Social Recruiting and Universal Truths

srs-logoI’m so excited to chair the upcoming #socialrecruiting summit. If you are like me, you are telling your friends and colleagues about the upcoming event in NYC. If you are like me, you have to stop and explain exactly what social recruiting means in the talent management world.

Michael Specht wrote a great post, several months ago, with a simple and concise definition of social recruiting.

  • Using social media tools as part of recruiting.
  • Building a community of potential candidates.
  • Engaging with candidates as people not numbers.

Can anyone do better than that? Do we have a universal definition for the act of social recruiting?

When you talk about social recruiting as a construct, I want to know how you define it. Do you leave off the word social and just use the broader term of recruiting? Is ’social recruiting’ something so unique that it still requires a separate definition, or is it ubiquitous enough in our industry that it’s embedded in your daily operations and recruiting strategy?

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I’d love to know what you think. The comments are open…

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on


Laurie Ruettimann (LFR) is a former Human Resources leader turned influential speaker, writer and strategist. She owns a human resources consultancy that offers a wide array of HR services to human resources leaders and executives. Check out her LinkedIn profile here. You may know Ruettimann as the creator of The Cynical Girl and Punk Rock HR (retired), which Forbes named as a top 100 website for women. You may have also read her book, I AM HR: 5 Strategic Ways to Break Stereotypes and Reclaim HR. (RepCap Press, 2014.) 


8 Comments on “Social Recruiting and Universal Truths

  1. Social Recruiting – bringing the identity-sharing process that makes social media successful to a job recruiting space shared by talent, companies, and other stake-holders.

    What do you think?

  2. Laurie, I don’t use the term “social recruiting” to define a unique construct, nor do I personally use the term. I do believe, however, a separate distinction is warranted in today’s business environment. Although we live in a culture immersed in social media, generational norms have inhibited comprehensive adoption of social networking tools and concepts. While I believe this is slowly but surely eroding – heck even my wife’s 85 yr old grandfather is using Facebook now – more time is needed before social media and recruiting are ubiquitous and embedded in daily recruiting operations. I have F250 clients who have still not developed a social media strategy, and although they believe it is important, their recruiters are still using traditional search methods.

  3. @Jeff That’s pretty good. I’ll take it. I hate the word stakeholders, though. It’s too corporate in a medium that eschews corporate formalities. 😉

    @Sean Good reminder that social recruiting isn’t as ubiquitous as those in the bubble might assume. I keep hearing that F100 companies want to see more than just social media strategies: they want to understand how their systems and processes will comply with OFFCP standards, the ADA, jobs for veterans, affirmative actions plans, etc. They want a big company to get audited and cited so they can learn from that company’s mistake. Oy!

  4. I think people are mistaking the current incarnation of “social recruiting”. Most of what I’ve seen on the web is nothing more than social “sourcing”.

    To me, recruiting is an end-to-end process that culminates in the presentation of a slate of screened, assessed, qualified and interested candidates to a client (internal or external). Merely getting candidates to populate an ATS or inbox as they apply for a position they found on LinkedIn, Twitter of Facebook (or any other social venue) does not ease the recruiter’s burden of sifting through the digital piles of resumes – hoping to find a presentable candidate or two. I’ve seen this first hand when I ran Talent Acquisition at AOL. I can tell you first hand that this is especially true as you move up the organizational chart.

    What we’ve done with BusinessElite is build a Social Recruiting Platform – one that not only leverages the recruiter’s social/professional networks in a more strategic manner but also those of recruiting “stakeholders” (and yes, I like using that term as it adequately represents the interests of hiring managers, et al). But, we’ve moved beyond the social sourcing aspects by integrating into our platform our own matching technologies that stack-ranks candidates based on scoring their backgrounds against a scored position spec and also using our own leadership impact assessment to help make the best matches.

    I will be blogging about this in more detail over time. In the interim you can see how BusinessElite works by visiting our site.

  5. Hi – feel free to check out my earlier attempt to define social recruiting

    A 1969 painting entitled Street Corner , by artist Richard Killeen that I saw recently got me thinking about what constitutes social recruiting and a social recruiting platform. In the painting you will note each person in the crowd appears disconnected from those around them, or as described by the painter himself “… the paradox of being anonymous but part of a group.” Does there actually need to be conversation, and a sense of community, between members to be called social recruiting and a social recruiting platform? Or does direct conversation between employer and recruiters constitute social recruiting? I don’t know the answer, but the picture has got me thinking deeper about all this stuff.

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