We recruiters have a tough reputation these days. Google “ Recruiters are” and see the top results that come up. Ouch. Ask your friends and colleagues about their experiences with recruiters and see what they have to say. Double Ouch. I am sure to most of the non-recruiter world, the image they conjure up when they hear the term “recruiter” is something akin to a used car salesman in really tacky clothing, with an awful mustache and slicked-back hair to boot. Not good. There certainly has been a movement to change a lot of these perceptions over the past few years, what with candidate experience, employment branding and personal branding initiatives gaining momentum. Social media has allowed for a lot of really great opportunities for improvement on these perceptions to large audiences for those of us who use these channels smartly. Unfortunately, a lot of my fellow recruiters seem to have taken these new channels and platforms and used them to take a big stinking $#!+ on them and perpetuate a lot of the negative things people typically associate with recruiters. Here’s the thing – we are in the business of attraction. If you are actually pushing people away, I consider it a big fail on this business endeavor. I truly believe that we are in a great business, and doing LOTS of good stuff too. That is why I have been using the #wecandobetter and calling out some of the examples I am about to share with you. We CAN do better, and if we all do, we can help shape the narrative about our profession and actually be better at our jobs as a result. Here are some examples I see daily of recruiters behaving badly with explanations as to why they are not helping the reputation of recruiters everywhere.
1. The “Inside Industry Joke” post
Let’s think this through for a second. You are a recruiter. You are on social media to connect with and communicate with potential candidates and to network. What better way to endear yourself to this audience than to publicly shame them? Another point here – it is literally posted 4 – 5 time daily, with different images for the meme but same sentiment. Do you really want your network to see you this way? Think like a sales person. What if a sales person posted this, but instead of a candidate posted “When a customer tells you they are backing out on the PO they signed”. What would your opinion be of that sales person as a potential customer? If you want to complain about this type of stuff, do it with your peers – not to the very audience you are trying to build rapport with.
2. The Spamming of Social (AKA you blast jobs constantly with robotic messaging)
Again – it is important to remind everyone that social media is not just a bigger job board. The reason people network with you, connect with you and interact with you is not to be blasted nonstop with spam like job postings. If you are too lazy to write a compelling message, then I say better not to post at all. Guess what? People know the difference between a canned template and the real deal. Even worse is when you post jobs with titles that use internal lingo that mean nothing to potential candidates. “Engineer level III” is an example and about as bad as they come – but just one of several examples I see constantly. The “Now Hiring!” messages feel and look like spam. Now I ask you – does this honestly work for you? Do you actually track lots of candidates coming from these update postings on social with this kind of presenation? If so, I stand corrected, but my hunch is that the real answer is a big fat no. Social is not a one-way street. Share, post articles of meaning, participate in conversation, and if you must post jobs do it WAY less frequently. Funny thing happens when you act like a human on social media – people actually respond. People want to talk to other people – not machines. Another thing is WHEN YOU POST JOBS IN ALL CAPITALS YOU LOOK CRAZY. Every job opportunity is not “exciting” and the more exclamation marks you post doesn’t make it so. Extra bonus for bad form – posting jobs like the above and not even using your own logo, but the logo of the tool you are using. Bullhorn Reach sure seems to be doing a lot of hiring these days! The best was when I saw someone with the title of “social media expert” post one like this. Ummm – no. No you are not.
3. Let’s ruin the blog/publishing thing for everyone!
When LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to the world, I thought it was awesome. As someone who hates the term “thought leader” with the fire of 10,000 suns, I longed to hear from regular Joes and Julies about industry trends, new tech, etc. This did happen – which is good. What also happened was that recruiters took this new forum and said, “Hey – I can also post jobs as blog posts too!”. So – not only are we spamming everyone’s feed with a nonstop barrage of robot language job updates, but now we have turned something that was once promising into another way to spam people, this time with more words. As in point 2 – if my fellow recruiters think this is working for them then by all means keep at it. I would also venture to guess here that it does not – and even worse, this kind of behavior will eventually force LinkedIn to close the platform and make it only available to, you know, actual bloggers.
4. Math problems and Cat posters
Last one for this post, I promise. If you are a recruiter and posting these “solve if you are a genius” math problems or “what is the first word you see” puzzles then please “unfriend” me immediately. I am not joking here. There is always a place for fun, yes – even on LinkedIn – but this has become an epidemic and it is literally turning the audience away from sites like LinkedIn that you actually, you know, want to be there and networking with. I have been tweeting about this for months, with the #savelinkedin, and I mean it. If this trend continues and all people see are “Hang in there” memes and math problems then guess what will ultimately happen? People will leave and LinkedIn will lose it effectiveness for you as a recruiter. Same goes for your networks on other social channels too.
Fellow recruiters – #wecandobetter. I am sure none of us want to be perceived the way we are currently as an industry. Your behavior on social, while not the be all end all (you actually have to be a good recruiter too), is a good place to start.