Why Social Recruiting needs to fail

I was going through some old folders on my laptop the other day and I happened to come across my very first digital recruitment media plan which I wrote for a client way back in 1999. Even though a lot has happened in the last 11 years I still remember this particular project fondly. This might seem quite strange when I tell you that it was an abject failure from both mine and the client's point of view! The client needed to recruit four permanent software engineers and was keen to try something a bit different. The Internet seemed the perfect solution and we enthusiastically recommended a campaign microsite and online "traffic driving campaign". After five weeks the client had received two applications both of which were unsuitable.

Once everyone had got past the initial and somewhat hysterical "the internet doesn't work" reaction, we were able to unpick what had gone wrong with the campaign. Rather than give up on digital the client worked with us to adapt the site and the media plan. After some considerable effort and a bit more trial and error, results improved and some (but not all) of the roles were filled. However more importantly the learnings the client took from these early mistakes went on to form the backbone of their overall online recruitment strategy. A strategy which was to save them hundred's of thousands of pounds over the next few years.

The reason we persevered, despite a very disappointing start, was because everyone involved realised that enormous growth of the Internet was going to change everything and the client wanted to be surfing this wave of change.

The current situation with social recruiting is very similar. The uptake and growth of social media is off the scale but there are currently very few good case studies to show us exactly how it will work for recruitment. I'm hoping the reason for this is that there is more failure out there than there is success at the moment. Only by failing a few times do you get the chance to create and refine a strategy for long term success. Many will give up after the first set back, history is telling us that those who stick with it may well be reaping the benefits for years to come