Don’t Be a Social Recruiting Zombie: Etiquette tips for the savvy recruiter

Sep 4, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 12.13.54 PMNobody likes a zombie. Even if it’s a zombie bearing a job opportunity.

But with the rise of social recruiting channels, many recruiters find themselves transitioning from a more formal candidate-recruiter interaction mode to something more akin to the wild, wild, west … where the etiquette and norms haven’t been 100 percent fleshed out yet.

And as such, recruiters find themselves trying to adapt to a new venue with its, own evolving set of norms.

Don’t be a zombie. Be human and thoughtful.

Although it may seem very much a “duh” suggestion, a good rule of thumb for social recruiting is to act like someone at a nice lunch networking event.

Be polite. Be thoughtful. Be humorous. Be yourself. Be human. Don’t be a zombie.

But sometimes this can be difficult when transitioning from a world of formally written, OFCCP-compliant job descriptions that are then broadcast across job boards and aggregators, or mass-emails to a CRM full of candidate resumes, to the emerging social landscape.

Candidates are not hanging out on social media crossing their fingers to have an employment conversation. The idea that recruiters are on social media, posting opportunities, and proactively seeking candidates out is completely foreign to the majority of candidates. Even on sites like LinkedIn, the grand majority of members have no clue that recruiters are paying thousands of dollars for high-powered search and messaging tools to sniff out their profiles, let alone more modern sourcing tools that help recruiters easily search across the entire Internet.

Candidates on social media are hanging out there with a very different thing in mind. Your job posting on Twitter and Facebook will be mixed in between other feed stories of silly cat photos, Instagram selfies, and baby pictures.

This means the conversation starts more subtly and less transactionally. An interest in what the candidate is up to. A recent article they posted on Twitter. A Meetup group that they’re a member of. Some Q&A they answered online, or a forum conversation they participated in.

It means setting some context as to why and how you discovered them on the site or network you found them on — because they certainly weren’t expecting you to show up, let alone reach out.

Just because you, the recruiter, are trying to efficiently put a butt in a seat doesn’t mean that the candidates are in a similar transactional, efficient mindset.

The etiquette of social media recruiting also requires tailoring communication to show candidates that you’ve done your due diligence before contacting them … you’ve read their LinkedIn profile top to bottom, you’ve seen the things they’ve been tweeting, and you can prove it by citing specific examples. Because of this, they are the perfect person you’ve been seeking out for this perfectly tailored opportunity for them.

With all this rich candidate information at our fingertips as recruiters, there’s zero excuse for not taking some extra effort to tease out specific candidate tidbits to show them that they were specially selected for outreach. It will raise your response rates and enhance their candidate experience, ultimately helping your close rates.

And besides, who doesn’t like a little flattery to start things off on the right foot?

Channels, Tone, and Frequency

Social media recruiting has created the broad availability of direct communication channels to pretty much any candidate you would want to connect with. You can directly InMail, Facebook message, or Tweet nearly any candidate you’re looking to connect with. And with a little elbow grease, you can probably sniff out their personal email address too.

But these newly available communication channels require some different tactics.

Whereas email communication is typically more formal, longer, and paragraph-heavy, the common mode with social media communication is short, frequent, and back and forth. Conversational to the core.

Related to the above comment about candidates not having “jobs on the mind” while on social media, recognize that in the context of your communication — “I bet you weren’t expecting a recruiter to message you on Facebook!” or “Pardon the Twitter interruption, but this’ll only be a second.” can help break the ice.

But don’t underestimate the power of these communication approaches. All these social media accounts are typically tied to the candidate’s primary email address — so when you message someone on Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, LinkedIn, and so forth, it often shows up in the form of a notification in their primary email inbox.

Even better, with the rise of Twitter, Facebook, and other mobile apps, often this message shows up instantaneously as a push notification on their iPhone or Android, which all the more emphasizes the focus on the short, frequent, and conversational approach.

As noted from the start, the most important guidepost is one of being human and, no surprise here, social. While people can differ on the specific tactics, some of the points above will help you prevent the apocalypse of your social recruiting efforts — no zombies involved, just brains.


image from IMDB

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!