Social Media Recruiting Fatigue

Social media recruiting has been core to what I do for years. It ranks second to the phone as my most important tool.

I know how many folks visit my blog every day. I pay attention to Twitter follows/unfollows. I have a Twitter list with 3,000+ Minnesota IT pros paying attention to it on a semi regular basis. I rank on the first page of Google for all the keywords important to me. I am running a set of Facebook ads next week and have an idea for some simple videos for my startups.

I am not tired of recruiting or social media … I am tired of the commentary.

We are well into the fall season of state SHRM and recruiter conference season or what I prefer to call it, “silly season.” The volume and frequency of these conversations has increased and my attitude is not getting any better.

The past weeks and months I have seen LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter status updates and blog updates from conferences and “thought leaders” that have made me say, “Oh no, they didn’t say that.”

Things like:

  • Social media is making it so we don’t have to talk with candidates anymore.
  • LinkedIn company pages are more important than company websites.
  • There is nothing wrong with just tweeting jobs.
  • When sourcing and recruiting on LinkedIn, you should always have others see you as “Anonymous.”
  • Everyone needs to be branding their company on Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Follow those people on Twitter you will want to recruit. If they don’t follow you back it’s OK to unfollow them.
  • Recruiting on social media sites is free.
  • Replace traditional job posts with infographics … people like visual things.
  • Posting photos of company culture on Instagram will bring you more candidates.

If you find yourself reading one of these posts or attending a conference and feel skeptical about what you are hearing, ask the writer/speaker questions … engage with them.

Here are a few to start with:

  • How do they know?
  • What are the metrics?
  • How has traffic, engagement, resumes received, number of interviews, and ultimately hires increased?
  • Can you quantify in any way how this has helped employer branding?
  • What does the A/B testing show?
  • Show me an example of how this can work for a company like mine.

Here’s the deal…

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Using social media sites as a sourcing, recruiting, and branding tool goes back many years now, so we should have examples of how it is done. And examples should have evolved beyond using Facebook, Google, Zappos, and similar companies.

Frankly it’s too easy to use them.

We should now be hearing about the 250-person manufacturing company outside of Tulsa, the web development shop in Minneapolis, and how a med device startup in Detroit used a tool to source their new hires.

If not, then we need to question if and how social media is really working for your average, common company.

Take away …

Ask those commentating on social media and recruiting to prove it.

Paul DeBettignies, better known online as Minnesota Headhunter, is a Minnesota Recruiter, Evangelist, and Advisor, who builds teams with startups and tech companies, and creates recruiting strategies for Fortune 500 clients. He’s also the author of Minnesota Headhunter, the longest running regional recruiter blog.

Paul is a frequent local and national speaker, trainer and subject matter expert on recruiter, HR, career, networking and social media topics. Activities include presentations at Twin Cities Startup Week, Google for Entrepreneurs, Michigan Recruiters Conference, MN HR Tech Expo, Social Media Breakfast, University of Minnesota, Target, CHS, MinneBar and ERE and interviews with NPR, WCCO AM (CBS) Radio & TV, KARE TV (NBC), MSP Business Journal, Minneapolis StarTribune and

Paul is involved in the Minneapolis and St Paul technology, marketing, and social media communities as a sponsor, volunteer, and mentor and is the founder of Midwest Recruiting Bootcamp.




13 Comments on “Social Media Recruiting Fatigue

  1. I feel that a number of people are looking for a quick and easy way to find candidates. Social Media has been added to the long list of sure fire methods.

    Most “strategists” have lost sight of how people look for jobs. They still think that if we build it they will come.

    We no longer recruit people, we engage them. To accomplish this we need all of the above rather than one single approach. Each person, whether active or passive, has a different job search strategy. To be successful, Recruiters need to be where the candidate are.

  2. Paul,

    Well said. Too easy to just say “oh yeah we do social recruiting” these days. It’s a cop out, and those companies that look at the data behind it and way ahead of the curve. nice piece.

  3. Excellent post Paul
    I am sure if you looked at a graph of content creation over the last 6 to 7 years you would see that the curve would be proportionally steeper and steeper today being almost at a vertical angle.
    Everybody (or almost) is blogging, commentating, sharing, expressing, ‘providing insight and/or opinion’ or simply flooding the Internet with ‘stuff’
    Where it started out as relatively high amount of valuable content, we are now approaching that 90-95% for most people is irrelevant, and only a true tiny proportion of use.
    At the same time we are now into 3rd or in some instances 4th generation of social media, long gone are the ‘let’s try and see’ to now being 100% tried, tested and proven.
    For that reason anything that has no quantifiable or qualitative data to back it up, simply cannot be considered.
    You have a whole range of people who have made a living out of attempting to see into the future and to predict about what may or may not be coming, 85% of it utter rubbish and with no substance.
    On the basis of all this and due to the volume of what is coming through it requires a huge amount of sound skepticism and questioning to sift through what is being presented and to make use of what of value and discard the rest.

    So it is totally understandable that ‘fatigue’ is setting in and a lot of people either keeping away and/or switching off (growing early evidence that some people taking themselves off places like LInkedin as they are being ‘spammed’ by recruiters and others, and simply had enough)

    This ‘fatigue’ will only get more and more widespread as the true value content become watered down by the vast amount of spam and irrelevant stuff being distributed, and place the more emphasis and need for either only providing highly data supported evidence and/or only content that may be totally relevant to the target groups it is aimed at.

    Looking at another recent ere discussion; ‘Cold Calling Is Still Hot’ and the comments, it is clear that anyone trying to come out with data that does not match up will be told so very quickly and very directly.

    All above a great pity really, as never before has there in fact been more opportunities, more tools, more evidence of proven success and channels that do yield substantial advantages and short cuts, being often 30-40% more efficient and faster in providing solutions than just 2-3 years ago, but often being ‘drowned’ by 85% nonsense and noise making it impossible ‘seeing the wood for the trees’

  4. @ Jacob:
    “For that reason anything that has no quantifiable or qualitative data to back it up, simply cannot be considered.”
    If we limited discussion on ERE and elsewhere by requiring claims to be supported by verifiable facts and not by merely stating them, there’d be hardly anything to read. How would self-promoting snake-oil peddlers be able to make a dollar or pound, now and then? How would pompous and arrogant “Self Proclaimed Recruiting Thought Leaders” be able to “strut their stuff” and get more work? How would I be able to annoy, exasperate, and occasionally mildly amuse so many of our Gentle Readers?

    We shouldn’t view recruiting truth and objectivity as an expectation; we should rather view it as a tiny diamond hidden in a giant cesspool or septic tank, one which grows without end, soon to overflow the entire world….

    Keith “A Bit Over the Top” Halperin

  5. Ha-ha Keith, I thought about making a reference to you in respect to ‘this is a subject that for sure has Mr Halperin waiting in the wings’ and sure as the sun rising in Africa, there you are, sharp and acidic as always, good to see 🙂 Yes it is all becoming too much and the cesspit reference is not that far off, – sadly

  6. Thanks Jacob. Yes, I wait in my corner like a viper in his tree- ready to bite! But seriously, I think the ease and availability of internet media has allowed more and more people to publically express themselves, and there’s no indication that there’s been a general increase in the quality and veracity in writing, so we see lots and lots of garbage out here. About 25 years ago, I read a book that took place in 2038 and the equivalent of the internet had something like a universal fact-checker algorithm to analyze what people said and wrote. Until we have something like that, I fear we’ll just have to go ahead as we usually do: wading through the muck to find what we already agree with….


  7. Awesome post. I want to know how these people can be an expert at something they have only done for 6 months. I bet very few of these experts know or have participated in a chat room back in the day.

  8. @ Derek: An expert is defined as “someone who has given three (allegedly) correct answers on a given topic…..”

    -Keith “Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad” Halperin

  9. @keith Love it. Just want to know who the person is judging is all. Seems like the line moves an awful bit to me. DZ derdiver

  10. @ “derdriver”

    “Just want to know who the person is judging is all.”
    Don’t we all want to know that?

    Happy Friday,

  11. So true Paul…..just came back from the HRExpo in Las Vegas, NV and heard many of these tag lines from the vendors in the exhibit hall. Which was exhausting, having owned/operated and since sold one of the largest SAP Centric consulting companies in the US I know from experience that recruiting success comes from real relationships you have with the candidates. New and old relationships that need to be managed and maintained. Social recruiting is the new phone book the rest of the puzzle still has to be solved with by people interacting with each other. This doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to be more effective and efficient using technology, there are. Just means Social Recruiting by itself is the be all, end all solution.

  12. Great post Paul. There is too much fluff and not enough hard data. People are gobbling up tools without the discipline a consumer marketer would have s they evaluate success vs. failure. It is not enough to just buy the tool and tick the check box.

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