The Silver and Gold of Recruiting Technology

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The Silver and Gold of Recruiting Technology
By Peter Weddle

Attend any recruiting conference these days, and you’ll find the sessions on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook jammed and the sessions on anything else all but deserted. We live in a culture that adores the next big thing, but that fascination can undermine our performance. It causes us to move on to the new, new stuff before we’ve learned how to master the old, new stuff. As a consequence, we never achieve the requisite level of expertise in any stuff to do our best work.

I recently did a survey of the social media habits of recruiters in some of America’s largest employers. One of the questions I asked the 79 percent that said they were using such sites was Why did your organization begin to use social media sites?. Here are the top two answers:

• 35% To improve the efficiency and/or effectiveness of the recruiting team.
• 29% To demonstrate competency in the latest recruiting techniques.

In other words, while many were motivated by the desire to improve their performance, many others were simply keeping up with the Joneses. Social media are hot, and they didn’t want to appear “behind the times” or “out of date” or “old fashioned.”

And, that’s fine. Obviously it’s important to stay at the state-of-the-art in one’s field. But doing so shouldn’t prevent us from continuing to hone our expertise with other tools. Those that were new two or three or – gasp! – ten years ago, but are now considered ancient. If they work well – and many still do – then they’re worth using well.

Today, it’s social media, micro blogging and mobile apps. We want to be sure we know what they can do. Yet, many of us still haven’t learned how best to use the tools we already have. Traditionally, it’s been early adopters who focused on the former, while mature adopters concentrated on the latter. Today, those two roles have blended into a single experience that generates all of the excitement of discovery, but none of the results of refined practices.

What are these old, new tools? They include (but are not limited to):

• Blogs,
• Professional networking forums,
• Intranets for employee referral,
• Corporate career sites,
• Search engine optimization and marketing, and
• Job posting on both job boards and social media sites.

Although there are many examples of the expert application of such tools, there are even more instances where they poorly used. There are recruiting blogs that are so stilted with bureaucratic language, they turn off even the most active job seekers. There are job postings that are so boring they would put a comatose person to sleep. And, there are corporate career sites that are so impersonal they make candidates feel more like widgets than humans. And, that’s just a few of many examples.

What’s not being done well, however, can be improved. We just have to adopt a more balanced approach to our professional development. Absolutely, it’s important to invest the time to stay at the leading edge of recruitment technology, but that commitment should be no greater than the time we allocate to deepening and enriching our capability with the tools we already have. Indeed, I think the Girl Scouts have it right. As they put it, we should “make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

Thanks for reading,
Visit me at

Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including the recently released blockbuster The Career Activist Republic and Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System, one of the most innovative career success books in print. Both are available at

© Copyright 2010 WEDDLE’s LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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