SI Review: April 2013


The Other Side

Getting Social

Blending traditional recruiting methods with newer social tools can get the job done

By David Thomas

Throughout my nearly 20-year career, I have used staffing firms to get my feet in the door. In fact, each company I have worked for hired me after I proved myself as a contingent worker.

Last year, I again turned to the staffing industry. It had been several years since my last job search, and I noticed a lot has changed in the way I could interact with staffing firms and recruiters. Social media became a large part of my job search, though face-to-face interactions were still important. Some of my experiences were great, but there are some ways I think staffing companies and recruiters could improve.

LinkedIn. Most of the many recruiters that I met were on LinkedIn, but only a few were actually very active when it came to posting jobs or providing detailed information on what type of people they needed at the moment. For me, it just seemed that I was just another potential recruit to add to their inventory. The ones who did post provided valuable tips and engaged in helpful discussions. It was great to get almost immediate knowledge of the positions that they needed to fill, and in fact was how I found out about the position I’m currently assigned to.

Twitter. I already used twitter as a news aggregator, but I didn’t expect to find it useful in my job search. However, a few of the recruiters I met had interesting Twitter accounts. Their tweets gave me insight into their interests and what it might be like to work for them and the companies that they serve. I often also got wind of urgent positions that they needed to fill. But too few recruiters were on Twitter. Encourage your recruiters to become more active on Twitter. You may even capture the attention of those so-called passive candidates and land that difficult placement.

Networking events. Networking events were very useful. The smaller events usually proved to be the more effective because I could spend more time with the recruiters and have a better opportunity to discover how I could potentially fit their needs. In fact, I met the recruiter I eventually signed on with at a relatively small networking event. Unfortunately, too often recruiters seemed more interested in socializing with friends rather than engaging with potential recruits. In other cases, the recruiters ignored my questions about what type of person they were looking for and just talked about the company in general. While that’s important to know, I can’t know if I’m the right fit if I don’t know what you need.

In-person interviews. Résumés can’t fully capture a candidate’s skills and experience. So it’s always good to have 30 to 45 minutes to talk with and get to know the candidate. One consulting firm sounded promising during a phone screen, but when I met with the recruiter in person, we realized that it wasn’t the right fit after all. The 30 minutes the recruiter spent with me saved us — and the company’s clients — time in the long run. Another recruiter who didn’t spend time to do this scheduled phone interviews for me with a client, and it was then that I learned the job was not a good fit, wasting my time and that of the client.

Staffing firms and their recruiters should be looking at ways to leverage traditional recruiting methods with the new to help candidates find them. In my case, it was that mix of both that led to a successful match, meeting my recruiter at an old-fashioned networking event, but keeping in touch on LinkedIn. When I saw a posting for an immediate need that was right up my alley just a few weeks later, I got in touch and was on the job within days.

David Thomas is a financial analyst currently consulting at Microsoft Corp. He can be reached at


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