25 June 2012

The Social Recruiting Market Is The Recruiting Market

Josh Bersin recently posted "Social Recruiting goes Wild" on Forbes.com in which he provides a good, comprehensive list of web services in today's social recruiting market.  His underlying point that the social recruiting tools and services market is strongly growing, with LinkedIn as the shining beacon on the hill, slightly misses a more salient point that experienced corporate recruiting leaders, like myself, have known for some years now.

The social recruiting market is the recruiting market. Any recruiting tool or services vendor that does not have a social dimension has been losing relevance or has been irrelevant for years. The vast majority of recruiting tools and services vendors have either been focused on social or have added social to their core offering.

A few comments on some of the vendors he lists:

Jobvite: I am on record many times as a strong enthusiast and multiple repeat customer of this comprehensive corporate recruiting platform (including my applicant tracking system of choice since December 2007).

TalentBin: My most recent recruiting team took a swipe at using this service.  We found the concept to be innovative, but the implementation a bit tedious.

ViewsOnYou:  I am trying this out now. Too early to tell how well it works. Seems like a great concept, but it relies on me spamming my Facebook friends to respond in order for it to work. I hit up a bunch of my FB friends so far (all former colleagues) and am waiting to see how that goes before I spam any more of them.

BranchOut:  I was an early adopter and noticed they like to experiment with different ideas. The basic idea makes plenty of sense: leverage the Facebook social graph and build a professional network app to compete with LinkedIn. Their core problems are two-fold:

(1) The predominant flavor of FB is casual and non-work related (photo sharing, news links, random statuses), which leads to most users eschewing the mixture of their professional life into their FB login experience;

(2) BranchOut prioritized viral user acquisition over the fundamental stickiness of its app. As a result, they over spammed the entire FB user base, flushed their brand value down the toilet, and now the active user numbers are in calamitous free fall.

I am glad I did not spend any money on BranchOut, either as a corporate recruiting leader or as an individual user.  It was about a year ago that I spoke with one of BranchOut's sales people who gave a long winded pitch but never sent me the paperwork they said they would to set up a corporate subscription.

Bersin's summary analysis is generally correct. I also appreciate his inclusion of web services addressing the contract/temporary/part time talent market, which has been growing for many years. However, much like the iPad market is the tablet computer market, social recruiting is recruiting. To not say so leaves an elephant in the room.