#SocialRecruiting 1976-present day. About People Not Technology.

What is ‘Social Recruiting’?, I asked,  in 2010 one of my first ever blogs. As I read it today, I could write the same words in most part – with the same consistency of thought. In fact I utter many of the same words now. I also refer to the start of my recruitment career in 1994, and claim fairly, that I was a ‘social recruiter’ then too. I also hat tip Angela Mortimer, who was also doing the same in 1976. She was absolutely a social recruiter. And I bet there are more before her.

child laptop blog

The reason? Well, because only one thing has changed. (besides my 1994 hairline & waistline). That thing is technology. And because of technology, we have turned social recruiting into a circus of misdirection.

The thing that has never changed, is people. Recruitment is about People. By nature, Social Recruiting is even more so, about people. 

So when I read a blog or watch a talk or seminar on Social Recruiting, where the words ‘Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram’ etc, dominate the content – I am frustrated. You’ll see that I very rarely talk about platforms. Platforms are vehicles, different modes of transport, avenues of access, and providers of increasingly helpful analytics for website & applicant traffic measurement.

But social recruiting isn’t about Twitter, etc. It’s about people. Yet we recruiters seem to be entrenched in a technology fog, where our natural instinct to develop potent relationships, trust and gain face to face credibility; is shrouded by the need to consider technology & platforms first, and thus instils fear in the many who fail to see the point of social media channels and the like at first sight; or conversely it all provides opportunities for others to make recruitment a short-cut process where relationships and human interaction are no longer necessary.

I would much rather hear from people who talk about human behaviour, understanding audiences, how the digital age has changed our inclinations and actions in job seeking, networking, social media use, and human interaction; and how we can apply that to the way attract talent. Off the back of *that* we can choose our technology carefully, and consider the channels in which we need to operate – and how. Not based on a cut-and-paste ‘How To…’ guide, but tailored in correlation with our specific audiences, talent markets and influencer & advocate networks.

So recruiters, please don’t get caught up in the confusion around social recruiting being about multiple sources of tech, and a time drainer. Instead, it’s a terrific opportunity and network enabler – and why it should compliment what you do already, with many of the skills you already have and employ.

There’s a reason the word ‘Social’ exists in Social Recruiting. It needs people to be social. Technology is optional.

Welcome thoughts.


Steve Ward is an award-winning Social Recruiting Strategist, who as well as continuing to partly be a front-line digital recruiter; is now an advisor, mentor, trainer to recruitment teams on using social media effectively in talent attraction and recruitment marketing. Contact me if I can help your business. 

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