Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Is Social Networking Numbing Our Audience?
June 25, 2008, 8:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research, Thoughts

For those of us who work in the world of recruiting, we have been blessed with numerous new resources for name gathering and communication – the various social networking sites to which we belong. We sing their praises because of the ease with which we can now find people to fill our open positions. All we need to do is search our networks tofind these people, and then leave them a message on the site.

There is, however, a downside to this newfound ease in communication. The InMails, the friend invites, the notes we can leave for people, is it all too easy? What do our prospects think of the influx of recruiter outreach?

I’ve heard from a couple of senior level executives that social network outreach is a daily occurrence for them, numbering up to 5+ notes every day that they receive from recruiters. Others I’ve spoken with say they are contacted on a regular weekly basis, and still others several times each month. What do prospects think of this? Of course there are some who enjoy it; it makes them feel important, special, wanted, valued, however you want to describe it. A lot of folks however describe their feelings toward social network recruiter outreach with indifference, saying that they usually delete the notes before reading them (keep in mind that this is unofficial information – gathered only through conversations I’ve had with people and not in any formal format).

There are those as well who, being networkers themselves, take the time to read a few of the notes received from recruiters and either respond or pass them along to their networks. These are good people to know; however, don’t abuse your relationship with these folks by sending a lot of irrelevant openings to them to pass along. You don’t want to wear out your welcome, after all!

(As an aside to this, how many folks tell you they will pass an opening on to their network, but never do? It’s kind of like the promised prayer to actual prayer ratio isn’t it?)

So, with the increase of ease in reaching out, are we in fact alienating the very audience we desire to reach? Hey, I’m certainly not excluding myself here! As a researcher, my networks have become invaluable tools for me, especially when it comes to contact verification.  But I personally think that, if you rely heavily on this method of contact, it is important to personalize your outreach to people. Make sure they know that you took the time to find out a little about them.

I’d like to encourage discussion of this topic via comment. Please share your thoughts on the matter by leaving a comment on this post. Do you think social networks have jaded our audiences? Do you think social networks have encouraged greater interaction between recruiter and prospect? As well, how do you think you can make yourself stand out in the crowd from all the other boilerplate notes that your prospects are receiving?

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I think social networks are a great tool to gather data. As far as making an introduction is concerned, you need to pick up the phone and connect with people live. I’ve received several correspondences from recruiters via Linkedin to either consider a position or assist them with a search. to be quite honest, the level of professionalism and genuine interest I perceived in their messages was minimal at best. In fact it seemed more like an generic solicitation rather than a professional introduction. If it does not interest someone like me who is motivated to network, how in heck is going to interest those that aren’t so?

Comment by Bill Ward

I agree with Bill. I work hard to make sure that all inmails and emails are personalized and as detailed as possible. I too read them all, and many are steps away from being spam. That goes for calls also! How you sound and speak on the phone goes a long way in your sourcing efforts, doesn’t it?

Comment by Noel Cocca

Social Networking sites are great for gathering names and collecting a little info about your potential candidates. But you have to use that info to personalize the message you deliver when you call. As a recruiter, I use those sites to build my candidate list, not to build my network. I wouldn’t consider sending a mass email from a site like LinkedIn because that feels like spam.

Comment by Cathy McCullough




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