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What is the biggest mistake many companies involved in recruitment make?


What is the biggest mistake that I see every time (ok, nearly every time), I work with clients involved in the recruitment industry? The image above will give you a slightly big clue!

There are many companies involved in recruitment - recruitment agencies, vendors and corporates - who are in the belief that social media is not relevant to them, In short they don’t value it, or they haven’t got the foresight to realise that it is now embedded in our society, technologies and people’s everyday activities. [I am not debating that point by the way, just stating the obvious!]

When I get asked to go and help companies with their recruitment strategies, technologies and processes, I inevitably ask questions around social media use, adoption and integration into their workdays. The answers range from (many) positive responses through to the (too many) “we don’t allow our recruiters to use social media” types of responses.
[Side note: I still cannot believe how many recruitment companies STILL block all their employees using social media full stop! Yet they give them smartphone - DOH!]

My answer is always the same.

“What do the good prospective candidates do when they are contacted by one of your recruiters?”

Cue the ‘what sort of stupid question is that‘ look……..

‘Google them’ I answer.

Still a look of bemusement, “And?……”

Let me just rewind this a little.

There are three points that are probably obvious to (nearly) everyone:

  1. No one can escape social media, and (dare I say it), everyone has a profile of some description on some type of social network - it might be LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, MeetUp, Slideshare, YouTube, Pinterest etc etc.
  2. So by default it is very likely that every employee has at least one social media profile of their creation. The create their own bios, post their own content and share what they like.
  3. As many of the social networks attract huge amounts of traffic, and have tons of fresh content, search engines like Google LOVE Them and reward them with high search rankings. This means that a simple name search of someone will inevitably return most (if not all) of their social network profiles and some content.

So back to the questions…

“You of course have a website, and maybe a LinkedIn Company Page and you are obviously precious about your brand and how it is perceived by prospective candidates?” (No one ever answers no to that)


“You don’t embrace social media, but your employees do. The moment a candidate does a search on one of your employees, they, by default, become an ‘extension of your brand’, whether you like it for not. Candidates could make a decision on your company/brand/recruiter on what they find in that Google search. Good candidates want to work with good recruiters - and in tight markets, they have that option to do so.”

I let that sink in……. it usually does!

So let me take you back to the question I first asked - ‘what is the biggest mistake many companies involved in recruitment make? ‘

My answer: Ignoring the depth and power of Google (and other search engines).

Is every candidate going to Google recruiters before they talk to them? Of course not. But they will likely click on their LinkedIn profile at the very least. What do they look like - have you checked them recently? And remember, if you have some good recruiters and sourcers who do use social media to find and engage with candidates, their personal profiles and bios will get looked at. Do they represent the image you would want to present to future candidates/employees?

Whether you like it or not, Google gives you no choice at all - they value social media, so by default you have to as well!


I work with recruitment agencies and corporates to help them understand and leverage the different social media networks to improve their recruitment strategy, recruitment process, candidate attraction, employer branding and content marketing strategy. If you require guidance, advice or social recruiting training, get in touch today.

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  • Julia Briggs Intermity

    And thankfully you didn’t take the route the LI speaker has taken twice now - of telling recruitment companies to MAKE THEIR EMPLOYEES TO THIS on their LI page. LI is personal - it’s your personal profile.