How I Wrote My New Book – Social Media Recruitment

book printing

After fourteen months in the making, my latest project – my new book, Social Media Recruitment – is now published*. And if I say so myself it is a damn good book –ok, I am a little biased 🙂
I had the pleasure of taking delivery of some copies of the book this week, and I am really. The publishers Kogan Page have done a great job on the production side – the many emails back and forth, checking and re-checking, at the end of last year were worth it! What is even better is that Social Media Recruitment is already a No.1 New Release on Amazon based on pre-orders, which is absolutely fantastic.

Social Media Recruitment Amazon

* Released on Amazon UK  3rd May, everywhere else on your country Amazon site 28th May, but you can pre-order now.

The early reviews weren’t bad either ( here are just three) ….

‘The definitive guide to social media recruitment. Packed with practical advice and examples, this book makes a compelling case for social recruiting for even the most hardened social media sceptic. A must-read for those new to social recruiting, but with plenty of great content for those who are already social too.’ Gemma Reucroft, HR Director, Tunstall Group

‘Having worked in Recruitment/Talent Acquisition for 20 odd years, the current environment is exciting, fast paced, quickly evolving and for many …scary. Andy gets this, and this book is really going to help you. The vital importance of snaring good people is critical to business success. This book will give you the edge to get great people inside your walls.’Hassanah Rudd, Australia Recruitment Manager, Fletcher Building

‘It’s not often that you find a resource that not only outlines the current recruitment landscape in a meaningful way, but also gives practical steps for Talent Acquisition leaders to take to improve their results. Andy Headworth accomplishes this. Understanding the critical skill shortages in organizations
is a key factor in any recruitment strategy being effective. Andy tackles this with ease and includes case studies to back up all aspects of social media use for recruitment success. Whether you’re starting your strategy from the ground up, or you already have a strategy in place, Andy’s tips and examples provide direction for leaders on all parts of the spectrum.’ Trish McFarlane, CEO and Co-Founder, HRevolutionize LLP

The more I have talked to people over the last couple of months about the book, there has been one question that I keep getting asked – what was it like to write the book? So, I thought I would share some of my experiences on my journey in writing this book.

What it is like to write a book?  Here is my story about writing my new book, Social Media Recruitment.

The whole process started with Twitter.

Back in February the commissioning editor from Kogan Page (who had recently joined from CIPD) recognised a gap in the market for a book on social media recruiting. So she set about researching potential writers, starting on Twitter, seeing who was talking about the subject. And of course she found me there tweeting about social recruiting! Then she did what any good research person would do and systematically checked my profiles and content out on every social network I am on. There were a number of factors in my favour – I had previously written a book on the same subject (Smart Social Media Recruitment Strategies), the high quality of my blog content and my social media presence within the industry.

After some emails and conversations I agreed in principle to write the book. Then we had to agree what the book was going to be specifically about and the exact target market I was to write it for. This was a three stage process as it went through three levels of sign-off at the publishers, each stage requiring a slightly more detailed business case, market map and level of detail. 60,000 words agreed and delivery date of manuscript by 1st November was all agreed and signed off. The journey and all the hard work now started in earnest. Timeline is early March.

In the process of producing the business case, I had already mapped out the chapter listings and the breakdown I thought I had wanted in the individual chapters, but as with everything that was subject to change over the coming months. For all you process geeks, I used Evernote extensively for this part of the process.

With the first chapter looking at the rationale for social media recruitment, I needed facts, figures and industry data. Do you know how many reports there have been on talent and recruitment in the last 18 months?  From Kellys, PWC, EY, Deloittes and Manpower, to region, platform and industry specific specialist reports, I became a recruitment and talent data sponge for weeks!  The first chapter started to take shape.

I knew from writing the first book, that new social recruiting case studies were crucial, and that they always took time to find, get organised and signed off by the companies, so that was a big priority for me. Long hours searching and researching and speaking to people, looking for specific examples of social recruiting, coupled with my knowledge and contacts provided me with a long list of case studies to get started with. My goal was to get recruiting examples across the world, and I managed it pretty well, finishing with case studies from South America, North America, Canada, UK, Europe, South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand. Some of my favourites are Earls Restaurants in Canada, Campbells Arnott in Australia, Le Manoir in the UK and Spotify in Sweden. I could tell you more but then you wouldn’t buy the book would you 😉

Unless you are a proven best seller with a track record of sales, there are no big cash advances to write books so I still had to fit in my consulting work around writing time during last summer, which inevitably meant many early mornings, late evenings and weekends taken up with writing. I tried to work on a 3 day working 2 day writing working week for 6 months, but of course that didn’t happen! I am indebted to an understanding family!

Very early on during my many conversations with people it became obvious that some chapter changes were needed. As part of my research I asked everyone, ‘what does social media recruitment mean to you?’ Candidate sourcing via social media came up 90% of the time. So I added a chapter on candidate sourcing! I am not a bad sourcer myself and could happily have written the chapter, but I wanted to bring in some sourcing experts that I admire greatly from around the world. Fortunately they all agreed to write a section on an a specific subject. So we have Jim Stroud sharing his knowledge on video sourcing, Kelly Dingee talking boolean, Martin Lee looking at sourcing internationally, Shannon Pritchett covering senior level recruiting, Katharine Robinson covering LinkedIn, Sarang Brahme talking about Twitter sourcing, Oscar Mager showing us how to source with images and Johnny Campbell talk about sourcing tools. I took the mantle of Facebook and Google+ and cover sourcing via those two great platforms. It is a long chapter, but packed full of superb content for recruiters everywhere.

The big challenge when writing a book about social media is that by the nature of it, it is ever changing. So very deliberately it was one of the last chapters I decided to write – even then I got caught with a last minute re-write during the final proof editing stages! Facebook and LinkedIn changes to search in January this year meant that some careful re-writing and image changes were required to maintain the content as current as is possible. Fortunately timings worked out and I got the changes in the book. But there will be things that change with any one of the social networks I covered in the book, hence my social media chapter starting with an statement to that effect!

It is now September – two months to go. If you have ever done something similar then you know what the last couple of months feel like! Typically, my consulting workload picks up and time is now a real premium. Working from 5.30am and nights finishing at 10pm were regular – and that included weekends as well! But the end was in sight. The book was coming together well with many of the chapters finished or close to it, and most of the case studies in and signed off. All the planning, organisation and previous experiences of writing were were now paying off.

The last month – October. One slight issue for me this month was that I was due in Romania to deliver a conference session and full day social recruiting workshop. Suffice to say I didn’t see much of Bucharest while I was there, as each moment outside of the 2 day conference was spent finishing writing.
Then add in another curveball – your eldest daughters wedding in mid-November, just to make things a little more stressful and challenging around balancing the time left until delivery!

On the 3rd November I hit ‘send’ and off my manuscript went to the publishers! It is difficult to describe the emotions at this point, but it is a cross somewhere between elation, pride, relief and happiness. Aside from celebrating with a large drink, the one thing I wanted to do was sleep!!

What happened during the nest stages of the book, is that Kogan Page go through many stages of copy and production editing, with multiple proof readers looking at every single detail. So in December, word documents started to arrive with text changes, typos, questions, queries, permission questions etc.  All normal stuff, and fortunately no big issues. The attention to detail – and I mean every detail – right up to the final sign-off in 2015 was very impressive indeed.

Then early in January, Facebook and LinkedIn made some significant changes to their searches and platforms! Aside from the annoyance from a hands-on recruiting standpoint, I now had the issue of having to re-write some of the chapters to accommodate the changes. This is not so easy without having to get the production team to reset pages because of images  and positioning etc. Thankfully some quick thinking and Shane and Balazs great tool came to the rescue, and I was able to make the image changes without upsetting the production editor!

So, finally in mid-March I get the email from Kogan Page with the magic words in – ‘it has gone to print’. Awesome!


It is now May and last week I received some of the first copies. A very happy author indeed 🙂

social media recruitment copies


For the last two months there has been an ongoing marketing effort from Razwana and the marketing team at Kogan Page, and of course my own marketing efforts. This has resulted in excellent pre-sales, both directly with the publisher and via Amazon, making it a No.1 New Release.  So thank you to everyone that has pre-ordered a copy, and share links with their networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc, you have been brilliant.

Now the fun starts for me – for the first time I have book signings to do and events to attend to promote the book. All of you who know me personally will appreciate that is my next challenge, but it is a lovely one to have!

So what is next?

A global book tour followed by interviews on mainstream TV and of course heading the best selling business book lists around the world! Well maybe not quite that level, but on a serious note I am looking forward to promoting the book, speaking at events, writing about it and (just maybe) jumping on a few planes in the process. My ‘mission’ is to get as many recruiters and HR professionals that read the book, so that they can take away the fear factor around social media recruitment, and help them with their recruiting.

I have to finish with a final big thank you to Katy Hamilton and Kogan Page for the opportunity, support and brilliant delivery of the book, and to Sara, Kelly, Bethany and Joe for their total support through the many long days and weekends over the last year!

Now you have read about it, I hope you are going to go and buy yourself a copy to read 🙂

You can get a copy on Amazon UK here now, and Amazon USA here (you can pre-order), and any other country Amazon site globally from the 28th May.

So, did I enjoy writing the book, and would I write another?

Yes, it was an enjoyable experience, and while I will write another at some stage, maybe not for a little while 😉