My Plea to Retire the Term #SocialRecruiting

In a spirit of full disclosure, the buzz word #socialrecruiting has always annoyed me. This is my plea to retire the term, or at least recognize it for what it really is – one piece of the sourcing and recruiting process that we should all have a firm grasp of at this point.

Why am I venting about this in 2014? Last month, my Twitter stream was full of posts using the term. I started to wonder if I was crazy, or if we had just transported back a few years in time. After all, the term is outdated, and in my experience, those still using the term in blogs or employment interviews (at least in the U.S.), lack the depth of a well-trained sourcer or recruiter with a thorough understanding of advanced sourcing and recruiting methodologies. Yes, using the term will get clicks from the uninformed who still think this is a new trend, but will it increase your credibility as a thought leader? I don’t think so.

What’s the difference in #socialrecruiting and sourcing?

Since a lot of people seem to use the terms #socialrecruiting and sourcing interchangeably, I decided to check with my peers to see how they would define the difference. My first stop was the SourceCon Facebook Group. I tried to bring up the topic without giving away my bias.

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I then went in to our weekly SourceCon Google+ Hangout ON AIR and discussed the subject with the experts on the call.

Most of the practitioners and thought leaders I questioned agree that social recruiting should be considered as a part of sourcing and recruiting process. I agree with Master Burnett that the term social recruiting has “outlived its distinction.” Like Master states above, social recruiting is basic recruiting.

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In 2009, when social media sites were still new and being integrated into the recruiting workflow, this was a valid topic to focus on for a conference or event. Today, 5 years after the first Social Recruiting Summit took place in NYC, the conversation is stale. In 2014, if you still think social recruiting is distinct from sourcing and recruiting, I don’t think you have a good understanding of sourcing and recruiting at all.

What do you think? Should we stop blogging and talking about #socialrecruiting? Is the conversation outdated?

picket sign image via

Jeremy Roberts, SPHR, is VP, Customer Experience at HiringSolved. He is the previous Editor of SourceCon. Prior to joining the ERE Media team, he spent over a decade working as a recruiter, sourcer, and sourcing manager. This time was spent in diverse environments, including third party agency settings (retained and contingent), recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers, and internal corporate HR departments. His previous employers include the MHA Group, Ajilon Finance, Korn Ferry Futurestep, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, and Randstad Sourceright, US. He resides in Corinth, TX with his wife and 3 children.


3 Comments on “My Plea to Retire the Term #SocialRecruiting

  1. Nice article, Jeremy. I think this conversation is highly based in connotative semantics. Of course, semantics don’t really mean much when you’re a Boolean expert, but that said, for those of us who like language, this is interesting both from a etymological standpoint as well as just plain being good writing. Stepping up the game!

  2. I think a ton of folks use the term without really knowing what Social Recruiting is all about. Having a twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook account and doing a search on those platforms to find a candidate is not Social Recruiting …

  3. Tend to agree, but what about “big data” or “cloud,” first? C’mon!

    While several of you like KSwin made me laugh, I wonder 2 things. 1. If I’m in my truck, and peel off the highway into sand, mud, etc. then I’m off-roading. 2. If I’m piloting a plane, and because of turbulence/bad weather, I’m forced to detour- am I still flying/piloting a plane? Semantics, right?

    Call it what you want. True sourcers as we know them today know the difference. Technophiles, sure, but it has nothing to do with a disorder of neural development like… I don’t know… Autism? 😉

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