Die-Hard Phone Jockey Arise, Conquer the 21st Century

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Oct 25, 2011

This is the sixth and final installment of our Die-hard Phone Jockey’s Guide to Social Media series. We will now review the conclusions we’ve drawn on the way here, both about the four media we’ve discussed and about the subject of Social Media for Recruiting Power and Performance in general. We’ll do more, though; our analysis will cover four commands that will enable you to remember what we’ve discussed, and they will be your plan for conquest in the twenty-first century. Let’s dive in now!

The Essence of Recruiting, or Life Before Social Media

Have you ever asked yourself what is the essence of your work as a recruiter? Think about it for a moment. If I say that your job is to connect and provide connections, each in a different way, can you guess where I’m leading you? First, it is your job to connect with people directly, yourself. You must connect with candidates and prospective clients. The stronger the connection, the faster and more frequently you can make use of it; and the more consistent you are in doing so, the better your performance will be. But you will never close deals by connecting with people all by yourself in one-to-one relationships. A second connection must be built. You must facilitate the connection of Candidate to Hiring Manager.

Your candidates will ultimately shout, “I QUIT; I AM SOOOO OUT OF HERE!” They will do this even if they were very happy in their previous job — and often, happiness is not what they’re leaving behind. In either case, a new connection is now driving their world.

Your hiring managers emphatically say to your candidates, “You’re hired; when can you get started?” Even if only subconsciously, your Hiring Managers are filled with visions of new progress and better sleep at night, knowing that your Superhero-Candidate has flown in to save the day.

The essence of your work is therefore to connect and provide connections.

But how do you do this? As a die-hard Phone Jockey, the obvious answer is over the telephone. You are a sophisticated business-to-business service provider and a true sales professional of the highest caliber. And in the great old days before voice mail, we could have just given you a local phonebook with business listings and cut you loose. Of course, we also had to be able to provide you with the highest possible caliber of candidates, but there were old-school ways of doing that, too. Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of the pre-new-technology Great Old Days was the manual planning we invested so much effort in. There was no way to manage your day without intense planning. I could make the case that we’ve never replaced the advantages that manual planning provided us, but that is for another day.

Time has left that Great Old World in the dust. While we Old-timers may pine for all we’ve lost, this brave new world is here and demands that we embrace it as professionals. In fact, both the strategy of recruiting success and our daily tactics of execution demand that we build a new mindset, and perhaps even new minds, in order to gain all the power for performance we can right now.

Your Four Great Commands: One from Each Medium

Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum, the Medium IS the Message, has become a cliché, but we dismiss it at our peril. Each medium in our new world not only offers its own essence, it does so in very specific ways as regards recruiting success today. Please understand, please do not forget, the essence of recruiting, to connect and connect, has not changed one iota, and it never will. Consider: there have not always been banks. At some point, banking had to be invented. But from that day forward, there have always been bankers, and there always will be. We can say exactly the same thing about recruiting. Until the innovation of the employer-paid fee, there was no recruiting industry. Since then, there have been and always will be recruiters, just as there will always be bankers. We will always serve the needs of connection. Always.

Social Media, however, have transformed our playing field. They offer the new essence of personal marketing at zero dollar cost. This surely changes the economy of the entire world, not just the recruiting industry. But the fact that it changes our playing field is something we must both face and embrace. The way to do that is, on the one hand, to understand the essences of the various media available to us, and on the other, to understand the essence of their reality in sum. We’ll take them in that order, each medium first, and then we’ll close by looking at their high-order impact on recruiting.

  1. LinkedIn: Make Your Stand
  2. When we analyzed LinkedIn, the most compelling opportunity we found was this: You can create a new kind of trust in the minds and hearts of those you reach out to by utilizing the power of your LinkedIn Recommendations. During the course of your school and business life (if you’re a brand new recruiter), or over the course of your service to Clients and Candidates alike (as a veteran recruiter), you have built up a cadre of raving fans. These fans need to voice the reasons why they believe in you, and they need to express their gratitude to you for all you’ve done for them. By employing LinkedIn’s most powerful feature, the recommendations you collect are the stand you make. They say, “Look at me! I build value. I build the kind of value you need, and I can validate that claim here!” Your recommendations are the stand you make. They are your platform for calling the world’s attention to your accomplishments. By building your collection, you are — one recommendation at a time — making your stand in the business world.

  3. Blogging: Prove Yourself
  4. Today’s term for the asset you need to win your marketing wars is “Domain Expert.” To make your stand, as you do at LinkedIn, is the first step. Blogging empowers a very different point of progress. While I may be utterly blown away by what others say about you, I may still need to understand what you do and how you do it before I can truly believe in your powers. I may need you to prove yourself to me before I can believe what others say about you. Of course, if I’m not impressed by what others say, I’m far, far less likely to care. Once I’ve seen that you have a reputation, though, and if I’m the sort that wants to test you, your performance mastery as shown by your blog is exactly what I’ll be looking for. At your blog, I can see how you prove your knowledge, your savvy, your analysis, the depth and creativity of your insight, and your generosity and good will in sharing. I can see your confidence in your powers of performance. All this reinforces my desire to procure the value that you alone can afford me. Your supreme confidence proves you to me. When you’re ready to prove yourself, blog.

  5. E-mail Marketing: Step Forward
  6. When I want to check you out, I will go find your blog. But what if I haven’t heard of you? My hearing of you used to be a telephone sales call away, and if you’re dedicated enough and good enough at it, cold-call selling can still be useful. But today’s marketing is free of charge, so there’s no excuse for you not to grab hold of all this leverage. Why wouldn’t you want me to know you before you call, when it’s free? In the old days, only institutions could afford marketing. Today we have to consider that total conquest essentially demands that we master the art. If we don’t, we will fail to step forward.

  7. Facebook: Bond Intimately
  8. That technology dehumanizes is conventional wisdom. Everyone knows this. That technology can humanize is not only counter-intuitive, but quite shocking for us Old Timers. What we discover at Facebook is that daily, detailed connection over tiny bits of information is the actual ‘warp and woof’ of human connection in the real world. Think about family dinner. Everyone shares all kinds of stuff about the day. None of it may be that important, but if you miss too many such moments, you end up breaking the bond of human connection. Sadly, too often we simply assume connection. Even more sadly, we are very often utterly wrong in this assumption. To be tied in intimate connection is to bond. This bond, the tie that binds, is the single most important part of human life — love. In business we’re shy and uncomfortable with this word, just like teenagers who “like” each other. As recruiters, though, we must go beyond normal business-speak. When we make the leap to become “Facebook friends” with our Candidates and Clients, we end up transforming the very basis upon which we bond, and we transform the very tie of intimacy connecting us to those we serve.

The Meaning and Significance of Social Media for Recruiters…Today AND Tomorrow

Did you notice as you read through the essence of each medium we’ve analyzed that these commands make for a great program for success in any endeavor? As I’ve meditated upon the significance of these commands, I’ve found they empower three levels of transformation. In conclusion, we’ll examine each of these transformations.

  1. Grow More Powerful
  2. Get Ready to Lead
  3. Become a Better Person
  1. I. Grow More Powerful
  2. At the big picture level, you must realize that collecting and publishing rave reviews of your performance on LinkedIn is a step toward growing greater power. The power of reputation and credibility, validated in public, is incredible. But the other media we’ve analyzed cry out for the same big-picture transformation. Proving yourself, stepping forward, and bonding intimately all demand that you grow your power. Perhaps the greatest challenge here is presented by Facebook. There, it is your very life that people come to see, in public. The vulnerabilities entailed actually demand greater power and greater self-confidence. Business men and women are famously risk-averse. Facebook especially is a dangerous place, where errors and foolishness are published and amplified. So also with email marketing and blogging. In all cases you’re putting it out there, and in order to pull that off, you must grow more powerful.

    In a way this is just like life, though. The truth is we’re all either growing or dying. There are no other options. Today’s social media, when employed by a recruiter, demands that you come to terms with this truth.

  3. Get Ready to Lead
  4. While your email marketing, as the means by which you step forward most aggressively, may seem natural for your new level of leadership, it is really your blog that wins that honor. Think about politics for a moment. Is it not sad that our chosen representatives and leaders so rarely live up to even our so-low-level, cynical expectations of them, let alone their promises? The problem is that they really don’t have to prove themselves. So also in business. So often leadership positions are won, if not by corrupt practices, then more by the luck of the draw than any proven ability to lead. Worse is “The Peter Principle” (if you don’t know it, you should look it up) under which great performers are “rewarded” by being taken away from their best venue and “promoted” into leadership positions where they are unproven. What do people without skills do when put under pressure? Some of them learn and rise to the challenges before them. Most don’t, however. Most either turn nasty or are always running to cover their mistakes.

    The world has always been an empty stage with a live microphone, waiting for a leader to arise. Today’s Social Media is an empty dais with a live microphone, waiting for you to take command. It may seem a bit passive, just sitting there on the Web waiting for people to come find you, but if you build your blog, they will come. So also in all other media today. By readying yourself to lead, by proving yourself and stepping forward, you become the voice that the waiting audience allows into its mind, heart, and soul. Prepare yourself.

  5. Become a Better Person
  6. Sadly, anyone with a loud mouth can lead. The mob adores nothing more than simple stimulus that rouses its worst passions into heated action. If you follow the above demands to grow more powerful and ready yourself to lead, will you be doing a good or a bad thing; a righteous or an evil thing? It all depends on you. To know that your contribution is good, you must be good yourself.

    But what does that have to do with recruiting? There is no more powerful platform for either performance or profit, for contribution and impact on the entire field of business opportunity. No profession has so great a reach. No profession bears quite so heavy a burden. Will we rise to the challenge? Not all of us will — that’s certain. We have our share of charlatans, tricksters, cheats, and misfits. We are not always good business citizens, and we do not police ourselves well. I’m not saying we could or should. But let’s be clear—we don’t.

    You must not fall into these traps. You must become a better person, now and for as long as you recruit. The longer you’re in, the more powerful you will become. As the spoils of your victories flow, the quality of your character must also grow. As we either grow or die, so also we become better or worse.

The natural resting spot for this mandate is your email marketing. When you step forward, when you reach out and intrude with your written message upon an unsuspecting readership, you must provide them with the means to improve their own performance. But there is much more, and there are many additional layers you can drop down as you tread your writer’s path. First, of course, you must speak to and serve the business life of those to whom you write. But as you do, you must remember that they are people too, NOT just business-people. Your ability to serve them both as business people AND as humans demands that you access the very best part of yourself. Here is where you make your stand as a human, demonstrating and proving yourself through your articulated message. And as you bond with your readers, it will be the better you that succeeds best in this mission.

I hope you have enjoyed The Die-Hard Phone Jockey’s Guide series and that you have learned that while this is a phone business, it is always good to take advantage of technical communications channels to whatever capacity you are able. When used properly, they will help lead to more placements over time.

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