she want to live her life and get home?  She’s not letting her work define her – she’s more than her job!  Work – flex – balance.

Interesting twist to this is that Recruiter #2, after informing the agency owner that she won’t be going to any networking events or joining a professional organization, followed up with a request for a promotion.  And I’ve heard similar comments made by IT professionals and HR Generalists who have then gone on to lament the fact that their ‘career’ is stalled.


Look – I could care less if you’re tweeting like a boss or running a LinkedIn group.  Deftly managing your CRM is all well and good. But there are some fundamental social behaviors and duties in any job that are the same in 2013 as they were in 1993.

Social.  Be damned?

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