Should Recruiters Do It On The Phone…or Do It With Social Media?

My Twitter followers will know that I got a ‘Headhunt’ call Monday morning, and I was less than pleased.

Now I’ve already written about my concern over what passes for ‘Headhunting’ in today’s contingency recruitment market…but I think that this one took the biscuit.

Traditional start, he got past switchboard saying he knew me personally, then gave me a name, said he was from an executive search company (?!) and told me he was headhunting for an HR Recruitment company who were looking to bring in an experienced HR recruiter, then said ‘is that the kind of job you would be interested in?’..

Er, what job?

‘The one I just told you about’

But you haven’t really told me anything about a job

I won’t bore you with the next bit…I asked him what he knew about me and he read the first 2 lines of my Linked In profile back to me. I asked why he felt his opportunity may interest me and he just asked what I was looking for.

So I asked if he could tell me more about this role, and he said…

‘This is an excellent opportunity with a fabulous company, that’s really growing’

That’s it…he read an ad to me.

I asked what else he knew about the role and he said he’d told me all he knew, but if it sounded like the kind of job I was interested in he could get a senior consultant to call me back.

Well, I thanked him for his time, and passed on the opportunity.

Now look, maybe I’m being a bit demanding here. Maybe the fact that this guy and I inhabit the same business sector bothers me. Maybe I was concerned how this ‘approach’ would sound to a candidate who wasn’t familiar with the workings of the recruitment industry.

Maybe I was just concerned about shoddy values and ethics, about a company who clearly are happy to let someone make calls like that in the hope that they may score a spot deal.

Now the thing is that I would probably have been less bothered if I got this approach as a message through Linked In. In fact I do get a number of messages and approaches through LI either asking me nicely, or asking me if I know anyone…I always respond.

I find that approach less intrusive…the lack of experience and knowledge of the person contacting me is way less obvious. Initially…but this can’t be used as a smoke screen, far from it as I can see a lot about the person contacting me – career history, connections, referrals, recommendations, groups, PICTURE – you’d better know your stuff if you’re going to use that medium.

Everywhere you turn the recruitment experts/gurus/thought leaders/entrepreneurs/traditionalists are telling us to forget social media and get on the phone…in fact I’m surprised I haven’t read a blog…


I usually take it with a pinch of salt, a bit like punk rock and spangles, it’s something we dinosaurs use to show the young upstarts it was better in our day…then today I read an excellent interview with Clay Shirky about paywall and why the print media won’t survive…talking of print media, and how 25 year olds prefer to read news online,  one quote really stood out..

“And to put it in one bleak sentence, no medium has ever survived the indifference of 25-year-olds.”

Oooh, not many 25 year olds pick up the phone these days…they prefer instant messaging, texting, tweeting, facebooking…hell, anything other that actually talking..

So maybe, just maybe, we’re approaching the time when…


So could times really be a-changing…let me know what you think…

2 thoughts on “Should Recruiters Do It On The Phone…or Do It With Social Media?

  1. The problem with leaving everything to social media, even if that is someone’s preference, is that it’s a 2-dimensional view of someone. You need to talk to someone to get a real feel for them, even these days.

    1. Agree that an element of human interaction is needed at some stage, but I must say that I have found (and mentioned in blogs before) that if everyone communicating through Social Media is just themselves and engages naturally then the real personality shines through. I wen to Chicago for HREvolution in May and met a whole bunch of people whom I only know through Twitter…and guess what? Everyone was exactly as I expected them to be, and when we conversed it was as if we had known each other for ages.
      I do believe that long lasting business relationships can be developed through proper engagement and communication, with face to face or telephone interaction enhancing not creating.

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