Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Comfort of Connecting: Part 2

Recruiting through your network can be a funny thing. Recruiting tools like LinkedIn and Jobster have made 'Point-to-Multipoint" networking easier and more efficient than ever. When you have so many people to connect with literally at your fingertips, how do you decide who to contact regarding jobs are trying to fill?
  • Do you contact only those who are likely to be directly connected with the types of candidates you are looking for?
  • Do you blast out your message to those in your network who you know personally and think will be open to helping you?
  • Do you blast out your message to everyone in your network, whether you think they may be directly connected, or whether you personally know everyone in your network or not?

These tools make it as easy to build an immediate network of people you know personally as it is to add people into your network who you have never met or spoken with before in your life. This is an important point as recruiters who are using these tools have a variety of views on how to inform their network about jobs they are trying to fill. In particular, there are recruiters who look for maximum exposure, blasting out their job opportunities to their entire network. Their reasoning is that you just never know who is connected to who, and who might even be interested themselves.

I get a couple of these a week, which doesn't bother me too much. Dave Mendoza on the other hand, takes issue with this strategy. Dave argued on his blog yesterday that you should only send out jobs via LinkedIn to those who you think are directly connected to the types of candidates you are looking for. Now Dave is connected to thousands of people and probably gets flooded with these 'shotgun' blasts. Dave wants to help, but even he has limits. But again, you never know who knows who. Most of the people in my immediate network are Recruiters. If I got a LinkedIn or Jobster e-mail asking me if I knew any Petroleum Engineers, I probably couldn't help. But if you asked me if I knew any Operations Managers with a security clearance, guess what I do, and in fact I know of a great one who is available now. You just never know.

I prefer the targeted approach myself, approaching those who I think are most likely to have a direct connection to the candidates I am looking for. But recently, on a lark, I took the semi-'shotgun' approach. This summer, I had one of the toughest assignments I have faced in recent times, a high-profile position in our Executive office. After a couple months of searching and interviewing, no luck. I was desperate, so I sent out a Jobster campaign to 40 people in my immediate network, people who I have personal relationship with. I had no idea if any of these people were connected to the type of person I was looking for, but maybe they were, and it was worth taking that shot. Two days later, I see one my contacts who I sent this job to, and he said to me, "Ben, I have the perfect person for you." And you know what, he was right! She starts next Monday.

You just never know who is connected to who and who is looking when. I'll delve more into that and the comfort factor around that in my next installment in this series.


At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Well stop by and sometime and say hi, looking forward to seeing updates in your blog.

- Greg


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