We’re led to believe that everyone has a social footprint. “Tim, even Grandmas are on Facebook now!” “LinkedIn has over 414 Million users!” “Facebook has over 2 Billion users!” “Snapchat has over 100 Million users and is the fastest growing social platform!” Basically, if you can’t find someone on social media, they’re a ghost!
If you actually work in Talent Acquisition, you know that “you can find anyone on social media” is the biggest myth being sold in recruiting today!
For all those millions and billions of people on social networks, there are millions more who you will never find if your recruitment strategy is to only post jobs on your career site, social networks and source on the internet. These “social ghosts” are not constrained by economics. For every low-wage social ghost, there are six-figure social ghosts. These social ghosts are not necessarily constrained by demographics. Sure, you’ll find plenty of older social ghosts than younger social ghosts, but you’ll still find a lot of both!
So, how do you find these social ghosts?
I like to fish. I’ve learned that there are times to fish where everyone else is fishing, because that’s usually where the fish are, and times to fish where no one else is fishing. Social recruitment is a lot like that. Right now, most recruiters are all fishing in the same giant pond of social. Almost no one is fishing in any other ponds. You’ll see some temp agency folks doing some traditional stuff, but for the most part, we’re all just following each other from one hotspot to the next.
To catch these social ghosts, you have to fish in a completely different pond, with completely different bait. Okay, that’s enough fish talk!
The great thing about social ghosts is you’re usually one of the very few to ever come into contact with them. No other recruiters are calling them. They’re not jaded to the industry, and flooded with emails and LinkedIn requests—they’re like baby deer in a forest with spots still on them!
Here’s how I go ghost hunting (err, fishing):
- Referrals. But not your normal, “Hey, who do you know?” I like to ask for folks to give me a name of someone they work with who doesn’t have a social profile! The funny thing is people know exactly who these folks are!
- Dead profiles in your database. I love to hire interns to go ghost hunting in our database. Call people we haven’t talked to from 3-5 years ago, but that have skills or education that we are searching for now. They always revive some of these folks!
- Traditional advertising. No, not newspapers. Social ghosts aren’t like you and me! They listen to normal radio, drive down the road and look at billboards—they’ll pick up a flyer off their windshield! We laugh at this stuff as being dated, but it’s cheap and it works because no one does it anymore! Last year, we paid $500 to advertise on a billboard across the street from a competitor we wanted to pull talent from and got 3 hires in the first week. $500! We had been trying socially for months to pull people out of there.
You can’t catch social ghosts by sourcing online the same way you do each day. You’ll never see these folks utilizing your social skills. Find a friend or family member who has no social footprint and find out how they gather information. What they’ll tell you will tell you where you need to be spending some time!