How “I don’t know you” impacts your candidate engagement

Thank the Lord for caller ID. I probably get at least 2 – 3 calls a day from “unknown” or some crazy number or name I don’t recognize and thank the technology gods for this gift of not answering the phone every time these spammers call my house. No, I am not interested in your chimney sweep services and I am also pretty damn sure “Microsoft Technical Support” would not be calling me at my home about an urgent issue with my computer (I am amazed that there are people still falling for that scam). It’s too bad we don’t have a similar function for everyday human interactions. Perhaps we do though, but we aren’t consciously aware that we are using any kind of filter to decide who we do and don’t interact with? Recruiting is sales (and if you don’t know that stop reading now) and since recruiting has been my gig for over 20 years I have long been fascinated with studying what really great sales people do. Over the last several years I have been thinking about social selling in particular – are sales/recruiting folks who use social effectively better off than those who do not?





I decided to research a bit some data behind social selling because data is all the rage these days with you kids (get off my lawn!). Were sales people who used social (again – effectively) performing any better than their peers who were not? Here’s some quick nuggets of what I found:



  • 98% of sales reps with more than 5000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass quota (Sales Benchmark Index)
  • 78% of salespeople using social media perform better than their peers (Forbes)
  • 62% of salespeople who do not use inbound social selling miss their quotas (The Aberdeen Group)



Also, there’s this:


  • 92% of buyers will delete emails and voicemails from people that they don’t know  (Sales Benchmark Index)



And then this:


  • 82% of prospects can be reached via social media. (Sales Benchmark Index)



Which got me thinking if there were parallels to draw to recruiting. My friend and Talent superstar J.T. O’Donnell surveyed over 1,000,000 candidates both active and “passive” (hate that word with the power of 10,000 Death Stars) and asked them lots of great questions, My biggest take-away from her survey was this:



  • Over 76% of candidates said they would like to know more about a recruiter before they decide to apply to an open position



Over 750,000 of 1,000,000 candidates said they want to know more about US before even deciding to apply (or respond to your terrible inmails or shitty job posts). Irony,  you sweet yet cruel mistress. We sit at our desks daily looking at resumes, deciding who we talk to, and low and behold the same exact thing candidates are doing to us. Let’s look a little deeper here – what, according to this survey – do they want to know about us first?




Here are the top 4 reasons:

  • Get a leg-up on the hiring process.
  • Get an inside view on the company.
  • Determine a way to stand out.
  • See if the recruiter is “qualified” to recruit for my skill set




Soooo – back to my caller ID rant earlier. What the heck does this have to do with that Ed? Well – look at the social selling numbers. Why are those who are effectively (need to emphasize that) using social, according to these surveys, more effective than those who do not? Because, much like caller ID, being “social” allows for us as buyers to move past the “I don’t know you” phase a lot easier and faster. No one ever willingly WANTS to be sold to, yet I can bet most, if not all of you would answer a call from someone you know, right? Social media allows sales people (recruiters too) to chip away at the immediate wall people put up when they don’t know who you are or what your intentions may be. In other words, it helps open the door.  Now – for the candidate piece, they want to know who we are first based on this survey data. What if we chipped away at that wall before even reaching out to them for a role? What if, for example, candidates I wanted to connect with knew I was a big geek, was really loving working at my company and had been there for a while and seen lots of employee success stories, and was someone who actually knew about and participated in conversations and events that their skills and experience are relevant for? I am willing to bet those horrible inmail and “cold call” response rates would increase. Just a hunch. Now – I am not saying Social Media is the “be all end all” elixir, but you do have to be where your audience is. I also believe just as strongly in attending events, conferences,meetups, etc. It is all part of getting past “I don’t know you” or in other words, every individuals’ “gate keeping” mechanism.





I have said it countless times but will say it again – I believe recruiting is the hardest sell in all of business. We are selling lives, identities and livelihoods. Huge stakes at hand. Understanding this, people buy from people. As the person in your organization who is more likely than not reaching more people on a daily basis than almost anyone else in your company, how you represent yourself (or not) can dramatically effect your ability to get those “sales”. Think about who you want to engage with, what matters to them, and how you want to be perceived. These are the basic starting blocks to getting better engagement. Stop with the shitty “URGENT REQUIREMENT” posts, spamming user groups and candidate shaming/inside industry memes. A job is not “HOT” (for the love of God end that shit now). Remember, your audience is looking at you too. Maybe your next candidate outreach will be a caller ID they want to answer.



Posted on January 24, 2017 in candidate experience, Instagram, job posting, Recruiting, Social Media, talent acquisition, unemployment

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