Blogging is not the “big, new thing” in recruiting…relationships are

I get calls from press and staffing industry leaders to do interviews or articles about blogging. In the staffing industry, like most others, practitioners are looking for the "big, new thing". Now that we are in the "Internet age" (is that an old term?), technology can be utilized as a competitive advantage. So when people hear about something new, they want to know if it's the big, new thing.

We went through all of this with social networking too, remember? It wasn't the "big, new thing" either, by the way, if you didn't catch my previous blogs on that. The intent was to build a "trusted" network, with the trusted piece being what added real value. What it ended up being was a trivial connection of names and titles and a stupid contest to see who could collect the most connections. Don't get me wrong, social networking tools can be used to find names and titles and that is goodness. It's just not the intended purpose and it certainly neither a competitive advantage nor the BNT.

So the calls I am getting are folks that want to talk about blogging because the word is out that it indeed could be the BNT (sorry, hate to abbreviate but how annoying are all those quotation marks...I want to make them with my fingers like little poppy bunny ears). In the past I have said that it will change the way companies recruit and I stand by that. But it's role is as an enabler. Relationships and, more specifically, treating people like customers (shocking concept, huh?), is where it's at (bad grammar...sorry). Let's not even refer to them as "candidates" because that is very short-sighted. It's just people, people.

So here's where things get difficult. In the "old days", corporate recruiters didn't exist. A company would post a print job advertisement and "personnel" would vet paper resumes. The people that really had the "relationships" were the third party recruiters (and frankly, they still do...well, most of them). They would network their butts off, find candidates and try to market them to companies...very different than what most corporate recruiters do (but pretty much what my team does right now). Along came the internet and while the process of posting a job became much easier, recruiters (the good ones at least) were seeing the internet as away to do what their agency counter-parts were doing, only doing it with technology. The problem was that they only focused on the finding of the candidate using boolean search methodology (replacement for all the cold-calling agencies do). But once they found them, they didn't know what to do with them (they didn't focus on the relationship piece). If the person was not interested in a position, the recruiter moved along. So the relationship never developed roots.

As you can guess, the inefficiencies of this model are immeasurable. Plus, it really adds no value to the business. Some staffing organizations are OK with this because they don't think of themselves as part of the business (and thusly, they won't be part of the business). If you want to be part of the business, act like part of the business. This means knowing your customer, building relationships and leveraging your resources (including people data).

This is where blogging comes in as an enablement tool. It's about building relationships and reaching out to communities. And if recruiters don't understand the reasons for doing that, they should not blog (and they should definitely not call me and ask what blogging is), in fact, they probably should not be referring to themselves as "recruiters" at all. Acting like a business and treating your candidates like valued customers is what it's all about. And blogging isn't the only way to do that, mind you. It's just a really simple way to do it (oh yeah, and it's fun). It's just one quiver in your staffing pouch.

People that interview me are usually shocked when I tell them that blogging isn't the "big, new thing". People and relationships: the big, old, new thing and the forever thing.


Comments (9)

  1. Turker says:

    >>This is where blogging comes in as an enablement tool. It’s about building relationships and reaching out to communities.

    Well said. This is what blogging exactly is, I think. When press (or "previously clueless industry") enters the scene, they look for the "next big thing". Press wants to cover something popular. Industry wants to make sure they are not falling behind the popular stuff. Thinking about blogging as a tool is too deep for that approach. They look at the surface first (and only sometimes). In whatever industry or field you are in, IMO, being buried under the capabilities of a tool is dangerous because you loose your sight of the big picture and overall goals. The big thing is always the people,relationships and communication. Internet, email, and now blogging are all tools to make building relationships, communicating, and "accessing to knowledge" easier than ever.

  2. Heather says:

    Thanks guys…you both get it too ; )

  3. Brian Korzeniowski` says:

    I’ve already been harping on Gretchen for this for the past year. Ask her to send you the e-mails I sent her on this.

    Thanks for validating my axiom. 🙂

  4. Heather — You hit the blogging topic dead on. It is not about the technology, RSS or even the Internet. It is about creating a link between 2 parts that was not in existence before. When the Internet job boards became big it helped to link recruiters to candidates. That did not really create a conversation but did allow a temporary link to be created. I see blogging in regards to your industry just like all the other blogging categories: I read/listen to what you say and can give you feedback with a link (RSS) for a async connection to fully connect the 2 parts. I am saying parts since some blogs are actually groups of people. The great thing about blogs are that they become more valuable from having greater number of async connections to other blogs. I don’t know this all makes sense but just a bunch of links that allow information to pass around.

  5. James Durbin says:

    Blogging is just another tool in the recruiting arsenal and in employer branding – but it definitely was the next big thing for the media and politics.

    Considering the shockwaves we are seeing blgos have on local and national politics (for example in Washington), perhaps the media is wondering if blogs will change the way we look at the business world the same way it has changed the way we look at the media.

    Blogs with high traffic have influence. And those that praise or rain criticism on countries have already had an effect. So far that has been mostly negative, but blogs like yours suggest there can be a very positive side to the new media.

    It is refreshing to see you focus on making Microsoft and your role transparent.

  6. Eric Yoon says:

    It’s always good to see someone say that the emperor has no clothes! (+ thanks for the encouragement on my first steps as a blogger!)

  7. Heather says:

    James-I hope honesty and integrity are the next big thing in media and politics. ; ) Oh dang it, I almost got political there…was trying to avoid that!

    Eric-I call it like I see it. Trust me, I enjoy the attention I’ve gotten from blogging, but if you aren’t really up front about the value and how it fits into a larger framework, ultimately, your credibility suffer. Anyway, it’s like being the boy who cried "wolf". I don’t want to be the girl who cried "blog" (like how I still refer to myself as a girl…hah!). ; )

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