Dark Side of the Moon

Oct 13, 2011
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

The Dark Side of the Moon’s themes include conflict, greed, the passage of time … —Wikipedia

To be critical of social media, in any and all formats, sentences the writer to one of three modalities:

  1. You are a geezer
  2. You do not get it
  3. You are in the way of progress

Wrong on all counts. We are thinkers and evaluators first — recruiters or whatever a distant second. Armed with only our experience and limited time to get things done, we must question how we spend that time every single day. Time wasted equals fewer hires — and fewer hires devalues our existence.

Let me jump in hard and fast. Social media is big, firestorm big, and it seems to be everyone’s favorite child. As such, it has rapidly permeated almost everything we see and do on a daily basis. I am not opposed to this. One can’t be “opposed” to social media but I will tell you to what it is I am opposed.

  • I am opposed to the lack of critical discourse — the lack of careful analysis and review that surrounds social media as a tool for effective recruiting. I see fun and excitement and new and cool. I need a more balanced perspective for evaluation.
  • I am opposed to universal acceptance of a format that has not yet developed its chops — demonstrated a significant track record of accomplishment as it relates to ROI with investment being our time.
  • I am opposed to those who accept it more as a religion than a methodology to achieve results. Personally, I see it as a business tool, nothing more. Furthermore, I have concerns that the mixture of recruiting and social media — neither of which has a bar to entry — might often have more sizzle than steak.

As I write this, Google is rolling out a new social media platform, Facebook is under fire as many users eviscerate it for recent changes, LinkedIn requests are endless, and Twitter is has morphed into a circus.

Chris Brogan, founder of Human Business Works, writes that if you have to ask what the ROI on social media is, you just don’t get it. In this brave new world of overnight gurus, on fire social networking divas, and badass hipsters who intend to change the world, I still look for ROI because I am a capitalist. I need to see the money. Even in a world gone mad with celebrity rage and unacceptable behavior as the norm, one thing remains constant: people will spend money in exchange for value … less so if they do not see the value. It is critical for us as recruiters to remember that the value we bring are hires, not connections. How we spend our time is critical because time is money.

We must understand that social media is in its infancy. The next five years will generate explosive growth that will require critical judgment and consideration to ascertain real world value. Each of us needs to determine what works for us and what is just cute. Allow me three points of reference:

  1. Measurable value. Where, exactly and specifically, is the concrete value that supports our organizational objectives? (Tweeted that HR job 16 times over the last 13 days with no takers. When do you stop? Why do you stop?)
  2. Our bandwidth is limited. Bob Seger said it best. “Deadlines and commitments; what to leave in and what to leave out.” We only need the tools that result in real-world deliverables that justify our existence. Connecting is easy. Delivering is not that easy.
  3. Beware the experts. Beware the seductive promise of the tool and the technique that will “revolutionize” the recruiting/HR community often promulgated by those who are self proclaimed and often know little of our business and its unique problems. (See “What’s Up With The CelebutaHRd” for brilliant perspective.)

To me, social media is a grand adventure but it can be a time sink. I have no problem with this but to even the most untutored of us must see that if we try to keep up with endless conversations and threads and tweets on endless groups we will soon have to make a choice. To build our careers or to build our networks. Can do both? Maybe. I am simply not sure.

We face dangerous times ahead and navigating our destiny will not be easy. We must now deal with a world economy that is fragile, a government that is gridlocked, and poverty returning to the United States in frightening numbers. Divided, we will not stand. Unproductive, we will not stand. Ineffective, we will not stand. How we spend our time is the last best way to control our success and ultimately our destiny.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!