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It seems like everyone’s talking about social recruiting these days. There was recently a very impressively put together conference dedicated entirely to the subject. Now the domain name is for sale and everyone seems to be saying that social recruiting is the way to go. Meh.

What I find most interesting is how confused I seem to be on the subject. I started out in recruiting knowing less than nothing and have slowly figured out some of the complexities in the industry thanks to connections I’ve made online, many of which have graduated to physical (actual) relationships. Some of my best friends, colleagues and clients are in my life today because of social media and networking.

And while social media was very helpful in finding candidates, I never set out to use it that way. For me it was always an extension of the marketing portion of my business and I always treated it as such. So it boggles my mind slightly to see something so powerful used to capture candidates, which I always seemed to be able to find in spades. Granted I was never in executive search but still…

Now, I’ve gone on to discover that I’m a better marketer than recruiter, which is all well and good. But since recruiting encompasses both sales and candidate development, let’s look more closely at this social recruiting phenomenon.

So at the Social Recruiting Summit there was a lot of talk about candidates (how to attract them, how to network with them, how to connect with them through mobile devices, the whole shebang) and there was some talk about employees (how they own their own stuff, how to create your personal brand, buiding an authentic voice) and some about social media fancypantses in general (how we should all bend over backwards to engage anyone interested in our personal or professional or corporate brand lest they hate us.) And don’t get me wrong, all of this is valuable and MUCH of it is true. But what about ME?

Yeah, you heard me. You see, I’ve been digging around lately and examining some of the arguments from the old time recruiters and marketers who do nothing but seemingly complain about social media all day long. But that’s not the whole story. When you really pick apart their arguments, it comes down to a very real and sincere question: Is the pendulum swinging too far in one direction?

I think yes. There is too much talk about how to please candidates and not enough talk about how to manage them. There are a lot of presentations about transparency and not so many about market position. There is great postulation about blog comments and not enough about billable hours. Popularity has replaced effectiveness. Which is a crying shame.

Please don’t slam me. I’m all for popularity. Shoot. If it weren’t for Social Media, I would be dictating blog posts to a hot, empty attic in Nebraska. With it, well….tens of you are benefiting from my wisdom.

But the truth is, when communication shifts this unalterably, we need to harness that power for all the aspects of our livelihood. And for recruiters, especially third party ones, half of that livelihood is client dev, sales and marketing. Interestingly, corporate recruiters seem to have gotten this somewhat, finding themselves more wrapped up in “employer branding” than ever before. They find themselves involved in the marketing and sales aspects of HR that they never had to deal with before, which is cool.

I think Social Recruiting is not a fad. I think it currently has an incomplete definition. Here’s a good one though.

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