It’s been some time since social recruiting was the new thing, at least in the circle of conferences, unconferences, prezis, slideshares, webinars and blogs that I tend to inhabit (since you’re reading this, you may too, inhabit this world).

However, as you and I both know, the recruiters who embrace social recruiters are not necessarily in the majority, no matter how much infographics and oft-quoted case studies would have us believe. In fact, only HR professionals are less inclined to use social media in their talent acquisition efforts. But of those that do think that social media is a well suited medium by which to recruit, I wonder if we’re losing focus on what recruiting really is.

Recruiting, in case it’s been forgotten is about the ask. It’s about getting someone to yes to an opportunity they may have never considered before. Right now, when you click on social recruiting much of what you see focuses on the lead up to the “ask” or the offer presentation. Phrases like “Content is King” and “Recruiting is about relationships” while true can be misleading. Is that a great plan for training a whole new slew of folks entering the talent acquisition biz?

It’s not that relationships shouldn’t exist, but the lack of training in the direct offer and ask that is bothering me. But the either/or conundrum isn’t anything new to our industry, points out Glen Cathey:

Why does it seem to be ingrained in human nature to have an either/or mentality – as if things have to be one way or the other, but not both. Like phone sourcing vs. database sourcing. You can and should do both, and I hope you are trying to contact and develop relationships with people identified via both methods.

This isn’t unique to HR or recruiting, sales and marketing are suffering from the same lack of training. As marketing and advertising become more accessible to darn near everyone, training in the so called “soft skills” are easier than banging around on the phone everyday. Asking for the sale, or asking for the offer are rapidly dwindling from our daily lives, leaving a gaping hole where…comprehensive training used to be.

Marie Larsen stated (here on last year) that the actual job offer (the ask) is the most important part of a recruiter’s job:

In recruiting, the job offer is the pivotal point of the hiring process because it includes all the details about compensation and the exact duties of the job that a new hire is getting. A job offer is more than just an offer of compensation to a prospective employee, it is the culmination of weeks of work for the recruiter and the final result of resume screening and interviews.

So if we know it’s important and we know it’s a necessary and completely essential skill, why is it being ignored in the materials out there for recruiters? My top five reasons:

1) They think you already know. Five years ago when a lot of this started, we began educating JUST on social because most folks understood traditional recruiting and precisely what it entailed. But as new folks come into the industry and look around for informal education, they aren’t getting “back to basics”.

2) It’s not sexy. Social recruiting, while not brand spanking new any longer, is still more fun to talk about than “working a desk”.

3) It’s harder. Social recruiting (and this is a dirty little secret) is kind of fun! Building relationships, engaging on twitter and facebook, even LinkedIn, it connects us and only recently have we had to prove ROI. Asking for the sale, putting together a great job offer, and getting the client to say yes, are NOT as fun to learn.

4) It’s measurable. When someone says yes or no, it’s tangible. Those are not statistics that can be manipulated.

5) It’s less open to interpretation. There are not hundreds of variations on the job offer, there are a few. And most good recruiters will tell you that you must learn them outright.

Are you teaching the recruiters in your organization the full cycle of recruiting? Your readers? Is the “sale” and the “offer” and the “ask” going out of style? Should it? Leave your answer in the comments.


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