Devil’s Advocate for the Luddite

September 1, 2009

In the past couple of posts I have spent some time pondering how SNS can/will be incorporated into recruiting efforts. I looked at how Asurion Mobile Application’s AddressBook might integrate with an ATS, such as Jobvite. Both are focused on making use of and managing SNS based efforts, and therefore offer a way to capitalize on those technologies.

So at this point I feel the need to play devil’s advocate, at least from the point of view of someone who is typically skeptical of newer technologies. Do I really need to spend my day twittering, posting and sending invites? I mentioned in a previous post that it seems ‘obvious’ that a recruiter who does not adopt/make proper use of SN technologies will be left behind, but is that really true?

First of all, professional networking is still the name of the game, regardless of how it is accomplished. You find the best candidates through your network, and your network is comprised of…? People you have met in person? Not necessarily. People you have met through coworkers? Not necessarily. So it doesn’t really matter how you meet? Why can’t I do this the old fashioned way: swap cards, shake hands, and do lunch some time?

You might think a relationship is what happens after two people meet. However, meeting off line, because it is less and less common, seems like a great way to buck the trend. Human beings are hard-wired to remember faces and other aspects of physical interactions. Hence the initial interaction sticks, and it therefore more likely to lead to something productive, right?

What’s more, SNS will only crowd my network with people that I do not know well at all, and who may not be able to give good recommendations or referrals. What good will it really do me to have several thousand connections on LinkedIn if the quality of those connections is such that the vast majority of them do not take seriously any request or question that I might have? It seems like all that SNS can do for me is force me to stay on top of a network that really might not be worth managing at all. In other words it forces me into a strategy that opts for quantity over quality.

Well… there is some truth to this, and of course some misunderstanding as well.  But I think it is important to incorporate this point of view into our efforts, so that we do not suffer from the ill effects of an over eager rush to embrace new technologies.

So… how do we reconcile the Luddite with the Technophile? My take, at this point anyway, is that reconciling the two views is in large part (but not exclusively) the age old debate over quantity versus quality. Of course, from a production stand point we want as much of both as we can get.

In the next post I will take a careful look at adopting SNS and associated technologies with an eye towards maximizing the quantity and quality of the relationships.



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