How Recruiters Use Technology to Build Personal Relationships

By Aliah D. Wright May 31, 2016

Recruiting is hard.

It’s even harder when you’re not using the latest technologies efficiently to find highly skilled candidates, recruiting expert Katrina Collier told attendees at Recruit DC, a conference for recruiters held recently at the George Washington University.

Collier, an Australian social recruiting specialist and trainer who operates her own company, The Searcholigist, from Great Britain, advised attendees to move past e-mails, Twitter responses, and LinkedIn requests to make meaningful and personal connections with the highly skilled candidates they’re trying to recruit.

The highly skilled—such as those in the technology industry—are generally inundated with job offers.

“Technology has enabled laziness,” she said, and “created noise.”  E-mails are sent to people offering jobs they’re not interested in. “Personalization” is woefully lacking. Simply broadcasting job openings lacks engagement. Showing screenshot after screenshot of these practices, Collier shared the dos and don’ts of social media recruiting and sourcing for talent with nearly 400 conference attendees.

The gist: Instead of sending e-mails, “get to know people,” she said.

She pointed to the tale of a “hilarious” e-mail sent from Google recruiter Weston Fillman to Australian computer programmer Paul Fenwick. On May 10, 2016 Fenwick tweeted, “Holy smokes. A Google recruiter sent me an e-mail using the skills listed on my LinkedIn profile. It is gold.” The skills listed weren’t exactly focused solely on programming. They also included his love of Nyan Cat costumes and telling people they’re wrong.

Fillman told the online news publication Quartz: “I sent [the e-mail] to Paul in a creative effort to get in touch and play off his apparent sense of humor, which was found on his LinkedIn profile. It took him almost a year to respond, but I’m glad he did.”

Fenwick may have seen the interaction as laughable, but to Collier, it’s a step in the right direction.

“Automation,” Collier said, “is not engagement.” Rather than use automated tools to “spit your jobs out,” take the time to get to know people as Fillman did. While tools like connectifier and can help recruiters find candidates’ e-mails and other social data, recruiters also need to be savvy and observe candidates’ publically available profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Friending them on Snapchat and other social sites doesn’t’ hurt either.

And when using Twitter, “if you’re going to thank someone, use their handle, but don’t tell them what to do as in ‘connect with me on LinkedIn.’ ” It’s disrespectful. It’s noise,” she said, and candidates don’t appreciate it. “If you don’t believe me, look up #recruiterfail on Twitter. It’s seriously entertaining.

Collier offered the following tips to make meaningful connections:

  1. Be someone worth talking to. Your LinkedIn title should reflect what you do, she said, pointing to recruiter Tom Risley’s LinkedIn profile. His title? Recruiting the Best Talent for National Express.
  2. Get recommendations from people you’ve recruited.
  3. Tighten up your privacy protections on Facebook. Click on the padlock on your Facebook page and give yourself a privacy checkup, she said. “Please set your future posts to “’friends’”—just in case your friends make derogatory public comments. Go over to photos and check the privacy settings on those, too.
  4. Go to your company’s careers site and try to apply for a job. If it takes more than a few minutes, examine your mobile apply process. Globally, “job seekers take one to two hours filling out job applications, so please be really respectful of them. Take time to consider the time it takes to apply for a job.”
  5. Give people something to read. “Blog. They are looking at you whether you like it or not.”
  6. Open the door on Instagram. “It is incredibly popular around the globe. It’s the second largest social networking platform. Show people what it’s like to work at your job.” She suggested using the If This Than That tool: “It’s a recipe to take your images straight from Instagram to Twitter.”
  7. Use Repost App. It can help you share Instagram photos from your corporate accounts and give credit to the original poster, she said.  “You can take someone else’s Instagram photo and re-share it. For example, what “CA technologies has done is created the hashtag #lifeatCA and [employees] can follow it and re-share photos from the company there.”
  8. Be easy to follow on Twitter. “Fill out your bio. You have 6 seconds to get someone’s attention,” she said. “Magic happens on Twitter. Inject some personality [in your tweets] as well. It’s Twitter--you’re allowed to have fun.”
  9. Share interesting updates about your company.
  10. Converse appropriately. Be nice. Be genuine. Be courteous. “This is what social media is—getting people’s trust so they will apply for that job.”
  11. Invest in technology to help you corral a candidate’s social postings all in one place.
  12. Be responsive. When a candidate responds about wanting to work at your company on your Facebook page or careers site or other open forums online, respond. If there are negative comments on review sites, respond. If you don’t respond, “You’re making all this effort to build talent pools and then you’re ignoring them,” Collier said.
  13. Call people. “Please use the phone– except with developers,” who are often inundated.

“Phone people,” she said. Why? “Because nobody does. Being old school wins.”

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.


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