Ed. Note: This begins a series of posts from Richard Weaver of My Expert People on the world of social recruiting. Be on the lookout for parts two and three, coming soon!

Social recruiting Babyhas been one of the big stories in hiring over the past few years. Led by LinkedIn, social networks are routinely used to increase reach, spread news of jobs, and/or actively identify potential candidates.

But is the hype justified?

Firstly, there have been many cautionary tales of candidates being discounted for jobs based on their Twitter and Facebook activity, but Social Talent reports just 26 percent of recruiters regularly use Facebook in their recruiting efforts; similarly, only 14 percent regularly use Twitter.

The same survey reported on by Social Talent noted that 79 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn for much of their candidate recruiting, and many slick LinkedIn users understand its power as a showcase for their talents.

This leads me to my second point: recruiters can only use publically available information. A candidate can look fantastic on a polished LinkedIn profile, and they may even share mutual contacts with the recruiter. If you’re at the short list stage, looking at a candidate’s activity on Twitter or Quora can tell you if the candidate knows their subject and if their views command respect. But a kick-ass social presence doesn’t tell you what a candidate is actually like to work with day in and day out.

Hiring can be labor-intensive and expensive; firing even more so. Social media is, despite the buzz, still limited in what it can tell us about potential candidates.

I just don’t feel social alone is the answer.

Does the answer lie in other technology? After all, in addition to social, mobile recruiting and online and video assessments have been touted as the future of recruitment.

I have no doubt that the use of the mobile platform in recruitment will continue to grow. Organizations seeking innovators will need to allow candidates to apply for jobs directly through their mobile phones. I also believe online candidate assessments will become more prevalent, and live video interviews will become a standard, rather than experimental, practice.

HatHowever, in my mind, I keep coming back to risk: these innovations can help us source a wider range of talent more quickly than ever. They can even save time in the initial interview stages. But we’re still no closer to knowing if we’ve made the right hire — which remains the criteria on which recruiters are (or should be) judged.

No matter how great an organization’s online recruiting strategy is, I believe there is still a place for the personal touch, especially when it comes to reaching top talent in competitive industries.

Personal recommendations minimize the unknowns and save time. Technology has to be applied in association with classical recruiting skills if we’re to experience a true revolution.

Next time, I’ll be tackling the increasing debate on what social recruiting actually means. Doesn’t recruitment that’s truly social need to be conducted within a purpose-built social network, rather than what are essentially public forums?

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