Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lead 'Em or Lose 'Em: How social recruiting raises the game for leaders

Guest post by Pam Fox Rollin

You plan to keep your best employees, right? You know it's going to be tough as more companies return to hiring. But, hey, you do a decent job of creating a good place to work, and your people aren't looking for jobs.

Check that.

Even if by some chance your employees aren't looking, other companies are looking for them. And, they are very likely to find your high-demand talent more easily than ever.

This week at the ERE Recruiting Innovation Summit at LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View I saw many shiny new tools for poaching your people, and recruiters eager to use them. For example, recruiters may sign up to be pinged whenever an engineer at your company connects with more people than usual on LinkedIn.

As ace-recruiter Craig Fisher @Fishdogs quipped, "recruiters really aren't looking for the perfect candidate." Recruiters are just looking for that one person they can easily find who has "close enough" experience to get hired. And, with social media tools, it's easier than ever to find your people and build relationships. Craig sets up his FourSquare account to connect with people who frequent the coffee shop across the street from targeted groups.

How can you "protect" your team members from being contacted by recruiters?

You can't.

In the past, companies have blocked known recruiter numbers from their voicemail system. Of course, recruiters can just call from their cell phone. Or connect on Facebook. Or message them on LinkedIn. Or find them at Starbucks at just the time they know they'll be there. Their friends can text them from their mobile phones with job recommendations from apps that scour their friends' Facebook pages to suggest jobs for friends who aren't even looking, yet. Company-as-walled-city is over.

What you can do is make your side of the equation more compelling. And that takes leadership. We used to think that retention is primarily a function of the quality of the employee's immediate supervisor, as well as pay.

With globalization and ever shorter product life cycles, many employees know that their supervisor today may be heading up a new initiative next quarter. Supervisors are ephemeral. Corporate leadership isn't. Corporate culture isn't.

Nilofer Merchant @Nilofer, in her inspiring and challenging conference keynote, described corporate culture as "dark matter" - we can't see it, but it shapes our universe more profoundly than anything we can see.

Recruiters know this. Employer branding experts circulated through the ERE Recruiting Innovation Summit, promising to "tell the story" of companies through frequently-refreshed videos on Facebook Careers pages.

Will recruiters tell a better story about your competitors than your employees can tell about you?

Leaders, telling the story of your company is your job. Contributing to a culture that engages your team members over the long haul is your job. Making meaning as well as numbers is your job. Hiring supervisors who can lead their teams, and the next, and the next - that's your job, too.

Your leadership becomes ever more crucial as recruiters use social media to engage and entice your people.

Now is the time to raise your game. Help your managers become better leaders. Create better experiences and opportunities for your team. That's the best protection you'll ever have.

Pam Fox Rollin helps Silicon Valley executives make their strongest start. Her company, IdeaShape, helps leadership teams function well together and make the most of new talent. Clients hire Pam for individual coaching, leadership offsites, teambuilding with Myers-Briggs, and keynotes. Visit, "like", and learn at Pam's facebook page for 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role: http://www.facebook.com/LeadStartBook . Or connect on Twitter @PamFR.


  1. "What you can do is make your side of the equation more compelling" - I can't agree with you more. But more importantly, employers shouldn't see this as a bad thing, should they? Cultivating a good working environment in which your employees are happy and proud to be part of is one of the things all employers aim at.

  2. What a great post! You're really raising the bar around here. I think 'telling the story of your company' will (or should) become the new standard in leadership, recruiting, retention and company culture.


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