The headline caught my attention: 5 Ways to recruit socially - Hint: LinkedIn is NOT one of them. Over at tech publication ZDNet, they recently ran a piece by Alex Churchill, CEO of VonChurch, a recruiting firm specializing in the digital entertainment industry, detailing the tools recruiters should be using to find top talent. Though his space is rather specialized, he does make some broad, unsubstantiated statements about Facebook and LinkedIn I think are worth taking a look at.

Top talent, the kind already developing the technology that will revolutionize our children’s lives, are driven by more than just a steady income, begins Churchill's post.

No argument there. We have long heard about the desire of those entering the workforce, and others early in their careers, to get more than a paycheck from their work. Heck, I hear boomers talk about that all the time these days as well, so I don't think the younger generations have any lock on this desire.

The average placement for the digital entertainment industry is a 27-year-old, social networking guru. He’s picked up and dropped technology before most people have even heard about it. Finding talent like that through LinkedIn is a bit like placing a want ad in the Penny Saver – antiquated.

Finding talent like that through LinkedIn is a bit like placing a want ad in the Penny Saver – antiquated.

Ok, I'll concede this point. By the time most of the rest of us have heard of a social media tool, and are maybe even using it, the cool kids have moved on, and we certainly wouldn't reach these people using LinkedIn.

Most companies ban Facebook, seeing it as a productivity killer, even recruitment firms. Recruitment is about creating relationships. Why on earth are you ban the largest network tool available? It’s like banning the steering wheel from a car. There are currently 800 million-registered users on Facebook and 50% of them log in daily. That is rather a large potential candidate pool. In fact, 33% of all jobs last year were found on Facebook. This tool is uber powerful. Take the community pages alone. Search for your chosen niche. You will find a plethora of groups to join, ask questions and engage to locate that perfect candidate. Facebook is constantly evolving so new avenues can present all the time. If you’re blocked from this valuable site, make the argument to your boss.

Most companies ban Facebook, seeing it as a productivity killer, even recruitment firms. Recruitment is about creating relationships. Why on earth are you ban the largest network tool available?

Last year Robert Half Technology interviewed 1400 CIOs (chief information officers) of companies with over 100 employees. They found the following results with regard to using social networking sites at work:

  • 31% of companies prohibit all access (down from 54% in 2009)
  • 51% of companies permit access for business purposes only (up from 19% in 2009)
  • 14% of companies permit access for limited personal use (down from 16% in 2009)
  • 4% of companies permit any access for personal use (down from 10% in 2009)

Read the details of the study if you want to know more.

At any rate, the statement by Churchill that "most companies ban Facebook" is not only unsubstantiated, it's clearly false. Do lots of companies still prohibit their workforce from accessing social networking sites? Yes, of course. Most? Absolutely not, whatever percentage most means.

And speaking of unsubstantiated, where the heck does that statistic "33% of all jobs last year were found on Facebook" come from? One in three jobs come from Facebook? Does that strike you as high?

The respected site allfacebook.com ran an infographic towards the end of last year detailing how social media is reshaping the job search. It claims one in six people use social media to get hired. That actually seems kind of low. But here is the list of how people fond their current job:

  • 36% - Referral from professional or personal contacts
  • 30% - Newspaper
  • 30% - Internet job board
  • 21% - Internal company job board
  • 20% - Company career site
  • 16% - Online social network (up from 11% in 2010)
  • 14% - Career fair
  • 13% - Recruiter

*Source: mbaonline.com and allfacebook.com

For sure those numbers will change in the coming years, but I don't think Facebook is yet the ubiquitous sourcing tool Churchill makes it out to be.

Here’s one many recruiters aren’t using well. Quora is a collaborative answer and question site that accumulates knowledge and ranks answers. Each question and answer is tied back to one person. Recruiters are really able to hone their search.

I have talked with several recruiters about Quora. They tell me  it is is not a better place to network professionally, unless you are in the startup ecosystem. Anything outside of that, they say LinkedIn's CV-based profile has a major advantage. So again, for Churchill's digital entertainment space perhaps Quora does work well. Do any Staffing Talk readers use it and want to share some stories with us?

Twitter allows you to interact with other people through 140 character messages. Instead of thinking of these as short messages, think of them as a way to cut through the bullsh*t. Using Twitter you can actively build your following and create a personality for your brand or company. As a recruiter or recruiting agency, this is especially important to create stickiness. You want to be memorable, so you are the first to come to mind when a great candidate starts looking for new opportunities.

Agree. On all counts.

Taking the social recruiting offline can be a valuable tool as well. Employing a community manager can create bridges into niche pockets of skill. The passionate talent will congregate to help each other on technical issues, education, or simply to connect with other people with similar interests. A community manager can help co-ordinate events for these groups, provides space, food and drink. In return, you build relationships with some ofthe rarest skills available in the marketplace.

Wow, I like that take as well. Creating community is the way to build a brand, and doing that using a real person is a great strategy. Maybe I side with more of this post than I thought I did when I first read it.

Recruiters have to be committed to playing in the same sandbox as the talent they’re seeking, whether online or in person.

Oh, I think we can all agree with that. You know, fishing where the fish are and all that.

In the end, I guess it's just Churchill's unverified Facebook stats that got me reeling - and writing this post.

The choice of a potential search source is fairly direct and straightforward, is it not? Does it hit the target demographics you’re looking for? Is it cost and time effective? Do you get the candidates who meet your needs? Has this source performed in the past and does it make sense to keep using it? That's about it. Let me know if I missed any.

Does it hit the target demographics you’re looking for? Is it cost and time effective? Do you get the candidates who meet your needs? Has this source performed in the past and does it make sense to keep using it?

So those of you used to doing database searches, and are comfortable on LinkedIn, and finding the people you are looking for, should stay there. Isn't identifying the "Sourcing Sweet Spot" for your targeted audience not as much about the tools - be they LinkedIn, Facebook, G+ or whatever might come tomorrow or next week - but rather more about making sure you cover the market and can identify the best people for the job?

Thoughts? Comments?

Tags: Facebook, Linkedin, News, Job candidates, Job search, Social Media Recruiting, Candidate sourcing, Quora