James Mayes

Guest blog: Policing social recruiting, is it counter intuitive?

In Blogging, Community, Guest post, LinkedIn, Recruitment, Social Media on February 1, 2011 at 8:34 am

I’m delighted to offer a guest post for your perusal today.  This comes from Simon Shott, aka @shottty – the man behind much of Logica’s recruiting – especially the Social side.  He’d very much appreciate your thoughts…


Hello, Hello, Hello.

Now then, now then, now then.

What do we have ‘ere then?

Who am I kidding?!?

I’m definitely not the recruitment equivalent of Crockett or Tubbs/Magnum P.I/Any character out of “Spooks” (insert other legendary iconic detective/police types). I’m probably much closer to Dixon of Dock Green or one of the knackered, blown out, cast members of The Bill (circa mid eighties to nineties), just maybe, on a very, very good day, I’m Columbo, but with none of the intellect, just a scabby raincoat, a squint and not inconsiderable social awkwardness.

Here’s the deal though….I am enthralled by social media and its increasing impact upon the employment market. Daily, I encourage, cajole, enthuse, evangelise, ramble on, talk, coerce, show stats, build business cases, story tell…the whole Shebang, Kit n Kaboodle, love it, believe in it and extremely passionately too. Hell, I present on it often enough!

Up until today though, it has been mainly about soliciting engagement and driving social media reach out, raising its gains, to stand comparison amongst the other eggs in the talent attraction basket of goodies. Measure as much as you can, focus on driving low-cost, improve the experience for candidate and recruiter, connect absolutely everything, always ever listening etc…..

I have dealt with the odd piece of constructive criticism, even when phrased in a non-constructive way. Today was not something I had considered previously though, so I wanted to see how other people passionate about “Social Recruiting” might respond to the same situation. As a community we lack viable textbooks, professors or Nobel prize winners amongst our chosen pursuit, so it is indeed time to “eat my own dog food”, go social and seek the counsel of my chosen community!


In a company branded LinkedIn group, which is minimum ninety percent plus, composed of current employees, has closed membership and has no jobs tab. A former employee, posts a job posting for a direct competitor to the discussions tab.

My social media persona wants to recognise this behaviour as post employment engagement, just ignore it, let it go as part of the price we accept for ongoing genuine participation.

My tribal recruiter feels territorial, Napoleonic, my inner hobbit is heading to Mordor and is ready to wage war – thought I’d get the short guy gags in before my co-workers – jog on, you one joke wonders 😉

I’m genuinely conflicted, policing this behaviour feels inappropriate for the medium and inappropriate for the brand that I represent. (If I didn’t care, why bother writing this guest blog post?)

For the time being, forget how much psychotherapy in the workplace I may/may not require, (I’ve already made the call anyway).  However, I’d really like to know how you would deal with this scenario. I will post my actual response in due course, but I am keen to see how others with an interest in social recruiting may have responded to this set of circumstances.

Who knows, perhaps this might prompt others to step forward with their social recruiting dilemmas and conundrums, I hope so! Not the shortest read, but hopefully a thought provoker?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Simon Shott, UK Sourcers Network and Simon Shott, James Mayes. James Mayes said: Guest blog: Policing social recruiting, is it counter intuitive? http://jmay.es/f6SJFO […]

  2. As both an ex-HR Director and recruitment company Director i totally understand your feelings.On one hand social media is open and informative not exclusive and on the other it’s difficult to easily tolerate it having a negative impact.
    With a group however the expectation is set by the rules and purpose of the group,with many having clearly stated no advertising of jobs for example.
    Others are closed and strictly are for current employees and freelancers.Therefore meaning those that leave also leave the group and those that breach rules are warned and then if they continue leave the group.
    However most groups now are encouraged to be open, not restricted and administrators would accept that if jobs are being advertised all over the net, placing them in the group might be irritating but of little detriment and not worth making an issue over.By the way that does not include spamming many jobs everyday/week, being tolerated in the group as this might quickly result in a large drop of relevant members.
    In summary the purpose and expectation of the group needs to be clear with relevant rules displayed if needed, or you become fairly relaxed about everything.
    This is my personal view only others may rightly disagree.

  3. Here’s how I imagine the situation if it hadn’t happened online:
    The company organizes an event away from the company premises for their own employees but also lets former employees participate who were part of the staff when the event was announced (in your example I assume the former employees joined when the were still with the company).

    Now a former employee tells everybody that a competitor is hiring. This is simply rude. In your situation, I think that a moderator should contact this person and ask to remove the message.

    If we’re talking about a SME where people are relaxed, I wouldn’t worry too much. But with a more formal company, I would probably make an announcement to all members and specify in the description of the group that it’s not the place for job ads. Maybe with the exception of ads for your own company, but then posted by a moderator or HR.

    If it was an open group then it’s more like a public event sponsored by the company. In this case I think that free speech would be more important, while reacting to spam like Keith mentioned.

    That’s it for now. You didn’t ask a question that can be answered in one sentence 😉

  4. I am not a social recruiter but I am a member of the group. My reaction to a non-company job posting was that it felt a bit ‘spammy’. Your two reactions were interesting:
    – my social media persona thinks ‘maybe he just wants to help former colleagues by telling them about opportunities’
    – my territorial persona is worried that some group members might think that the job was, in some way, endorsed by our company.

  5. Hi James,

    I’m going to give you (IMHO) viewpoints from a couple of different angles:

    From the standpoint of the company, I can understand why having a competitor’s job postings listed on their discussion would be inappropriate.
    First, I believe job postings should be relegated to the Jobs Tab and not to a discussion string; this is not the place to put jobs, from anyone.

    Another POV is this: When an employee leaves an organization and the conditions under which he/she left was not pleasant, sending job information out to the employees still there happens, and more so than companies even realize. So when I think about it from the standpoint of the former employee, this person is reaching out to former co-workers for a reason.

    The difference I see is that rather than the communication being covert and directed to selected employees, it is out in the open and smacks of “in your face” back to the former employer.

    The conundrum: I believe it is best for companies to be transparent and open with communication–both outgoing and incoming. Flip-side: I do not believe it is appropriate for a former employees to post jobs with a current employer on a former employer’s discussion board.

    My comments may have muddied the water a bit, but my nature is to see both sides of the story.

  6. Thanks for all the comments today – I know Simon feels much better having aired his feelings on the subject, and it’s always good to see so many valid points being made in response. Personally, I maintain the view that where SEO might be a science, social recruiting is still an art – and as such, everyone does it differently. Hmm, nice little soundbite for tweeting!

  7. Wow, thank you for comments, an added bonus on top of the innately cathartic pleasure of formulating my frustration into a blog post. Initial observation, I think I might be too Mr Angry. Methinks me doth overly rant, certainly compared to the relatively tranquil and calm tones of the comments. I’ll post how I dealt with the issue in a couple of days, lets see if any other approaches/comments come in.
    Lessons learnt/confirmed so far: Always more than one perspective in SocMed. Right is not absolute, but a viable community still needs a clear way of defining what is right or wrong.
    Last but not least, a role which allows me to consider the details and choose a path of action independently, makes life a whole lot easier.

  8. […] Guest blog: Policing social recruiting, is it counter intuitive? (musingsfromsussex.com) […]

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