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…

I Got a Headhunt Call…Lucky Me? Not!

I say a headhunt call, but maybe just saying I was approached would be a better description, mind you I daresay that the guy doing the approaching probably thought he was headhunting.

Not sure that any of what follows would be overly familiar to the track leaders at TruSource but unfortunately too much ‘sourcing’ goes like this….

It was a depressing experience. Switchboard had a call for me. Someone who would only give his first name and who claimed he knew me. They put him through…

…and he introduced himself and launched straight into a pitch, how he was recruiting for a client who was looking for an HR recruiter to join and grow their business at the senior end…he gave me a range of basic salaries (I commented that it didn’t sound a particularly attractive range and he DISAGREED with me, saying ‘from what I hear it’s good for the market’)..the commission scheme is really good (he said this twice) his client had recently merged with another group (so I kinda now knew who they were) and now had more clients to whom they could offer HR recruitment (but he also said that it would suit a strong sales person), apparently I could join as a solo recruiter or I could manage a small team it was up to me (hey they’ve really nailed their structure and talent development programme) and then he asked if he could take my mobile number so that he could ring me outside work and discuss it more. He never actually asked me if I was interested or if I actually WANTED to talk about it more, he just presumed…

The interesting part for me was that he said he found me on Linked In, thought I had a good profile and was the kind of person he was looking for, so I had 2 questions for him:

What made me so relevant?

What did he think of what I wrote on my blog and did this fit in with his client’s values?

He couldn’t really answer either. What made me relevant, apparently, was that I was an HR recruiter who had previously also worked in Recruitment to Recruitment (though he couldn’t explain the relevance of that) and as for the blog, well no he hadn’t read it…and where was it? Er, well it’s there, on my LI profile.

Had he bothered to properly read my profile and follow the link he would have seen that my most recent blogpost opened with ‘I really love working as part of the Stopgap Group, not least because…’ now you would have thought that if someone REALLY wanted to headhunt ME then they may find this fairly relevant.

Surely if you want to try and seriously approach someone who has just written publicly about how much he loves the company he works for, then I suspect you need a slightly different opening than the scattergun headrush of basics, commission, selling in to new clients etc.. For a start it may actually require a MATCH between me and what the client could offer.

A cursory read of some of my other blogposts would have further enlightened him to the fact that values, service, reward for feedback and a move away from the traditional sales model were all important to me…his time could probably have been more profitably used seeing if his client could offer these to me.

I blogged a couple of months ago about whether recruiters really get social media as most just seemed to think LinkedIn and Twitter were there to find more candidates to headhunt…and 2 months on I’m still wondering!

Now, I’m not looking for a headhunt approach and I’m very happy where I am, but had I been in a position where the call was more welcome then I would like to think that through Linked In, this blog, Twitter and participation in events like TruLondon, there was enough readily available information on me, my thoughts and my style, to enable a rather more intelligent, engaging and personal approach …

Maybe I’m expecting too much…