Is Social Media Relevant To Recruiting?

I've been writing StlRecruiting.com as a local recruiting blog since 2004, and in that time, the explosion of online recruitment blogs has been a wonder to behold.  It was difficult in the beginning, but as industry conference leaders like ERExpo and Kennedy Expo put us on panels, and with people like John Sumser flogging the ideas, we built a name for blogging in online employment. 

What set that early group of writers apart was our recruiting experience. Jason, Anthony, Animal, Harry, and Dennis were all practicing recruiters who saw a gap in the reporting.  We stepped in, in traditional blogging fashion, and gave our expertise to that niche.

That's the way blogging and social media work.  When an industry fails to accurately provide real-time information to its members, someone steps up and makes a name for themself.  That success led the Recruiting Blogosphere to be an early success story in social media. We were way ahead of corporate America, and ahead of PR, Marketing, Customer Service, while holding our own with IT.

But then something happened.  The community fell apart, as each of us went our separate ways and focused on our own businesses. It was inevitable, but ironically, the success of Recruiting.com led to a devolution in the online recruiting world.  The logical next step was for the national community to splinter off into more local communities, as recruiters focused on hires they could make in their own markets.

That is happening, but it's not getting the attention it deserves.  Rob Neelbauer in D.C., and Paul DeBettignies and gang up in Minneapolis, are doing great things locally.  Jason Davis and his RecruitingBlogs.com lead the way to Recruitfest in Toronto.   The Recruiting Roadshow is a great unconference that takes the message of social networking local.  These are worthy causes, but the majority of the online employment space isn't covering these events.

The purpose of recruiting blogging, which is to hire more people, simply isn't occurring in any meaningful way nationally.  Instead, we have a series of sites competing to be the next Recruiting.com, or ERE.net, or Fordyce Letter.  There's nothing wrong with these sites gaining traction, but they are once again leaving a niche open.  The top blogs and the top websites are now media organs, passing along information about recruiting technology, conferences, and new products. Where are the recruiters?  Where are the people using social media tools to do more HIRING? 

What's the number one complaint of recruiters who aren't in the super secret blogging cabal?

It seems like you guys are just talking to each other. Is anyone doing any real recruiting?

Now I'm not pointing out any motes in your eye.  There's a log in my own the size of, well, it's large, and there's no doubt that I dropped the recruiting mantle for two years to focus on my marketing business.  But since returning, what I see is a lot of people chasing the social media dream, but not a lot of people focused on making social media relevant to the average recruiter.  The ROI of social media should be more hires, better hires, and easier hires.

Nothing else matters to a recruiter.  Friends on Twitter, Facebook profiles, and podcasts should be tools, not destinations.  And so to close the gap, I'm working on a project that will train recruiters on specific social media tools. No fluff. No cool theories.  Just my experience in using social media to recruit.

For all of the us, the task is clear.  If we're going to talk about social media, we need to be involved in helping recruiters hire more people. It's the metric that matters most, more valuable than page views, advertising dollars, and even conference speeches.

What are you doing to help recruiters hire more people?


Extreme Jim Durbin On Recruiting TV

Bill Vick, a true gentleman and a scholar, interviewed me for Extreme Recruiting TV, and the results can be seen here.  I talk about my work in using social media to recruit.

Jim Durbin - Social Media Consultant
by: vPIP
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Just recently, Bill also interviewed Don Breckenridge, President of Sendouts.com, an Applicant Tracking Software System I use which happens to be based out of St Louis.


Engineers Can Sell

Got a nice note and a plug from a blogger looking to build a website for sales engineers.  He wrote some nice things about me after a conversation earlier this year.

And his blog is cool - and targeted.  Engineers Can Sell, by Eric Bono.

When I was pondering starting this blog I talked to as many people as I could. One gentleman that kept coming up as a recommendation was James Durbin of Durbin Media.  I emailed him for a quote on designing and setting up the blog site for me.

We talked on the phone for about an hour and by the end of the conversation James recommended that I take a stab at designing the blog by myself to not only learn the process, but to reduce costs until I was sure that I had a sustainable Web presence - which can take a year to determine. He further offered to have me email him when I had it set up so that he could take a quick peek and offer any suggestions.

One suggestion, Eric - where's your name on the blog?  It's important to let people know who you are.  For more advice on candidate niche blogs, go read Good Product Manager.


Missouri Hotels Job Blog

I like to poke around with Indeed to see what jobs pop up in blogs and social media, and it led me to this delightful niche recruiting site, Don't you need me in your network?.  Sourcing 4 the Hotel is the url for a recruiter for Hewitt Associates who places people at hotels like Marriott and Residence Inn, and one of those metro areas is St Louis.

That's awesome.  The site has been active since October 2007, and I can only hope that the recruiter is making huge bucks off of it.

It's simple, but it's all you need.  Sometimes, simple is enough


More Webinars Coming Up

I've just set up Online Recruiting Webinars for May, July and August.  These will be hands-on examples of how to 1) use Facebook to recruit, 2) how to use MySpace to Recruit, and 3) how to recruit in a specific geographic area using Social Media (I'll cover, blogs, PPC, Twitter, and several other social media softwares).

We're working out prices but these will be 90 minute webinars.  Keep an eye out for them - no theory in these classes. You'll walk away with specific takeaways on how to use these sites to place more candidates.

May 22,July 21, and August 20th are the three dates, I believe.

And if you're looking for a social media recruiter, check out SocialMediaHeadhunter.com


Four Truths About Hiring Social Media Types

Over at SocialMediaHeadhunter, my new recruiting site for hiring social media types, I write about four truths I've picked up if you're looking to hire someone who knows Facebook, Twitter, Bebu, Sphere, etc.

My favorite Truth is #2, and I imagine it will warm the heart of Michael Kelemen, who probably will be the only one to get the joke. It's full of truthiness.

Truth #2:  Most Social Media Types Are Communists

Okay, communists isn't the right term (although it's eye-catching), but if you're looking for someone with social media experience to help you make money, make sure you ask the social media candidate what experience they have in making money with social media.  They may or may not have dollar figures, but if they have never thought about using social media as a tool to make money, they're probably not a good fit.

This isn't to say that there's anything wrong with using social media for fun or to build  up your brand.  It's great for consultants and small businesses who want to improve their online profile. Corporations usually want more, and vague goals like "communicating with your customers" are usually a sign that the candidate is an excellent social networker, but maybe not someone you want running your department. 

You're paying for results.  The right candidate will be able to tell you how to achieve results with social media.

If you're looking for someone to do your Social Media Recruiting, ask the recruiter who knows social media (that's me.)



A Chance To Buy StlRecruiter.com

This site is called StlRecruiting.com.  It's focus is the overall employment and staffing marketplace in St Louis.  What's been interesting is the number of people over the last three years that call this the StlRecruitER blog.  Time and again, people verbally called it stlrecruiter, and then I found out that people were linking stlrecruitER, so I did the obvious.  I went out and bought the domain name.

So now I own StlRecruiting.com and StlRecruiter, and recruiter forwards to recruiting.

I'm going to continue using this blog to help headhunters, staffing firms, and corporations learn how to use social media to hire, but StlRecruiter should be used by someone actively recruiting in St Louis.  If you're interested in purchasing the domain name, or in purchasing it and learning how to make money with it, contact me at jdurbin@durbinmedia.com.

This offer is only open to active recruiters, staffing firms, and company careers sites.  I don't want to sell the site to someone who will put up ads on it or make it a job board.


Screening Your Staffing Agencies

Hiring a staffing agency is easy.  Simply let the market know you have open positions, and account managers from staffing firms will call you to tell you they can fill you jobs with the best people.

Like most corporate decisions, the time-crunched decision maker is forced to rely on salespeople to decide who is the best fit for the company.  That process isn't going to change, but one that might is the questions that staffing firms are asked before they are given open positions.

Rob Neelbauer of Job Matchbox writes on the subject of questioning your staffing firm before giving them open reqs, and as a former recruiter and current hiring manager/owner, he has a unique perspective.

For example, in my recent interviews of recruiters I spoke with recruiters who represented that they knew all about different things in the tech world.  So I asked them questions that were telling.  I asked them if they used Facebook.  If they said no then I asked them if they knew what Web 2.0.  You would not believe what kinds of answers I got back.  My personal favorite has been the recruiter that doesn’t use Facebook but knows how to recruit Facebook developers.  The bottom line here if you don’t ask then you will not receive.

Now to be fair, salespeople don't have to be on Facebook to recruit Facebook developers.  They have recruiters to do that, and the ability to code Facebook Apps can be found by recruiters with no knowledge of the site.  It is possible, but is it likely?  Robert as a business owner has to make a decision whether to use a recruiter. His cost is his time.  Should he give his time away to a salesperson who doesn't even have  a passing acquaintance with the industry Robert works in?

A good recruiter can find anyone, and I don't buy into the idea that you have to know how to code Java to be a good Java recruiter.  But you do have to know something about software development to be able to screen people effectively.  So Robert passed on those recruiters.

The real question is what is the best method for screening recruiters?  What are the criteria for establishing a good relationship with a firm.  My hunch is that our "hunches" about what makes a good recruiter are dead wrong.  I wonder if anyone has done benchmarking on the actual effectiveness of staffing firms.  What make a strong recruiting fit?


Update:  Rob has further thoughts on Q&A for your Staffing firm.


Using Blogs To Hire Wireless Employees

If I told you to imagine a site called Wirelessjobs.com, you'd probably think it was a job board for the Cell Phone industry.

You'd almost be right.  It's actually the blog of Dennis Smith, the favorite of many recruiting bloggers, who writes on the issues of the wireless industry, and by the way posts jobs and hires people from that.

Dennis has a telling interview with Jason Davis where he says he gets several resumes a week off the blog, and has hired two people for his firm since November.

I joined WorldLink in November, and have made two hires from resumes that came to me directly from WirelessJobs.com.

JD:  Are you kidding?

Me:  No.

JD: Geez, that's excellent!  You need to blog about that!

Me:  Yeah, I know...I've been so busy I haven't been able to dedicate much time to the blog.

JD: Wow.  Do you get resumes every day from the site?

Me: Oh yeah. In fact, so many, that lately it's been difficult to connect with all of them as quickly as usual. But I'm not complaining. My primary goal, when I started blogging, was to use the blog as a tool to connect with the people that are important to me - people that are interested in the wireless industry (whether involved in active job search or not).

You can't argue with progress, my friends.


RehabCare Starts Text Messaging Program With Blast Companies

Rehabcare Group has been running a successful college sourcing blog since August of last year.  Under the leadership of Barbara Wallace, the Campus Relations division of Rehabcare posts content relevant to students in school for occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy.

In addition to thousands of unique visitors, the blog also ranks well for terms like tuition reimbursement, the names of therapy exams, and information relating to Rehabcare.  But it isn't enough for this group.  The Campus Relations division does a lot of traveling to college campuses, where they get involved in career fairs and meet students who could become Rehabcare employees. In today's college environment, just about every student has a cellphone, and many of them aren't using e-mail on a regular basis.

Cellphone use is ubiquitous, and college-aged folks are no exception.  6 in 10 out of all college students have a cellphone (versus 8 in 10 in the general population), and they're used to getting text messages.

So Rehabcare teamed with Blast Companies, a local mobile marketing company that manages lists of customers by their phones, e-mails and mobile numbers.  Blast Companies set up an SMS marketing campaign to use with students that Rehabcare Campus Relations team has met in person.  The goal is continued contact with the students, helping manage the Rehabcare employment message in a medium the students are comfortable with.

Sound crazy?  That's because we're old fogies.  College Recruiters have had to adjust, sometimes working directly with texting to set up interviews, share offers, and even accept offers.  The world is changing, and Rehabcare is adjusting to that change with the help of Blast Companies.

And me?  I'm helping both companies in the social media space, so in the realm of disclosure, it's important you know they are both my clients.  Which is why it's so satisfying to see them working together.  Congratulations Chris and Barbara.