Hiring Employees and Their Networks

May 14, 2012 8:08 pm Published by Bill Boorman

I was on a conference call with student Guillaume Caracalla, who is completing a thesis on social recruiting. As part of the interview, we were discussing some of the hidden benefits of using social channels in the recruitment process. One of the points I was keen to discuss was the real value in hiring people with established social networks. So much of the talk on social recruiting is around talent attraction, engagement and community. That is the sexy part, but I think organisations should also be thinking about what might come as part of the package when you hire someone from Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

You’re Only As Strong As Your Network
I read a fantastic book recently, Social Gravity by the guys from Talent Anarchy. I also saw them give a keynote at the excellent Louisiana SHRM conference. From what Jason and Jo talk about, there are two points that really stand out for me. One is intentional networking–investing time to continually extend your network outside of your immediate circle, and with people who are very different than you. The other point I really liked was how they described your network as your “posse”. What they mean by this is than when you are faced with a problem or have a new situation, the strength and depth of knowledge, experience and relationship of your posse determines the resources available to you. That is why you must invest time in intentionally networking, and banking up goodwill by your own contributions. It’s much more about who you know rather than what you know, and word of mouse lets you get connected with lots of people.

Social Channels as Network Indicators
With this in mind, consider what you get when you hire someone from the social channels, compared with someone from a traditional source. You’re not just hiring them, you are hiring them, and you’re also hiring their posse, opening the doors to new sources of information, help, expertise and opinion. Hiring someone with a relevant, well developed network brings in that level of connection. Recruiting in social channels is far more likely to increase the potential of adding a valuable posse to your business resource.

Taking this thinking further, perhaps it is time to start making connections, relevance, reach and ability to network as key factors in hiring choices. This lends itself to considering Klout and PeerIndex scores. I know there is some controversy around these tools as measurements of social influence, but it is a good indicator of reach and activity. As a general guideline, I think it is a good indicator, as well as taking a look at who the potential employer is connected with, after all, you’re not just hiring the person, you’re also hiring their posse.


This post was written by Bill Boorman

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