Posted by: garispang | June 10, 2009

The Great SCAM in Recruiting

Work Strong logoThere is a great SCAM being perpetrated in the recruiting profession today. Call it “social capabilities ahead of the market.”

A legion of pundits and trainers have anointed LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as the future of recruiting. That’s probably an accurate statement but widely misunderstood. These sites may be effective recruiting tools in 2014, but today they aren’t even close. To put it another way, they are social capabilities that are way ahead of the market, if the market you’re after is the one for talent.

Consider the data: AfterCollege is an employment site that’s popular with Millennials graduating from college and with alumni among Gen Xers and even Baby Boomers. It recently polled its visitors to see which methods of job search they found most effective. Despite all the breathless commentary about social media, the top 3 results were as follows:
• Search an online job board (selected by an astonishing 71.9% of respondents)
• Apply directly to the company/organization (70.7%)
• Speak to someone who already works at the company of interest (63.1%)

Social media came in at number 15 on the list of choices and was selected by just 10.9% of respondents which, of course, included those most celebrated for their use of social media—Millennials.

These results mirror those generated by our own survey of job seekers conducted at the WEDDLE’s Web-site throughout 2008. Our respondent population was also cross-generational and numbered just over 1800 individuals. When we asked them “How did you find your last job?”, their top three responses were:
• Replying to an ad or posting a resume on an Internet job board (35.4%)
• Getting a tip from a friend (8.5%)
• Receiving a call from a headhunter (6.8%)

And when we asked them “How do you expect to find your next job?”, they said:
• Replying to an ad or posting a resume on an Internet job board (62.6%)
• Sending a resume into the company (5.9%)
• Receiving a call from a headhunter (5.5%)

Social media came in third from the bottom of 18 choices and was selected by just 1.1% of the respondents.

So, what lesson should we draw from all of this? I think there are actually two key take-aways:

First, beware the hype. Successful recruiting depends upon our ability to tap the talent market efficiently, and social media sites can’t do that because most people use them in a different context. These sites are popular because they are viewed as helpful in finding a date and keeping up with friends, but not, at this point at least, in connecting with employers and recruiters. In other words, the social market has not yet become a talent market … and no amount of expert hyperbole will change that fact.

Second, if you’re going to invest time in training (and I hope you do), spend it adding to your skill set with those tools that reach the largest concentration of talent. Learn how to write job postings that will sell even the most passive prospects on your employer’s value proposition and upgrade your ability to probe the resumes and profiles archived in job board databases. They may not have the sizzle of social media, but they are also not a SCAM.

Thanks for reading,



  1. The 3 job sites chosen by as getting the best results. (professional networking) (aggregated listings) (matches you to jobs)

    The old portals are dog doo doo.

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