Social recruiting: Introductions
Last week once again I wrote about social recruiting and, instead of just talking about it in very general terms, I decided to write in detail about how I see social recruiting exactly. It’s not about social media, it’s not about being online. It’s just about treating other people well, regardless of whether they’re candidates or potential candidates, successful or not in our recruitment process. Let’s start at the beginning – with introductions :)
Why would you even need to introduce yourself?
When I first started sourcing, some of my recruiters told me never to introduce myself in my approach message. “It’s a waste of valuable space, you need to catch the attention of your candidate quickly” they would say. But the truth is the most interesting thing I could talk about in my message was… me. It’s not because I’m self-centered, but because absolutely everything else could easily be copied by a competitor. Being social is, after all, about a human to human interaction, even if most recruiting strategies still don’t seem to reflect it.
Where can you use introductions?
You can and should introduce yourself to anyone who doesn’t know you, regardless of what the platform is. It’s so obvious it sounds silly, but a lot of recruiters won’t use introductions online. Yes, candidates can easily check out your profile on the platform you’re using but that’s not the same thing. Instead of reading through information prepared for a rather generic audience, you can introduce yourself keeping in mind the context and, most importantly, your recipient.
I would introduce myself in my approach messages, but I’d go a little further too and introduce myself to applicants too. When someone submits an application and all they receive is an automated message from your ATS signed by “Recruitment Team”, it’s hardly very social. If you send someone a quick introduction and then ask them about their availability for a phone conversation, it’s a more personal experience. You can obviously just give them a call as well – but that’s one of the situations where more people will remember to introduce themselves :)
Because I spent most of my time recruiting on social media, I’d apply the same mechanism there. When I get invitations to connect, I will send a quick message that serves as an introduction, it also encourages the other person to introduce themselves. That can lead to all kinds of conversations, most of which have some relevance to what I do professionally. Not all platforms will allow you to personalise a connection request but as long as you follow up with a message, it shouldn’t really matter as much. The important thing to remember is
How do you compose your introductions?
I didn’t want my introductions to be boring, and this is where I found the recruiters’ advice helpful. Instead of repeating what the recipient could learn from the tagline on my LinkedIn profile, I’d use a different introduction depending on the context. I’d either explain what I do instead of simply using my job title or I’d start with some of my interests that were relevant in the context, I would even make it into a game and try not to use the same thing twice.
You can add more detail to an introduction and personalise it depending on whether you and your recipient share interests, connections, experiences etc. Alternatively you can tailor your introduction to explain why you’re getting in touch. I’d also recommend this when you’ve met someone already but they may not necessarily remember (if you met them at an event, always assume they forgot).
All of this sounds silly, I bet. I heard recently that I only write about things that are really basic. And it’s true – but getting the basics right, finding your own way to go about things, is the only way you can get to any of the more advanced stuff :)