Tony Restell

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Ex-Strategy Consultant | Founder: and| Entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in online recruitment and social media | Head of --> Social Media Marketing Agency for the Recruitment industry.

Please feel free to send me your questions any time!

Facebook Recruiting - How Recruiting Has Evolved

I've been preparing a keynote speech for a Recruiting event this month - and in doing so have had cause to revisit the ways that recruiting has evolved. And also some ways in which it is yet to have fully evolved!

Two key things really stood out as I thought about this. Firstly, being effective at recruiting has become extremely complex - in ways that you have to understand to be successful. And secondly, we've barely scratched the surface when it comes to being effective at recruiting on platforms like Facebook.

Facebook Recruiting Evolution

How Recruiting Became Complex

If I go back ten or fifteen years, recruiting was pretty simple. A recruiter would have their way of generating candidate interest. That might have been through direct headhunting approaches, it might have been through advertising jobs. Candidates didn't have the opportunity to interact with a company or its recruiters unless they were invited in for interview. And that interviewing process could be refined and perfected. The variables influencing a candidate's perception of a company - and the role on offer - were limited.

Fast forward to today and recruiting is so much more complex. A recruiter looking to generate candidate interest will find that their efforts are helped or hindered by the perception candidates have already formed about an employer. Whether it's from your social media presence or a glance at Glassdoor, candidates are far more likely to have an opinion about the companies they'd like to work for today. This, of course, is a perception that recruiters can seek to influence in ways that they couldn't previously - and indeed didn't even need to think about previously. Plus, of course, candidates can now interact with people from your company at any point in the recruiting process - and every one of those interactions has repercussions for whether a successful hiring outcome is achieved.

Then there are the options for actually generating candidate interest, which have ballooned. Where once you kept tabs on the best performing job boards, today you can find and approach candidates direct - through a variety of channels. Where once you relied on a job board's audience for candidates, today you can put your jobs in front of the exact audience that you want to reach, or have them marketed out to your company's employee network via social referral tools. The options have multiplied beyond recognition - and so the job of knowing what produces the best ROI has become insanely difficult too.

That's before we even consider the issue of mobile recruiting. You can have mastered all the other elements of recruiting, but if you aren't able to market roles to people on their smartphones then you're increasingly missing out on reaching both the passive and the active candidate market. And if your apply options aren't mobile-friendly then the conversions you achieve from everything else you do are fundamentally undermined.

This is all a far cry from how things used to be. A company achieving disappointing recruiting results you could usually diagnose down to one of a handful of potential flaws in the hiring process. Today the permutations of cause and effect are mind-boggling. Getting great hiring results is arguably a greater competitive advantage today than it has ever been.

Being Effective at Recruiting on Platforms Like Facebook

All of which brings me to the second point, that we're still only just scratching the surface of what's possible when it comes to recruiting with tools like Facebook. Just think for a moment how many recruiters you see sharing their jobs on LinkedIn, Twitter and the like. Just think how many are advertising on job boards. Put simply, these recruiters are hoping that some fraction of the audience they need to reach will see their vacancy.

Yet how many recruiters do you know who have taken the opposite approach? How many have started from the point of saying "we need to reach this specific demographic of candidates (or competitors' employees) - now how can we reach that specific audience through targeted promotions on social media?"

The answer I suspect is very few - certainly if your recruiter network mirrors the broader market that I talk to. For whilst there's widespread targeting of candidates on LinkedIn, the ~1 billion candidates who are more active on other social sites are more or less overlooked. Which is just one example of many that convince me we're still only scratching the surface here. On which note, I leave you with the thought: what approaches will you develop these next months that will leave your competitors in your wake?


Job Advertising - A Checklist for Success

I've been an entrepreneur in the online recruitment market for over 15 years. I have built two successful start-ups in that time and sold one of my businesses to a major newspaper group. Several things have really struck me during that time - and one of them is that you can never share too many times the steps that should be followed to be successful in online advertising.

Job Advertising ChecklistThe reason for this I think is quite understandable. Recruiters aren't experts on the various advertising platforms they use. You post jobs only sporadically and so in many instances never get to the point that you know instinctively what's going to work on any given advertising platform.

That's why it's the job of anyone selling job advertising to be constantly helping recruiters to understand what they could be doing to be more effective. These are the people who see campaign after campaign, see what's working and what's not. These are the people with the insights you need to become more effective with your recruitment advertising campaigns.

So with that in mind, I'd like to share here a few tips you can implement today to be more effective with the job posts you're publishing. As hiring markets rebound strongly in both the US and UK, hopefully these insights can help you at just the point where you find yourself under pressure to deliver.

Choose your job board wisely

Where you advertise your roles is the foundation for success. Does the platform reach a large audience of your target hires and is it optimised to generate applications from that audience? This is the reason why so many corporate careers pages still only make a modest contribution to total applications. It's also why online news sites typically underperform in generating candidate applicants when compared with dedicated jobs boards. The site must have both the audience that you're targeting - and a design that puts securing job applications above everything else. Do the ones you're using tick those boxes?

Inspire your candidate audience

I'm assuming you would like to attract great people to join your business. Great people are generally successful and mostly not in a position that they have to change jobs. They can certainly be won over to make a change. They may already have decided that it's time to move on. But they will probably be courted by multiple suitors and so you're competing in a battle to win them over to your business.

At no point in the hiring process can this battle be lost more infuriatingly than at the point where your vacancy is advertised. Within a minute of considering your business as an employer, I may be enthused and inspired to want to work for you. Or I may be alienated by the clear disinterest the recruiter has shown in posting something that might stand out.

The two culprits here are the internal PR department and the loathsome job description. Both yank a recruiter's attention away from what you absolutely need to be focusing on - how can I make this role really appeal to the people I want to reach?

Take your draft job advert and imagine showing it to someone on your team who's the calibre of candidate you'd really like to attract. Now ask them - does this advert remind you of all the reasons you chose to join our company? If the answer is no, it's time to start afresh. Your job advert should sell why the opportunity is a great opportunity. It should convey why people love working in your business. It should appeal to people's desire to be happy and to better themselves professionally. Unfortunately the standard PR Department "company introduction + death-by-bullet-point list of requirements (copied and pasted from the internal job description)" does nothing of the sort!

Use carefully selected wording

The wording of your advert is also essential. Job titles need to be chosen that conform to the industry norm for the role, rather than that convoluted title that your company happens to have given the position. You've got to make it simple for people to see that your role is one that they are suited to, otherwise they'll just skip by and click on someone else's advert instead.

Similarly you want to give keywords some consideration. Whether it's to ensure that your role appears in Google searches, or in the search results of the job board in question, a few minutes spent here can increase candidate views considerably.

Job advertising is a numbers game

There's one thing that strikes me more than anything else when I think back on my 15 years in online recruitment advertising. The most successful recruiters I have worked with have all understood that job advertising is a numbers game.

  • There are X number of target candidates out there who would fit this brief
  • By advertising this job on site Y, I'm likely to reach Y% of those X candidates
  • With a seductively worded advert, I'm likely to convert Z% of those I reach into actual applicants. If I don't go to this effort I'm likely to only convert a fraction as many candidates
  • Does the number of applicants generated by the above analysis leave me with enough star applicants that I would expect to make a hire?

Looking at each of these very briefly in turn... There are X number of target candidates out there who would fit this brief. What the actual number X is isn't nearly as important as an appreciation of whether that number means you're going to have to pull out all the stops to actually hire such a person through advertising. Over the years it has always amazed me that recruiters often prefer to advertise their hardest to fill vacancies. If the candidate profile you're seeking is extremely rare, the chances of online advertising being successful are dramatically reduced! At best you're putting yourself in a position where every add-on and premium service the job board offers is one you need to be paying for to increase the odds in your favour. At worst you're consigning yourself to almost certain failure.

Next up, the question of which job board you choose to use clearly has an impact on what fraction of the total market you're reaching. Again it's always a surprise to me when a recruiter chooses to use just one of several job boards that operate in their niche. Sure it keeps your costs down, but if you've just halved the number of suitable candidates who'll see the vacancy then you've also just halved the shortlist of candidates you're going to have available to work with. Was that a saving worth making?

It should logically follow on from this that making the effort to write a seductively worded advert will massively boost the ultimate shortlist of candidates you generate. Of all the factors you have real influence over, this one probably more than any other is the one where you as a recruiter can make a material difference. So grab yourself a latte and a quiet room and go and write creatively for just 10 minutes. The results will astound you!

One last thought - leveraging social

Of course once we accept that job advertising is a numbers game, every step of that job advertising process becomes something that can be tweaked and perfected. Some job boards will perform better than others. Some styles of job adverts will outperform others. Part of your success as a recruiter will come down to whether or not you're tracking these variations and results effectively or not.

A final thought though is that the more buoyant the market, the more we want to be targeting not just active candidates but passive candidates too. If we can find ways to double the number of potential candidates viewing a role then we have materially enhanced our chances of successfully advertising for the hires we need to make. Fully leveraging social media to reach your target candidate audience is one very effective way of doing this - if you've not yet figured out how to do this then you can post your jobs (socially) here.


Social Recruiting: The 4 Key Steps Explained

This coming month I'll be a keynote speaker at a 2 day Social Recruiting conference in Lisbon. I’m particularly looking forward to the workshop on how to generate fantastic social media recruiting results by implementing 4 key steps.

Social Recruiting Key Steps

As a taster I thought I’d share with you here the 4 steps we consistently see clients need to have implemented to become successful recruiting brands on social media.

Start With The End Goal in Mind

The first step sounds very obvious but a great many businesses we speak with actually haven't had this conversation. The first key step is being very clear within your team about the audience you want to reach with your social media presence - and linked to that, what your business objectives are for building your presence on social media. Put another way, what do you want your growing social media audience to have done several weeks or months down the line that will have made your investment in social media worthwhile?

The answer here will be different for different recruiting teams. Some will be focused on generating recruiting client leads. Others will want to drive an increase in candidate applications. Others will want to boost the search engine rankings of their careers site through stronger social sharing activity. The key thing is to have actually defined this at the outset so that all your social media activities are undertaken with this end goal in mind.

Become a Candidate Magnet in Your Industry

The second step is to think about what will make your profiles exceedingly valuable, entertaining and insightful to this target audience. Often recruitment businesses and recruiting teams are guilty of their social streams being nothing more than a parade of their latest job openings, plus maybe the occasional team photo or update about what the team is up to.

If you want to become a magnet in your industry that attracts your desired target audience, this simply will not do. You need to become an invaluable resource in your niche market, one that people will come to view as indispensable and whose updates they will want to share with others in their network. This is where the huge value on social media can be derived. For example, several of the accounts we manage have twitter followings of 35,000 to 50,000 followers. But when we look at the reach those profiles enjoy each month, their messages are actually seen by between 500,000 and a million twitter followers. Even with smaller accounts, a similar multiplier effect can be achieved if the right things are being done. It’s this network effect that gives your business and your recruiting team visibility amongst - and access to - the huge candidate audience that you want to reach. But this is only achieved when the updates you post are consistently valuable and share-worthy.

Attract and Convert Candidate Interest

The 3rd step is equally key. If all you do is Steps 1 and 2, you will have a social media presence that looks professional when people click to your profiles from your website. But you will not be growing an ever larger audience of candidates or clients who go on to do the things needed to fulfil your corporate objectives on social media.

That’s where Step 3 is key. Step 3 involves understanding each of the social platforms where you have built a presence and figuring out the steps that are needed to get your profiles seen by more and more of your target audience. This requires consistent and informed activity across your social networks in order that your follower and fan base grows month on month.

Last but not least, Step 4 involves engaging with your target audience on social media. This may mean reviewing the profiles of everyone who has interacted with your company on social media and following up accordingly. Or it may mean discovering conversations taking place in your industry and jumping in and participating in those conversations. But essentially it revolves around taking that awareness that your recruiting brand now has on social media and turning it into meaningful conversations taking place with either prospective candidates or potential recruiting clients (or indeed both). For most recruiting teams, it’s this engagement that drives the overwhelming business value of having a strong social media recruiting presence. But you can't ever fulfil Step 4 effectively if you haven't already done a great job implementing Steps 1-3.

And Finally...

I'll be covering off this process - and the factors that ensure your success - during the two day event taking place in Lisbon this May. I'll be joined there by several other social recruiting experts including a speaker from LinkedIn. Do check out the event programme and I look forward to seeing you there and helping you in person in the next weeks.


3 Quick Things You Can Do To Strengthen Your Social Media Presence

3 Quick Things You Can Do To Strengthen Your Social Media PresenceSocial media can be brutal. In very few areas of digital marketing is it possible to sink so much time and yet see so little return. With more and more recruiters having sunk a year or more into building their social media presence, the reality is setting in that many have simply not generated anything like the results hoped for.


With this in mind, let me share 3 things you can do to turn things around:

Profiling your audience and appealing to their needs. Who is it your business wants to appeal to on social media? What topics interest them the most? What type of updates would make you a valuable part of their daily lives? Most recruiting teams and businesses I talk with can't adequately answer this question. But if you can't do that, how can you consistently deliver value and insights to your target audience and draw them to your business like a magnet? You can't - so address this shortcoming before doing anything else.

Getting your profiles seen by your ideal candidates, clients, alumni or influencers. On every social platform there are tactics you can deploy to figure out who are the people actively using it. Then you need to narrow your focus down to just those who match your criteria for the people you want your business to reach. Focus your efforts on them - or the influencers who reach them - and you will see your followings quickly grow. Need help figuring out what those actions should be? Feel free to reach out and schedule a call.

Proactively start conversations. In fact, never pass up the opportunity to have a conversation. It's these interactions that lead to bonds being formed. They also trigger a flood of goodwill towards your brand and an avalanche of unprompted shares of your updates. But most importantly, they are the precursor to more meaningful business conversations taking place. Start a few dozen conversations this next week and you'll be amazed at the things you start to see happening on your accounts.

I very much hope this helps you to turn things around. If you'd like more tips, by all means join us for one of the free taster social media webinars we're running in the next weeks. Good luck - and I look forward to seeing your recruiting team conquering social media sometime soon!

Social Recruiting Advice For SMEs

Social Recruiting Advice For SMEs

Is investing in social recruiting the right decision for your SME?  It's a question that I hear a lot of Recruitment Managers grappling to answer. As with much social recruiting advice you'll see me share, this question needs framing in light of your company objectives. Let's try to walk you through this and make sense of whether social recruiting is the right option for your SME.

First up, what are you being tasked to achieve? Critical hires needed within the next couple of months? Keeping your cost per hire low as the company grows? Positioning your SME as a great employer in the minds of the future stars you will want to recruit in the coming months and years?

Stop for a moment and try to answer this before reading any further...

Now let me share whether social recruiting is something you could rightfully be advised to engage in to meet each of these goals. Note that this advice is given with an SME recruiter in mind, since such companies are of the scale that they can't yet justify doing everything. If you're recruiting in a bigger corporate you'll probably use a dose of social for all these scenarios and more.

Social Recruiting Advice Scenario 1: Critical hires needed within the next couple of months

Let me start by saying that my first business was a successful job board business. With that medium I can say one thing with certainty; if you post the right roles for the job board's audience then you will undoubtedly make some low cost hires within a matter of months. What I can also say is that it's a game of roulette when it comes to determining which of the roles will be successfully filled that way.

For SMEs considering using social recruiting, I'd have to stress that exactly the same uncertainty of results holds true. Try to fill multiple roles this way and some will be successfully filled - and at low cost. But others will not. I would argue that that holds true whether you are approaching candidates direct on LinkedIn or advertising to a highly targeted audience on Facebook. The cost is incurred up front, without any certainty of outcome. For an SME that could really suffer if critical hires aren't made, this uncertainty of outcome simply isn't acceptable. By all means do some social recruiting and activate the networks of your existing staff - but also bring on board a quality contingent recruiter or two. They will not cost you anything unless they produce results - and so will fight to bring you those hires in the critical timescales needed.

Social Recruiting Advice Scenario 2: Keeping your cost per hire low as the company grows

The above rationale should make it absolutely clear that social recruiting has a big role to play when it comes to keeping your broader cost-per-hire low. The same I would argue is true of job board spend incidentally. Both will allow you to attract relevant candidates to apply for your vacancies. Both can be effectively monitored to ensure they are contributing to the goal of keeping your average cost per hire down. With a bit of experimenting, you'll be able to discover the approaches that consistently bring your SME a stream of the types of candidates you would want to hire.

Social Recruiting Advice Scenario 3: Positioning your SME as a great employer in the minds of the future stars you will want to recruit

I remember from my days of playing chess that the greatest players are those who are able to think several moves ahead. And so it is with SMEs that are really going places. There's a reason large corporates continue to advertise in newspapers and on airport billboards. The immediate hires they're attracting they could make far more cheaply via other channels. But they need to capture the aspirations of their target employees, make them more and more receptive to joining the team at some point in the future.

Social recruiting allows SMEs to do the same for their businesses, but targeting the micro demographics that will be most valuable to them. Imagine if those developers you can envisage you'll be crying out for 18 months from now were to be befriended by your recruiting team. That over the next 18 months they will consistently be exposed to your brand and interact with some of your team. How much more receptive do you think they would be to an employment approach by you or a fellow recruiter? It's a no brainer right? Well yes, provided your timescales for payback on these social recruiting activities aren't too skewed to the short term...

Concluding Remarks

Hopefully these thoughts will have helped you to see the importance of setting your objectives from the outset - and to use these to guide whether social recruiting has a realistic prospect of delivering on your objectives. I hope I have demonstrated that the answer will often be yes, but only as a function of the timescales and certainty of outcomes that are acceptable to the business. If you'd like to get some more tailored advice on this for your SME, you're very welcome to schedule in a time to talk about social recruiting with one of our team. Or for more insights from me, do sign up for one of our series of free social recruiting Q&A sessions and training calls. Good luck - and I look forward to seeing your company conquering social media sometime soon!

Social Media Marketing + Recruiting Predictions That Will Keep You Awake At Night

When I talk to recruiting leaders and business owners, one issue concerns them more than any other:

Have they understood and adapted to the opportunities that social media marketing and social recruiting offer - and have they done so as comprehensively as their competitors?

Every conversation I have acknowledges that we're moving squarely back to a market that is candidate driven. Hiring demand is up - and employers are ever more demanding in the profile of candidate that they want to attract. All of which means that the ability to attract candidates to your business - and the ability to approach and engage passive candidates - are now key constraints on business growth.

The question therefore becomes - has your business done enough? My prediction for the coming year is that it'll be those companies who've failed to invest adequately in social media marketing and social recruiting techniques who will come unstuck as the battle to attract talent becomes ever fiercer. So let's look at each in turn.

Social Media Marketing

Studies the world over show that we're spending huge amounts of time on social media each week. What's more, we're open to being influenced about companies and engaged by potential suitors via our interactions on social media.

Now Mobile has rightly attracted a lot of attention these last years. More and more of us are browsing the web from a mobile rather than a desktop device. But in a lot of instances this has been to the detriment of recruiters' investment in a strong social media presence.

The problem here is best understood by way of a recruiting funnel. There are various means by which candidates can be brought into your recruiting funnel. Job boards, the company careers site, mailshots to your candidate database... all have historically been important means of feeding the funnel.
Social Media Marketing and the Candidate Pipeline

What's important about social media - and therefore social media marketing - is that it's become an increasingly important channel for bringing candidates into your recruiting funnel. While email marketing response and job board volumes have been in decline, social media marketing has more than filled the gap. But only for those companies who have invested heavily in their social media presence.

This is where the limitations of a mobile-only strategy become apparent. Having made your business mobile-friendly contributes to increased conversions within your recruiting funnel. More of the candidates who enter your recruiting funnel are likely to apply if you've developed a mobile-friendly careers site and application procedure. But if you don't have the social media presence then the flow of candidates into your recruiting funnel is diminished. Your mobile strategy is stopping the ship from sinking, by doing a better job of converting the limited interest that the business is generating. But the leading companies in your niche will have the strong candidate flows that social media marketing can bring, combined with the improved candidate conversion rates that mobile investment delivers.

If that leaves you fearing you'll be having sleepless nights, the good news is that both situations can be recovered. There are a variety of off-the-shelf solutions that can make your business more mobile-responsive from a recruiting perspective and some great examples of what a mobile responsive careers website should be like. Whilst the ins and outs of generating results on social media are something that can be addressed with social media marketing help from the Social-Hire team.

Social Recruiting

Social recruiting has become such an all-encompassing term - and rightly so. Candidates' first impressions of your company are increasingly formed on social media. Their interest in one of your openings is more and more likely to have been sparked via social media. The research they undertake in preparation for interviews will increasingly involve use of social media; and they're increasingly likely to have "talked" with some of your employees on social channels at some point during their decision process. Weighing up competing offers will often mean taking in others' opinions and insights on social media.

So recruiting is now social. The debate is over.

But if the first part of this article was about using social media to attract candidates to your business, this part I want to devote to sourcing and engaging with candidates on social media. Because being able to identify the talent that's an ideal match for your openings - and then being able to approach people in a way that generates a favourable response - are now also important determinants of an organisation's recruitment effectiveness.

Looking Beyond LinkedIn and Focusing on Engagement

I predicted a year ago that recruiters would increasingly use People Aggregators to uncover candidates that LinkedIn alone was not enabling them to discover. This has certainly come to pass over the course of the last year - but I'd have to say, at a pace that's been disappointing. The most proficient recruiters ARE active across a range of social media and using a variety of candidate sourcing tools. They're finding candidates over and above what LinkedIn results would return - and have in their armoury a variety of means for reaching out to those candidates. But many recruiters are still heavily reliant on LinkedIn and the LinkedIn InMails system to produce results.

The dangers of this approach are all too clear. LinkedIn isn't comprehensive, so being overly reliant on it means only considering a fraction of the candidates who'd be ideal for your openings. Plus the InMails route is far less effective than engaging on say Twitter, or indeed picking up the phone!

I think it was Stacy Zapar who I saw predict that the ability to engage with candidates (rather than find them) would become the key skill in the recruitment market of tomorrow. Improving your company's skills in both researching candidate matches and then approaching them in a way that improves conversion rates will be the determining factor in winning over sought-after talent. So just as with social media marketing above, the question to ask yourself is whether your recruiting team are really cutting edge in this respect, or merely following the pack.

Would love to hear your thoughts and observations in the comments below. Has your company invested enough in social recruiting and social media marketing.... and if not, what's holding you back?


Social Media for Recruiters - Building Your Recruiting Brand on Social Media

A big thanks to Louise Triance and the team at UK Recruiter who asked me to address their readers this week on the topic of Social Media for Recruiters. Or more specifically, to demonstrate the opportunity that exists to become one of the most talked about recruiting brands in your niche through the effective use of social media. The session was really well received and so I wanted to post a recording here for any recruiters who missed out and would like to catch up on the session Social Media for Recruiters at a later date. Please find the recording embedded below.

Working with recruitment businesses on their social strategies on a daily basis, I've tried to share real-world insights regarding what's working (and what's not!) plus actionable steps and tips that you can put into practice in your recruiting business today. But no discussion on Social Media for Recruiters would be complete without also giving a healthy dose of realism about the time investment required to do this effectively. There's so much focus on social media marketing being "free", but the reality is that dedicated resource is needed to exploit the opportunity here - simply asking one of your recruiters to handle social media "in a spare few minutes each week" isn't going to get you anywhere.

Video Recording: Social Media for Recruiters [How To Build Your Recruiting Brand on Social Media]

By the time you've watched this hour-long session you'll appreciate how a strong social media presence can attract a steady flow of targeted candidates to your business. How it can spark conversations with potential clients and elevate you to a position of authority in the niche recruiting markets you serve. But you'll also appreciate that you have to have the right social media strategy in place; and you have to know how to deliver on that strategy.

If you'd like to accelerate the pace at which your business pounces on this opportunity, you're very welcome to schedule a call with the Social-Hire team to talk through your business and devise the right social media strategy. Just book in a convenient time here.

Slides: Social Media for Recruiters


FYI: if you didn't know Social-Hire already, we’re a social media outsourcing company focused exclusively on serving clients in the recruitment sector. We help recruitment businesses, recruitment technology companies, in-house recruiting teams, job boards and the like develop the right social media strategy…. and then deliver on that strategy day in day out. And we do all that for less than the cost of an intern. If you’d like to talk through your current social media strategy and ways we could work with you, simply request a callback and we'd be delighted to help.

If these insights have been helpful to you, please do consider sharing on your social networks. Thanks!


What’s Stopping You From Starting Your Own Recruitment Business?

I had a really interesting meeting these last weeks that made me stop and think – what is it that holds my recruiter contacts back from setting up in business for themselves? Having served the recruitment sector for 15 years, I’ve seen a number of friends transition from successful recruitment consultant to successful owner of their own recruiting business. But what strikes me the most is that so few have taken the leap. Which got me thinking – what is it that stops a recruiter from setting up their own recruiting business?

What’s Stopping You From Starting Your Own Recruitment Business?

The spark to write this blog post came from a meeting with John Buckman and David Simons, respectively the Chairman and Managing Director of Recruit Ventures (@RecruitVentures). They’re actively investing in and supporting start-ups in the UK recruitment market through a joint venture model – and it was understanding their approach that really got me thinking about the obstacles to setting up in business for yourself.

Things That May Be Holding You Back

Several key themes emerged from our chat. Recurring reasons that hold recruiters back from taking the plunge. How many do you recognise – and indeed are there others you’d add to the list? Please feel free to comment below.

The financial hit. By the time you’ve become successful enough to feel confident about setting up your own recruitment firm, you’ve probably also reached the point where you have financial commitments in your life. Going from a well-paid job to a start-up where it could be many months before you can draw a salary is a bridge too far for many.

The need to secure financing. The nature of recruiting is usually such that you get paid for the results you deliver many months after you first started working on that assignment. So securing finance to bridge this gap is usually something that a recruitment business will need to succeed, particularly if you have aspirations of it quickly becoming more than just a “one man band”. More often than not, securing such financing means putting your own home at risk – which for someone already taking a financial hit to their salary is often a risk they’re not prepared to take.

Focusing on what you’re best at. Lots of recruiters I know are excellent sales people and excellent recruiters. What they excel at is winning new assignments and then filling those positions. But many have no experience of other aspects of running a business such as accounting, payroll, finance, credit control, IT, HR, office management and procurement. Taking these responsibilities on can mean a leap into the unknown – and also creates anxiety that the recruiter may become bogged down in these tasks rather than being able to focus on what they’re really best at.

Having the confidence to tackle restrictive covenants. What can and can’t you do when you leave a recruitment business to go and set up for yourself? I know friends who’ve had quite daunting clauses in their employment contracts. But without paying for expensive legal guidance, it’s hard to feel confident you can set up for yourself without opening yourself up to a claim by your former employer. And even where the law appears to be on your side, it’s yet another worry for the would-be entrepreneur.

This list is by no means exhaustive. But what strikes me is that the traditional route of setting up for yourself is only likely to appeal to people who have a high propensity for risk. Intriguingly, I think the Recruit Ventures approach addresses these points through its joint venture model. They provide the finance, the back office, a salary for the founder, etc. The recruiter is left to get on with what they do best – selling and recruiting. If that enables a new wave of recruiters to set up in business for themselves then great!

A couple of my own additional thoughts on becoming an entrepreneur follow. But I appreciate I may have got some readers intrigued about Recruit Ventures, so I'm providing a contact form for them below (note: my understanding is they’re currently only working with UK recruiters who place temporary staff):


Final Thoughts on Becoming an Entrepreneur

I’ve spent the last 15 years setting up a series of entrepreneurial ventures in the recruitment space. Not recruitment agencies admittedly, but I’m sure much of what I’ve learnt is nonetheless directly relevant.

A couple of things strike me as being absolutely key. Firstly I would emphasise how critical it is to give yourself an adequate financial buffer before starting out. That doesn’t necessarily mean raising finance – indeed my most successful ventures have been self-funded. But it does mean ensuring you have adequate finances in place to be able to work on the business for many months without income coming in. Start-ups invariably take longer to generate income than you’d anticipated. Plus you often find that once you’re in the market as an entrepreneur, the business opportunity is actually different from the one you’d envisaged when you first started out. So you need to build in time to allow yourself to adjust – and to be able to make the right decisions for the business without the risk of financial worries causing you to make bad judgement calls.

My second piece of advice would be to be ruthless about outsourcing or delegating work. A pitfall that often catches entrepreneurs out is becoming involved in every aspect of the business. Whereas in reality there are just a handful of tasks that will really make or break the business in the early years – and it’s on these tasks that the recruiting entrepreneur must really be focused. Leave website design, accounting, social media and everything that is secondary to your success to others. Focus on winning business and then delighting your clients and candidates. That’s what will see you succeed!

For anyone inspired by this post to think more seriously about setting up in business for themselves, may I wish you every success. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and any additional insights in the comments section below. Thanks – and good luck!

5 Interesting Methods for Hiring Highly Skilled Candidates

It's a fascinating time to be in the recruiting world right now. With each passing month, you see market commentaries starting to look more and more like they did before the Lehman crash. The focus is increasingly on the difficulties that employers are expecting to face in attracting the staff they need... and the fact that this is becoming a candidate-driven market once again.

So I was intrigued to receive this guest contribution from Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire, suggesting 5 methods you could experiment with to attract top talent into your business. Hope it proves a helpful read.

5 Interesting Methods for Hiring Highly Skilled Candidates
5 Interesting Methods for Hiring Highly Skilled Candidates

With a growing skills gap, employers and recruiters are finding it more difficult to attract the top talent companies need. This is especially prevalent in tech and STEM related disciplines. While unemployed candidates outnumber positions 3.6 to one in most industries, STEM positions actually outnumber candidates 1.9 to one.

A 2014 survey from Brilliant, in conjunction with Dr. Richard Curtin, Professor and Director of Surveys at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, found 65 percent of companies had unfilled positions in accounting, finance, and IT.

It’s time to get creative in order to bridge the skills gap. Here are five interesting methods to build a bridge in order to lead the top talent into your company:

Skills Assessments

The economic outlook for many companies is growing brighter, with the Brilliant survey finding 43 percent of companies surveyed saw improvement on the horizon. Still, in a tough economic climate, you can’t really afford to hire someone who doesn’t have all the skills required. After all, some companies have pegged the cost of a bad hire at as much as $50,000. You need to make sure your candidate has the right stuff right off the bat.

Utilizing skills assessments can allow you to get a better feel for your candidate’s concrete abilities. If a candidate will have to do a high volume of writing, ask them to complete a writing test. Ask for web designers to write code and for graphic designers to show you their design skills. Know before you go through the hiring process whether your candidate can hit the ground running.

Social Media

Social media is gaining steam for both job seekers and recruiters. According to the Pew Center for Research, 74 percent of online adults have at least one social networking profile now. You can use social media to get a better feel for a candidate’s personal brand and level of professionalism. If you see something wildly inappropriate on social media, your company might have just dodged a public relations disaster waiting to happen.

Video Interviewing

In today’s ultra-competitive landscape, connecting personally in the hiring process has become a must. Video interviews, particularly one-way video interviews, allow you to connect quickly with candidates without wasting much of your precious time.

Candidates answer your questions in short videos, which you can watch for any duration. If you know the candidate is all wrong for the job, you can easily move on to someone more qualified before the end of the interview. Plus, video interviewing allows you to lower barriers and cross borders, finding the best talent wherever they live without ponying up money for plane tickets.

Temporary Talent

According to the American Staffing Association, more than 11 million people are employed in temporary labor per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found temporary jobs edged up 216,000 jobs so far in 2014. Temporary labor is becoming more popular as employers find it harder and harder to find employees with the skills needed for the job.

If you use temporary talent, you can approach candidates from a “try before you buy” position. If the candidate turns out to be great, you can easily transition this person into a full-time employee. If the candidate falls down on the job, however, you can sever ties without all the stresses and strains of firing a permanent hire.

Evaluating Soft Skills

Soft skills are gaining in importance, as communication, collaboration, and outside interaction become more important parts of almost every industry. According to a study by Millennial Branding, 98 percent of employers are looking for candidates with top-notch communication skills.

Candidates with great soft skills also show the ability to grow and learn in their positions because they have the ability to listen. Being able to work together closely with coworkers and management can jump the skills gap, since these candidates are willing and able to learn new skills to add to their repertoire.

When you consider 46 percent of small business new hires fail within 18 months, and in 89 percent of the cases it’s due to company culture mismatch, you can see how important soft skills are when it comes to saving your bottom line. A good communicator with a positive attitude and ability to learn might actually be a better bet than an uninspired candidate with a perfect skill set.

Jumping the skills gap isn’t easy, which means you might need to step outside the box in order to attract and hire the people you need. By looking at some new ways to hire, you can find the top quality employees your company needs to succeed.

What do you think? What are you doing to jump the skills gap? Share in the comments!


Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about using video interviewing for cultural hiring and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.


Recruiting on Google+ [A Guide To Getting Started]

So why aren't more recruiters actively recruiting on Google+?

Recruiting on Google+, a beginner's guideAt the time of recording the following getting started guide, Google+ had twice as many active users as LinkedIn - and the added benefit that researching and contacting candidates on the social site is entirely free. Yet take-up by recruiters has been slow. So we invited Katrina Collier to give an introductory talk, helping you understand the basics of getting started on Google+ so that you can start to use it as a recruiting tool. The webinar recording includes insights into:

- Setting up your Google+ profile

- Organising your contacts in circles

- Targeting what you share to only be seen by specific contacts

- Searching for candidates on Google+ using both the Google+ search interface and using X-Ray searching

- Contacting candidates on Google+

- Discovering Google+ Communities (like LinkedIn Groups) and insights into the demographics of who is on Google+

Video Recording + Additional Resources

You'll find the recording below. Please do share if you find it helpful - and for more advanced tips on using Google+ to recruit do refer to the article How To Recruit on Google+



How To Develop a Powerful Social Media Strategy

If you’ve been attracted to read this article, you’re probably one of the growing number of recruiters who’s concluded that their business needs a social media strategy. I’ve worked intensively on developing and deploying social media strategies for the last 36 months. Initially to drive interest in Social-Hire… and increasingly to drive interest in the businesses of the recruiting clients we serve. So I thought it’d be a great way of helping our recruiter followers and contacts if I put into words (and an infographic for your wall!) some of the key things to act upon when drawing up and implementing your social media strategy.

With that in mind, grab yourself a coffee, take a deep breath and think through all of the following before you begin putting your social media strategy into place.

(Note: Once you get started, things will snowball and you’ll soon find your time being drained by activities that you wouldn’t have prioritised if you had thought through these issues from the outset!)

1. Define Your Target Audience

Who do you want to reach with your social presence? Potential candidates? Potential recruiting clients? What sectors are you targeting, in what geographies and at what levels of seniority? Do you hire for niche markets… and if so can they really all be served by one set of social profiles?

Before you do anything, these are the questions you need to ask yourself. In order for your strategy to be effective, you must have a clear and thorough understanding of who you want to reach so that you can develop your strategy accordingly. Knowing this information is essential to sourcing and creating content for your profiles and will help you identify the social media platforms your target audience are most likely to be using.

2. What Action Would You Like Your Target Audience To Take?

Looking ahead, what would constitute success for your team’s social media presence? Increased candidate traffic to your careers pages? Uploads of resumes to your ATS? Requests for a call to discuss hiring challenges that potential future clients are facing? The answer to these questions will influence the tone of your social profiles, the content you share, and the calls to action you introduce in your updates.

The bottom line: Decide what you wish to accomplish with your social media presence and then guide your target audience toward taking actions that will help you get there.

3. How Will Your Social Profiles Be Valuable To Your Target Audience?

Consider how following your social profiles will benefit a member of your target audience. What information, insights, data, interviews, humour, content would a typical member value receiving each day? Define this very clearly. Then, make your social profiles all about delivering this value, from the bio that appears on your profile page to the content that you deliver.

If your target audience comprises job seekers in a specialised industry, then sharing targeted content that will help them land a job or further their career in that field would be valuable. So too is specialist content from niche publications that your audience may not have come across before.

4. Brainstorm and Research Who Already Reaches Your Target Audience

Chances are, you don’t have as big an audience or following as you would like to have for your company. You can grow your audience by building relationships with non-competing businesses, organisations and individuals who reach the very audiences that you would like to reach. Figure out who they are – focusing particularly on those who have a track record of regularly re-sharing other people’s social posts – by brainstorming with colleagues and researching your demographics’ interests.

Go out of your way to share and comment on these influencers’ updates. In no time, you will start to see some of them reciprocating which will allow your own updates to be seen by their sizeable followings and dramatically increase your reach and visibility.

5. Devise Tactics To Get Your Profiles Noticed on Each Social Media Site

Typically, only 20 percent of a social site’s user base is active enough to see your updates and engage with your brand. It’s therefore essential that you devise tactics for each social site to ensure that you’ve isolated those users who are both relevant for your business and active on the site. Otherwise you risk 80%+ of your efforts being entirely in vain as you try to engage with accounts whose owners are simply never going to be aware of your attempts at engagement or see your posts.

6. Listen, Test, and Learn. Then, Repeat

Pay attention to what people in your target audience are saying on social media and the feedback you receive. Look out for mentions, comments, shares of your website content by others, etc. As well as direct feedback like comments, also pay attention to indirect feedback such as click data on your updates and resulting website traffic behavior when prospective candidates end up on your company site.

Facebook business pages, for instance, provide page insights that allow you to review the popularity of everything you post at a glance. Make note of the content with the highest engagement rate which measures the amount of people reached who then clicked, liked, commented on or shared your post. Do likewise on LinkedIn and on Twitter. Doing this will help you source and create stronger content in the future that will engage your audience more effectively. These are the steps that ensure you become a genuinely candidate and client focused business on social media.

In addition, track whether the desired actions you wanted your followers to take are actually being achieved and continually make adjustments to refine your presence. A company can have the most popular Facebook page by posting comics, memes and videos, but that would likely cause job seekers to see the profile as a source of entertainment rather than a resource to help them land a new job.

7. Make Time To Engage

How and when will you engage with your followers and potential followers? Have you set aside the necessary resources / hours to ensure you don’t compromise on engaging with your audience?

The reason this is so important is because the single biggest wins from your social strategy will come from the time you invest in engaging with your current and potential followers. These interactions spark conversations with potential clients or candidates, and these conversations will lead to you having a sales meeting or representing a candidate. However, this is also the element of your social workflow that is most at risk of being compromised when other demands in the business are competing for your time. You mustn’t allow other aspects of your working week to eat into this engagement time, or much of the benefit from your social presence will never truly be realised.

So there you have it – some pointers I hope you will find extremely useful in helping you to take your first steps in developing and implementing a powerful social media strategy for your business. If you’d like more help, or to find out how Social-Hire can support your social media efforts by having some of this work outsourced to us, feel free to set up a time for a free one-on-one consultation. And for those of you who’d like something to pin on your wall to help remind you of these pointers, here’s a more graphical format you’re welcome to use and share as you see fit!


How to Develop a Powerful Social Media Strategy

Leveraging Social Media To Become The Most Talked About Recruiting Brand in Your Niche!

Did you know that as you read this page, there are recruitment businesses growing their brand presence on social media? Some are striking up relationships with potential future clients. Some are growing a highly targeted audience of candidates in their sector. They are quite possibly developing a recruiting brand whose strength is staggering in relation to the size of their business. Worryingly they may well be building up a lead that it will be very costly for other recruitment businesses to claw back at a later date.

Leveraging Social Media for Recruitment Brand Building

That’s why I wanted to host a presentation all about leveraging social media to become the most talked about recruiting brand in your niche, so our recruiter contacts are better placed to act quickly. A strong social media presence can attract a steady flow of targeted candidates to your business. It can spark conversations with potential clients and elevate you to a position of authority in the niche recruiting markets you serve. But you have to have the right social media strategy in place; and you have to know how to deliver on that strategy. Hopefully the video recording below will help enormously. But if you'd like to accelerate things further, you are very welcome to schedule a call with the Social-Hire team to talk through your business and the steps it could be taking. Just book in a convenient time here.

Video Recording: Building Your Recruiting Brand on Social Media

Generally speaking, my recipe for success on any social platform involves initially defining very clearly the audience you want to reach and the ultimate goals of the business for its social media presence. It's also very important to brainstorm all the other businesses, organisations and professionals out there who probably already reach that audience but don't compete with you directly. I cover all this in the recording, along with the next steps which involve making sure you:

  1. Build profiles that ooze with valuable insights and quality content
  2. Proactively get your profile in front of the right audience (active, interested and engaged)
  3. Make time to engage with your followers and fellow group / community members

The slides are also available below, though I recommend the video recording above as lots of the worked examples, screenshares, etc. that I ran recruiters through you'll obviously only see by watching the recording.

FYI: if you didn't know Social-Hire already, we’re a social media outsourcing company focused exclusively on serving clients in the recruitment sector. We help recruitment businesses, recruitment technology companies, in-house recruiting teams, job boards and the like develop the right social media strategy…. and then deliver on that strategy day in day out. And we do all that for less than the cost of an intern. If you’d like to talk through your current social media strategy and ways we could work with you, simply request a callback and we'd be delighted to help.


Slides: Building Your Recruiting Brand on Social Media

If these insights have been helpful to you, please do consider sharing on your social networks. Thanks!



How To Land a Job in a LinkedIn World

Working with recruitment businesses and recruitment technology companies, I get to see first-hand how dramatically recruiting has evolved these last couple of years. How companies are using job boards and recruitment agencies has evolved. The ways they are now seeking to identify ideal candidates and approach them directly mean that many roles you would be interested in are never actually advertised and you simply can't find them anywhere online!

That's why I decided to organise a briefing for candidates who wanted to understand "how to land a job in a LinkedIn world". Below you'll find the video recording and the slide deck. In the first part of this session I concentrate on helping you understand how to go about searching for a new job in today's economy - and the crucial role that your social media presence now plays. Trust me, you almost certainly haven't taken all the steps you need to have taken to address this shift!

In addition, it's also true that - whatever industry you work in - right now there are executives who are furthering their careers through the intelligent use of social media. You could be one of them if you just knew how best to leverage these tools - and that's what I focus on in the second part of this presentation. Enjoy!

Watch Back the Video


I'm very grateful for all the business leads and help that my network have provided me with over the years. So I ran this webinar as my way of giving something back. I hope it also proves helpful to you - and if you'd like more insights like this simply follow us using the social media links at the bottom of the page...

Review the Slides


How To Recruit on Google+

Google+ is the great recruiting anomaly. It has more active users than LinkedIn. Rich profile data. Offers access to highly valuable candidate niches. Best of all, it's completely free to use. Yet recruiters have been slow to come on board.

This may well come down to a simple lack of knowledge about how to recruit on Google+. That's why we've teamed up with TalentCulture to help inform recruiters about the essentials of recruiting on Google+. Both our companies are social recruiting advocates and we wanted to help accelerate the adoption of Google+ by recruiters. Once you're up and running on Google+ do follow us for more insights like these! (Social-Hire here and TalentCulture here)

How To Recruit on Google+ by in partnership with TalentCulture

An Overlooked Goldmine of Talent

How To Recruit on Google+One reason for the slow uptake of Google+ must surely be that recruiters question whether it can help them hit their recruiting targets. So let's start off by addressing this concern.

Here is a platform that has more active users than LinkedIn. Its total user base is over 1 billion people, making it second only to Facebook in terms of potential reach. Plus its active user numbers are considerably greater than LinkedIn's, meaning there's more chance of candidates responding to your approaches or updates in a prompt manner.

Google+ also offers recruiters access to some highly valuable candidate niches. Research user demographics with the CircleCount tool and you'll see Google+ has strong adoption amongst IT professionals and amongst students, to name just a couple that you may be excited to tap into.

Not all users have filled out their profiles as comprehensively as they have done on LinkedIn, but this is offset by the richness of information a recruiter can glean. By seeing the content users have shared and the groups communities they are active in, recruiters can learn a lot about a prospective hire and find ways to engage them most effectively.

Hopefully I'm starting to whet your appetite as to what's possible in terms of recruiting on Google+? The only issue I can see is that some recruiters may have become hooked on the enterprise tools that LinkedIn provide. It's true that if you just want to quickly research a long list of candidates to approach and then quickly fire off messages to your targets, Google+ will seem arduous and time consuming by comparison. But if your company's success hinges on reaching a higher proportion of those targets - and candidates that are inevitably missed on LinkedIn - then adding Google+ to your recruiting armour is absolutely essential.

The two approaches you are most likely to be interested in are:

  • Building Your Recruiting Brand on Google+
  • Sourcing Candidates on Google+

... I'll be concentrating on the first of these - plus suggesting articles that cover the sourcing angle - after having walked you through setting up your profiles on Google+

Setting Up Your Google+ Profiles

You can think about your presence on Google+ in similar terms to your presence on LinkedIn. Individual recruiters can have their own profiles and be active on the site in their own right. Company brands can also have their own company profiles and recruiting presence on Google+.

The huge advantage over LinkedIn is that company profiles on Google+ can do almost everything that individual profiles can do. As a company or recruiting brand you can be active in communities (think groups), you can circle other people (think follow), comment on their posts and +1 them (equivalent to a 'like'). As we'll talk about in the section on building your recruiting brand, this allows you to be proactive in building your recruiting brand's following - something which on LinkedIn can only be achieved through paid advertising. The significance of this is huge, particularly for any recruiters trying to operate on a limited budget. Company profiles also elicit from people a different reaction than a personal recruiter profile, so it's well worth investing time in creating and maintaining both.

So the first step is clearly going to be setting up both your individual and your company recruiting profiles. Then we'll want to understand the workings of Google+ so that we know how to use these profiles in an effective manner.

There have been lots of outstanding posts written about how to create a visually appealing, keyword rich and targeted profile. So in the interests of brevity, for those needing help with setting up profiles I would point you to the following excellent resources:

>> How to create a Google+ profile (for individual recruiters)

- see the excellent step-by-step walkthrough on Google+ and further ideas in this Google+ profile tips post by Hallam Internet

>> How to create a Google+ company page (to represent your recruiting or employer brand)

- again the company page walkthrough on Google+ is a great starting point and you'll also find this video by Google+ expert Martin Shervington a helpful resource.

For now, let's turn our attentions to some of the basics you'll need to know once you've created your profiles.

How To Recruit on Google+: The Basics

Getting organised. One of the things I love about Google+ is the ability to follow people in a manner that allows you to be hyper targeted (which in Google terminology is"circling" someone...). On your profile (under 'People') you can create as many circles as you like, named in the manner you choose. Other people on Google+ know when you have circled them, but they don't know the name of the circle or circles you put them into.

As a recruiter, you can therefore create circles for each area of the business you recruit for, or for each job title in your business, or any other grouping that will help you to get organised.

Once you have circled people in this way, you can then view your homepage and filter to show only updates from a certain circle. Similarly, when you share updates you can choose to share them only with certain circles. In this way, you can really have Google+ tailored for whatever is most important to your business at any point in time. 

Being smart. Google+ is no different to LinkedIn or Twitter in the sense that the majority of profiles you'll visit aren't what could be called "active" users of the site. There's the scope to lose a lot of time circling and messaging people who aren't likely to see your interest in them anytime in the next hours or days. So as with all social platforms, you always have to have one eye on whether what you're doing is reaching real engaged users or simply disappearing into the Google+ abyss.

Having said this, one of the huge advantages of Google+ in my experience is that active users typically respond or react in a matter of hours - much the same as you'd be used to if you're an engaged user of twitter. For anyone who's grown tired of waiting for a response on LinkedIn, only to get one months later, this is a real breath of fresh air!

This of course stands to reason. A logged in Google+ user sees their notifications flag every time they visit Google, YouTube, Gmail ... or any of Google's other web services. For most businesspeople, it's pretty hard to go through a day's work without being exposed to these notifications multiple times.

Getting Noticed on Google+

Which brings me nicely onto a look at the notifications feature. If we want to be noticed, we need to know what triggers our activities appearing in someone else's notifications stream, in a way that's natural and appealing - rather than aggressive and spammy. The following are worth noting:

  • Adding someone to your circles or adding them back (reciprocating them having added you) appears in notifications.
  • Commenting on someone's post, resharing it or +1'ing a post appears in notifications - of these, comments are most likely to be noticed.
  • +1'ing a comment someone's made appears in notifications and is a good way of acknowledging those who are giving life to a discussion; it's also good for acknowledging you've seen a comment someone left you.
  • Inviting your circles to join a community or to attend an event or live video broadcast (hangout on air) appears in notifications.
  • A summary of all new posts into a community appears in community members' notifications
  • Sharing a post with specific circles (rather than just publicly) results in your introduction to the post appearing in the notifications of those you targeted.

On this last point, it should be stressed that lots of people who have circled you will see your post if you just share it publicly, as active users tend to check their homepage frequently. Sharing with specific circles and therefore bringing the post into someone's notifications can become tiresome if not done sparingly. So only do this for your most valuable posts (valuable for those following you rather than valuable for you) or you risk losing "followers" or having them tune out your updates.

Having established how you can gain visibility with your profiles, let's turn to look at how you can actually leverage this to build up a strong candidate following - either for yourself as an individual recruiter, or for your recruiting or employer brand page.

Building Your Recruiting Brand on Google

Let me start by showing you how quickly it's possible to grow a following - and generate engagement - on Google+. This interactive chart (thanks again Circlecount) shows how my own profile grew at a phenomenal rate in the 10 months after I embarked on building a Google+ presence. You'll notice that both my follower count and the engagement on my posts accelerated dramatically once I started putting the right approach in place.


Generally speaking, my recipe for success on any social platform is as follows:

  1. Build profiles that ooze with valuable insights and quality content, so that people who come across them are given a compelling reason to follow you.
  2. Figure out ways on that social platform to identify the users who are i) active, ii) interested in the things your profile will become known for and ideally iii) already demonstrating that they like to share and comment on other people's posts.
  3. Make time to engage with your followers and fellow group / community members so that you give your profiles a real sense of personality and your followers a real sense that they "belong" to a community of sorts.

Building profiles that are valuable to your target audience (1) is not really specific to Google+. If you need help figuring this out - and it should be part of your overall social media strategy as a recruiter - I would direct you to a recent guest post I wrote for Totaljobs.

Engaging with followers once you've won them (3) is also not specific to Google+. But the basic principle (on any social platform) is that the more personal interactions someone has with your recruiting brand (or with you as an individual recruiter), the more inclined they will be to look out for - and engage with - your future updates. It's a step that I often see people fail to address and that can leave you with a sizeable following, but of candidates who don't really click on many of your updates or ever share them with their networks. 

It's identifying the right people to try and engage with (2) that is crucial. This is true on all social platforms, but particularly so on Google+ where the overwhelming majority of users are only occasional users (it's not dissimilar to Twitter in this respect). 

Just as on twitter, I suggest searching Google+ for the type of content you intend to share and any related hashtags. For example, a search for the URL on Google+ brings up shares of content from that website – plus all the people who’ve +1’d the content, reshared it or commented on it. Taking this approach, we know the types of content these people are interested in, we know they are active on Google+ and we know that they are the types of users who will engage with other people’s content. You’ll soon be circling people who have a high propensity to circle you back, be interested in what you’re sharing and inclined to re-share your posts. Bullseye!

Experiment and Incorporate Strong Visuals and Personality

It's well worth keeping an eye on the "What's Hot" section of Google+ to see the types of content that are generating the greatest user response. At the time of writing, I would say that posts incorporating striking or entertaining visuals are generating strong reactions. Similarly, occasional posts that reveal your personality or that show that your brand has a human side are also strong performers. Here's a recent example from my own profile which combines both these points and has attracted a lot of shares and interest.



You should keep an eye on what is working well for you and what is not though, as these things change over time. Also note that some Google+ Communities are particularly vibrant, while others are subdued - and some that were vibrant simply die a slow death if the founders cease to manage and nurture them. So always be trying to adjust your approach to reflect what's producing results. Incidentally, if you'd like some Google+ Communities to get you started I can recommend TalentCulture's World of Work community for those working in Recruiting / Talent / HR; our Social-Hire Job Search Advice + Recruiter Contacts community; Andy Headworth's Recruiting with Google+ community as a specialist recruiter help forum and the Plus Your Business! community for broader Google+ help and insights.

It’s only by monitoring reactions to what you are posting – and where you are posting it – that you’ll be in a position to adjust your strategy and maximise your effectiveness. Don’t assume that you can just replicate what’s working well on LinkedIn, or that what works well now will work well a year from now.

Sourcing Candidates on Google+

It would require a sizeable post just to do justice to the topic of sourcing candidates on Google+. Since others are more expert in this topic than I am, I will simply point you to some recommended resources. To dip your toe in the water and get a feel for the types of candidates you could reach out to on Google+, it's certainly worth taking a few minutes to have a play with Social-Hire's candidate search tool.

Anyone serious about sourcing will want to take this to the next level though and so I recommend taking a look at SourceCon's excellent Everything You Need to Know to Source Candidates on Google+. For a shorter read you could also turn to point 3 of Andy Headworth's 10 Ways To Use Google Plus For Recruitment.

Concluding Remarks

I hope I've inspired you to think more seriously about using Google+ as a recruiting tool. I hope also to have made it easier for you to get started and to figure out how Google+ can be part of your wider recruitment branding (and sourcing) strategy. If you need more help getting your social strategy right, you're of course welcome to schedule a call with us to walk through the things you could be doing differently and more effectively as a recruiting team or recruitment business. Otherwise, I look forward to engaging with you on Google+ in the coming weeks!


Connect6° - Candidate Sourcing on Steroids?

With more than half of employed people either actively seeking or open to new job opportunities*, the passive job market offers huge potential for recruiters who know how to find and connect with top talent.  Tapping into this candidate audience has been one big element of LinkedIn’s success these last years. But as I noted in my post "2014: The Year LinkedIn Loses Out to Twitter and Facebook?", the situation was ripe for other candidate sourcing tools to emerge that would tap into much more than just LinkedIn.

“The likes of Twitter and Facebook – to date only modestly used as hiring tools – could suddenly see a surge in recruiter activity” I wrote at the time. “I expect both to be adopted by recruiters with far more vigour as 2014 unfolds, particularly as people aggregators gain traction and make sourcing from these channels increasingly easy.”


Candidate Sourcing Tools

Well one of the things I love about leading the Social-Hire team is that I come into contact with entrepreneurs behind lots of new recruitment technology start-ups. Take Connect6° which launched its Chrome extension called PeopleDiscovery this week. They’re doing exactly what I predicted in that post late last year and I’ll try to give you a flavour here for what’s possible with this new candidate sourcing tool. But there’s nothing better than seeing a tool in action, so pause for just one minute to have a look at their demo video. Most recruiters I imagine will be salivating when they see what the Connect6° team have made possible...

You can see in a nutshell that this is precisely the type of tool that is making it much easier to find and connect with passive candidates and extend your reach way beyond just LinkedIn!

So What is Connect6°?

Having been one of the first to have a play with the Connect6° service, I’d draw attention to there being two distinct offerings. The first is a search engine called PeopleSearch that helps recruiters (and salespeople for that matter) discover candidates (or prospects) based on keywords embedded within their social profiles. So whereas on LinkedIn you’re only searching the LinkedIn membership, here you’re searching a combined pool of 550m+ social profiles.

The second element is PeopleDiscovery, a browser extension that provides contact information about contacts as you visit different websites – for which you got a taste in the above demo video.

My aim here is to briefly describe how to use each tool to get the most out of them. 

Using the PeopleDiscovery Browser Extension

The Connect6° browser extension, currently available on the Chrome Store, dynamically displays contact information as you browse the web. This typically includes a profile picture, brief bio, contact details, and the person’s social links. The plug-in is not dissimilar to Rapportive, which many readers will know provides contextual information about your contacts within Gmail.

The big difference with the Connect6° browser extension is that it displays information about people you don’t know – and on a range of websites. So you can pull up information as you’re browsing Twitter or LinkedIn for example, scanning contacts in or whilst you’re in Gmail. 

So, how does it work?

As you browse web pages, Connect6° places a small icon next to any contacts on the webpage. When you hover over the icon, the person’s profile is automatically displayed in a sidebar. Here’s the Connect6° template of what’s included, but you get the best idea from simply seeing it in action on the video above:

Candidate Sourcing with the Connect6° PeopleDiscovery Browser Extension

What will particularly excite recruiters is that you can get the contact details of candidates directly from the Connect6° sidebar, with a variety of sources being used to research and track down each individual’s contact details. If you’ve uploaded your own connections (via LinkedIn or Facebook), you can also view a social graph showing any contacts you have that connect you to the person you’re researching.

There are a few other bells and whistles that come with the browser extension. Icons appear next to the contact’s name on the sidebar and can provide some more useful information and functionality:

  •  the ability to perform a custom search with PeopleSearch based on specific criteria
  •  the ability to search for related profiles within PeopleSearch.
  •  the ability to add the contact to your favorites for future follow-up
  •  review all your favorites within PeopleSearch

Using the PeopleSearch Tool

No prizes for guessing that the PeopleSearch tool is a powerful people aggregator search tool, enabling recruiters to search across 550+ million social and technical profiles by title, skill, location, and other search criteria to quickly discover new shortlist-calibre candidates. So instead of doing separate searches on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Github, etc., you can do your candidate sourcing with a single search that then spans all of these networks. The potential here in terms of both saving time and ensuring you don’t overlook candidates probably needs no spelling out.

Candidate Sourcing with Connect6° PeopleSearch

As you would expect, you can add search terms for specific job skills like java, python, jquery or product management; you can also hunt using job titles, company names, schools or even look for specific people in the main search bar.  You can also narrow down by location. Within the search bar you apply Boolean logic to broaden or narrow down your search by adding new lines and requirements to the query. You’ll probably find it simplest to start with a broader, simpler search – then review the results and refine them by adding more search criteria.

For each profile match, Connect6° provides contact and professional details, including a picture, title, skills summary and contact details – essentially the same information you saw in the browser extension above. Connect6° also provides links to each person’s social profiles including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, StackOverflow and Github (among others).

Other useful features include saving your query and using it again or modifying it for slightly different job roles or locations.

You can further refine your search results by source (e.g., just show candidates who have a GitHub profile), by connections, and by the location radius (find candidates within a 10, 25, 50 or 100-mile radius of the city). Customers who upload their own connections (e.g., via LinkedIn and Facebook) can view a social graph charting the connections between you and the job candidate of interest.

Candidate Sourcing made easy with Connect6°PeopleSearch

As with the browser extension, you can “favorite” candidates for follow-up or simply click to get their email address (and phone number if available). In either case, you will be asked to assign the contact to an opportunity. Think of opportunities as virtual folders that let you organize all of your hiring requirements in one place. You can then find specific candidates in your Favorites tab by selecting the relevant opportunity.

As for the contact details, these come from a variety of third-party sources. If Connect6° does not have the contact details, it usually can get them within 24-48 hours from these sources or through crowdsourcing. This is obviously one aspect of the offering that I haven’t been able to test out rigourously, but if Connect6° have this nailed then the floodgates could really open up for recruiters to migrate from LinkedIn to an alternative where the communication is actually delivered direct to candidates’ email inboxes!

So What Does Connect6° Cost?

Connect6° is launching PeopleSearch and PeopleDiscovery as free services during the open beta phase. You’re provided with 50 free contact credits upon signup and 25 free contact credits per month thereafter (for the duration of the beta program).  Every time you request a candidate’s contact details and Connect6° is able to deliver them, you use up one contact credit. I’ve yet to hear what the ongoing costs for using Connect6° are going to be once the beta period has ended. I suspect in part that’ll depend on how much recruiters come to love the service – and how much people find they’re able to rely on the candidate contact information that Connect6° provides. But I guess that makes it all the more worthwhile getting in there early and assessing the value of the tool before any charges are introduced. What are you waiting for?!

If you’ve any observations after you’ve had a chance to play around with the tool and experiment with contacting candidates this way, do feel free to leave a comment in the section below.

One Last Thing

This is a new style of content for us here on Social-Hire. We’ve not historically written about the launches of new social recruiting services or attempted to help readers understand how these services could be useful. Has this write-up been insightful and would you like to see more like this on the site in the coming months? Again please do share your thoughts in the comments or by contacting us on our social media profiles (for links see bottom of page). Thanks, Tony