Social Recruiting Technology Q+A with Tim Savage

January 8, 2014 5:27 pm Published by Timothy Savage


This Q+A series will take a look at perspectives about social recruiting technology from thought leaders around the blogosphere! Today, we spoke with Tim Savage, Social Recruiter, Social Marketer, Entrepreneur, and Founder of TalentAttach, to get his take on social media recruitment for the recruiter and jobseeker.

Check out the video/audio, or read the answers below!




[soundcloud url=””]


  1. With the way technology is growing and changing, what do you think the future of recruiting will look like? Will programs and computers take over the role of the recruiter?

Well, I don’t think that The Matrix is going to turn into our Human Resources option for finding people, no. That would be more cost-effective, but we’ve all seen the movies. It doesn’t have a good outcome. There are 3 things that I think that it’s going to do, and it’s going to be really cool: 

I come from a background—gosh, I can remember when people used to fax resumes in. So, social recruiting that I’m a proponent for, is an interesting mix. I think what’s going to happen is it’s going to make more phone calls. And when you’re recruiting, the 101s in recruiting is: can you get to 100 phone calls in a day? Social recruiting, using all of the different technology that we have, is going to take passive recruiters and move them off the blocks, and the active recruiters will prevail. So, entitlement, insecurity, and timidity will lose, and personality will win. 

2. The internet is abuzz with talk about social recruiting–how important is it for employers to include a social component in their recruiting strategies–and why? 

 I was trying to think of an analogy that fit: it’s the “Miley Cyrus” scenario. So, Miley Cyrus stepped up to the plate and said, “I am going to show you what marketing is.” Now, the people who work for you are going to go and use social media. They’re going to go and use this “technology” anyway. Nobody was leading Miley Cyrus in this little campaign that she had, and she’s way off in left field. She’s using the power of technology and social media, but it’s got her to the wrong place. She has to dig her way back out. 

What I’m saying is: get out in front of that. We have all this stuff happening. Let’s validate ourselves and be able to lead this. Social media is to meet people, not to research them.

Tweet: Social media is to meet people, not to research them. --@TimSavage. Read the #socialrecruiting Q+A here:

Tweet: Social media is to meet people, not to research them. –@TimSavage. #socialrecruiting tips:

Social media is not just a method that you search to find people, it’s to meet people. So if we’re validating ourselves, we want to meet people, and we’re making this fun. As leaders, and as people working, we’re making this fun, and we’re bringing people to a phone call, and we’re counting those phone calls. I’ll go back to that every day of the week. Because that’s where the relationship builds. 

 So you’re able to backtrack, how did you get to the phone call with this candidate? How did you get the phone call with this person? 

“He followed me, and then I DM’ed him, and then we got emails, then we’re on LinkedIn, and then we found out a fit—and now I have an interview with him for a position.” 

 All of this super social technology is floating around out there: awesome. At the end of the day, what we’re doing is we need to step in and have a plan for it and be able to work with it, rather than just letting the momentum of it take us down the stream—and next thing you know, we’re on the VMAs. 

3. What are your top three tips for improving the effectiveness of a company’s social media recruitment? Feel free to share examples. 

 I’m not a fan of having the “3 C’s of Blah Blah Blah,” but, unfortunately, I came up with 3 C’s. So it’s very, very simple: you have Creativity, Consistency, and Culture. 

 About Creativity: It is not creative to take a picture off of Google Images and put it up in your post because it kind of fits. It’s not creative. I know a bunch of people are going to be watching this, saying, “I just did that five minutes ago,” and that’s okay. I’m not outing you. Everybody’s done it. I’ve done it. But it’s not creative. And we are in a culture that is of the western culture, that is on social media, that is brand oriented. Mountain Dew makes a very good “sugar water,” but they market it like it is actually lined with gold. So they don’t pay Shaun White relative to the nutritional value of their sugar water; they pay Shaun White so that we’re able to engage with their brand. 

Consistency: now, consistency’s the key. If you don’t make a follow up call to go and reach out to somebody for a position, it is shame on you. You need to get out of that seat, and get someone in there that will. Social media and all of this technology is all the same thing. It’s the consistency of being able to put up that content regularly. And I’ll tell you, you’ll see a lot of big brands out there that don’t do it well. But the ones that do do it well, those are the ones you want to get around. So if you go and look at Downtown Abbey or the Parenthood TV show, or Red Bull, they have content up regularly that’s creative. And that doesn’t mean that they have this big masterpiece; it means they put up a picture that’s from the show, they asked you a question, and they got you engaged creatively. They shook your hand before they asked for your dollar, you know what I mean? 

And Culture: the main thing you’re telling people is you’re telling people about your culture. So the effectiveness of your company’s social media is not that you’ve got somebody on there coming up with ideas. Stop coming up with ideas! Go out there and consistently tell people about your culture. 

 Here’s the thing: you don’t have to put up a picture that is just a click and, “Here we are with our cool idea of a bunch of people holding up post-it notes that say, ‘Like Us!’” Take a picture of you guys out to lunch, engaging. Use Instagram to make the picture look cool, and then put that out there throughout your social media. 

It doesn’t say that you’re smart or that you came up with something. It says you used the basics well, and anybody that is looking to come and work for any place anywhere just wants to go, “I’m coming into the place that has their foundations set, and I can come in there and be who I am,” whether they just want a big salary or want to some place where they can have a full family environment. 

 4. What about the platforms that are a little harder to utilize on a daily basis (i.e. Instagram, Pinterest)? How do you “accessorize” your recruiting outfit without overdoing it? 

Ah, the accessorization of your social media without over doing it. This is kind of an interesting piece, because I look at how people are accessorizing themselves, and how they’re taking all the different pieces of social media together. It comes back to that one word: consistency. And I worked in social media marketing in 8 years, and I launched a recruiting company that went from $0 to $3 million billing annually, so I’ve seen both sides of it. 

 Here’s the thing: It’s very, very simple to go, “I want to go do something because I see other people doing it.” It’s a difference to go, “I’m really feeling that, and I want to go do it.” We get our swag, as a culture, from the pop icons that get across the stage, right? So when you go look at what Beyoncé is wearing, I hate to break it to you, but not everybody is going to be able to work what she has just put together, because it was designed for her actual body type and her actual personality. 

 But you might wanna rock them shoes, because they’re pretty hot. 

I’m saying that you can go out there and get pieces of her outfit. I can go out and get maybe the hat that Jay-Z’s wearing, I can go get small pieces of it—but “accessorizing” is a great word. 

So if you’re gonna go do Facebook, you can’t miss it. You have to do Facebook. You have to have Twitter. But you have to be communicating in a way that is validating your culture. So if all you’re saying is “I’m hiring, I’m hiring, I’m hiring, I’m hiring,” all you’re saying is, “I want a date with somebody this height and this weight.” And that’s not swag. That’s not coming out there and communicating.  

So when you get into places like Instagram and so forth, go out and look at people who are doing it well! Do things like they do. Do as brands that you want to aspired towards. As you’re accessorizing—that’s a great, great term—you can get the accessories of it, and as you step forward into bigger pieces of it, it’s all about the consistency: if you did it today, can you do that consistently for the next year? That’s what you gotta ask yourself. 

5. Let’s talk about the recruiters who are on the front lines, using all of this new technology. How can they avoid a “trial by fire” when it comes to understanding and using all of these new developments? 

I think when we’re talking about sitting on the front lines, I was thinking a lot about this, because it’s easy to be able to look as, “Here I am, with all of this that I’ve got to do in front of me. I’ve got all of these positions to fill, I’m gonna go look in LinkedIn, I’m gonna go make all these decisions, and I’m gonna make something happen.” 

So I think it’s more that, we’ve gone away in recruiting from picking up the phone and calling people and networking with them, and have fallen back to, “Bring me over the sourcer, and have her or him go find me some people on LinkedIn,” or “Let’s search our database and turn it over.” I think the front lines are changing, where, if you don’t have, on your personal Twitter, things going on that your candidates you’re recruiting can relate to, then it makes it harder for you to pick up the phone and actually call them and say, “Hey, I’d love to have a conversation with you.” 

 So on the front lines, you are now in a predicament. You are either going to be the person that you are saying you are and are recruiting as, or you’re going to move on from your position. So it’s kind of a tough spot—my gosh! 

But listen: people like you for you. So if you love to run, if you love to play Dungeons and Dragons, if you love The Big Bang Theory, tweet about it! You’re going to attract people to you, because the front lines is being able to talk about you, and, at the same time, being able to go in and use the tools that you have effectively. But again, they are not the panacea. They are not the answer. The answer is getting on the phone and building a relationship with somebody.  

You need to be able to lean into using those tools and be able to talk about yourself and who you are—whether you’re the company, and it’s your culture, or it’s the person yourself. Because, at the end of the day, your Facebook fan page don’t lie. 

6. Social networking is all about who you know…so what are your best tips for helping potential candidates get to know your company, your brand, or your jobs when trying to grow your talent pool?  

Well, I’ve got three gems for you: 

First off, marketers think “people habits” and not “search terms.”

Tweet: Marketers think

Tweet: Marketers think “people habits,” not “search terms.” #socialrecruiting is social #marketing! @timsavage

So if you brought the person in who is the head of marketing for your company, and you showed them what you’re putting out in your social media, would they be okay with it? I don’t know. But I’m going to tell you what: they’ve spent some time on that fan page. And they’ve worked on the fan page, and the Twitter and the Google+, and they really want to make sure they have a consistent message. 

 So that’s the first thing: be able to think like a marketer and think about what people are doing and where people are, rather than just thinking in search terms (“I want somebody that has this certain piece to it, and they have this background”). Think where they are and who they are, and cross-reference that with the marketing department. Are you giving  as consistent a message as the marketing department? I guarantee you’re going to go in, and you’re going to find yourself communicating in some ways that are dissonant to the marketing team, and hence being able to take down the efficacy of the brand. 

The second one is (and I just talked about this a second ago): do things in your life that your candidates do, and post about it on social media. There’s plenty of people out there that have a recruiter account for the company that they work for, and it’s on a Twitter account saying, “I’m such-and-such a recruiter.” That person that you’re really looking for, the one that’s the passive candidate, the one that could actually do the job gangbusters, cannot follow you. It’s unethical for them to follow you if they really want to keep their job. Or if they’re just want to be in the right place. They can’t follow your tweets, they can’t look at you. They can’t go and follow you because you’re not actually putting up content that is relevant to them, let alone like or retweet you.

I run a lot. I love putting up pictures when I’m running. I run through the city of Baltimore, and there’s all these beautiful pictures. I can’t help myself. And on my Twitter, I don’t have “Recruiter” on there. I have “People Finder.” So being able to take off “Recruiter” and being able to put up something that more says who you are. 

Post jobs on a 1:4 ratio. When you see all of this, you’re going, “How does this help me find more people?” You’re turning it around: marketing is attracting people. Recruiting is moving to marketing. So when somebody comes to a Facebook fan page—which is the epicenter of the social media world—when they come to the Facebook fan page, if they have momentum coming through that fan page, that momentum is going to have them engage with your brand, and then potentially apply for an opportunity. 

You want to have a 1:4 job posting ratio. On a fan page, that means one a week. On Twitter, that means you are checking yourself by how much you’re actually posting. 

The last piece that I want to say here, this little gem, is the American Idol. Now, there’s three types of American Idols. Pick which one you want to be: 

One: the ones that think that think they are good. Those are the ones that come on. They’re insecure—we all know it: they’re not really good enough. But they make some loud noise, and they get a little bit upset when nobody picks them. 

Then there’s the second that wish that they were good. Those are the ones that come on, and they are selling themselves, and they’ve got everything going on—but a voice. And we know that also. And we go, “Dang, I really wish they would have gone to get some singing lessons.” 

And then there’s the ones that are good. And they’re not coming out going, “I know I’m good.” They’re coming out, and they’re humble. That is the best way to use social media to search for people for candidates. It’s very passive, but it brings them to you. The ones that are good have people voting for them, have people engaging with them—and, if you’re a good singer, you’re not engaging with an ego, you’re engaging with somebody who’s talented. 

So there’s your three gems, straight from me.  

7. Do you have any other tips or thoughts on the social job search from either the jobseeker or recruiter/employer perspective? 

 Yes: pictures, pictures, and pictures. When you have a picture, it brings the emotion of who you are and what you’re talking about. I know that sounds super “touchy-feely.” We’re talking about peoples’ careers. We’re talking about their lifelong careers, and their relationship with you and being able to fill other positions and everything else. So that picture—when you walk out the door, today, tomorrow, just start snapping pictures. 

 When you go to put a post up, just start throwing a picture up. BTW: photoshop is $20 a month. You can rent it from Adobe. There is no big secret to do that. It’s just spending time. It’s just like anything else. 

But now that we are in the age of social recruiting, there’s no going back. Social media marketing has been doing this for a long time. So everybody that’s throwing up social recruiting and “ready to go, we’re social recruiting,” all of these things have already been thought out. They’ve already been worked out; they’ve already been vetted. 

The 101 is to get a picture up there. So that’s my fourth gem, I guess. 


This post was written by Timothy Savage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *