Narcissism results in much more broadcasting and VERY little engagement on social networks

Social media recruiting is a cost-effective way to source candidates. Let the big influencers spread the job ad – that takes care of it.
How do we know these claims are true?
Might networking the old-fashioned way work better?

Word-of-mouth is helpful for spreading the word about a position at your organisation. Your employer expects you to post and discuss the job in the communities you are part of.

First you may post on Google+ or LinkedIn. This is quickly followed by posts on Viadeo, Xing and Facebook. Ideally, this type of word-of-mouth marketing lets those interested see the job posting.

But how well does it work?

Do you know these people?

Recently, I read a newspaper article about a guy whom I once was connected with, but is no longer part of my social network. Why?

I sent him an email congratulating him. Did I get an answer? Nope. So how good a connection is this?

[su_box title=”Our networks are too large” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]



Dunbar, R.I.M. (April 2014). The social brain: Psychological underpinnings and implications for the structure of organizations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, pp. 109-114. doi:10.1177/0963721413517118 Retrieved April 2, 2015
===> More publications about the social brain hypothesis.

Good thing I kicked this person off my social network. We all have a hard time managing a network of social connections beyond 125 people. It turns out that is the typical size of both social communities in small-scale societies and personal social networks in the modern world.

This size constraint is partly cognitive and partly temporal. For humans, the group size reflects both emotional closeness in relationships and the frequency of contact.

In short: You need to be close and communicate with each other more than once in a blue moon.

Thus, large networks are not necessarily productive when it comes to finding a job or a person to hire for your non-profit.

[su_box title=”Social networking: Does it work for recruiting staff?” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]



Manage your career smartly

The above suggests being connected to fewer people while staying in touch is a smart thing to do.

[su_box title=”Career management for the second machine age” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]1. Envision yourself seven years from now. What will you want to do at that time… where are you, what impact do you want to have?

2. Who will matter in your life? Identify those five people and know what you want from them and what you can offer them in return. Having regular conversations with these people from now on will affect the outcome of your plans.

3. Who are your ten most important professional connections? Identify them and ensure you talk to them once a month via phone, or better yet, in person.[/su_box]

Social media recruiting is a cost-effective way to source candidates

Gone are the days of having to pay a premium to advertise in a newspaper and hope that a group of candidates will see the job posting. But how do you know that claims such as these are true:

– social media outlets offer ‘reasonable’ pricing for job postings,
– these reach high volumes of job seekers, and
– even passive candidates.

Yes, LinkedIn guarantees I will get ten qualified applicants, but are they really qualified? Not last time we checked.

In addition you have to sort through and respond to all those applications. If you post your job opening to Xing or Google+ groups / communities, you will have to answer questions.

Answering inquiries or writing a polite rejection to an applicant (remember it is about your brand, stay professional, calm and collected) takes time. And what about if you are inactive in your group and nobody reacts to your job post? Happens more than you think…

If you plan your career (see above), it makes sense to participate in discussion groups on social networks. But how many?

[su_box title=”Stay connected and contribute to the community.” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

1. Membership means you have responsibilities. If you join a group on any network, ensure your visibility by participating in discussions.

2. Put others center stage. Add comments to other people’s posts, thereby helping them shine by keeping the discussion alive.

3. Post content with a question. Broadcasting your latest blog or webpage entry or webinar is fine. However, unless you post a question with it, what are your members supposed to discuss?


Quality trumps quantity

The above shows picking five groups to participate in at least every other week works best. You likely do not have time to be active in more, so why be a member?

I know, some believe that when social media is applied to marketing, it creates activity — and in marketing, activity is a good thing. Nevertheless, activity alone does not create business results. Nor does it lead to connections that:

– help your career, or
– are willing to spread your job posting to qualified candidates.

So what is it good for?

“MBA students do not make this mistake intentionally. In fact, most think they are effectively networking during their time on campus. Many students take the ‘social butterfly’ approach – trying to meet superficially with as many people as possible and then striving to win the LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends ‘competition’. But they are not taking the time to develop deeper relationships with these new contacts.” –Shawn O’Connor (2012).

Focusing on the quality of connections and face-to-face interaction is critical. It is far more effective than having hundreds of contacts that will not even recognise you at an event.

The same applies when recruiting. Send a new position opening to your 30-40 close contacts. They will be happy to share it with some of their close contacts. These close contacts and their 30-40 close connections come in handy for furthering your professional development as well – far more effective than having 100 superficial contacts.

[su_box title=”Job recommendations on Xing: Why am I getting these, if I do not fit the job profile?” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]


Making your recruitment strategy personal, meaningful and successful takes work. But do not think you can just copy big brands like Zappos. Plus, what worked once – Atlassian, 2012 – worked so well the company never tried it again :-(

You have to find your own approach that works for you with 10 or 20 full-time staff!!

Finally, talk is cheap. Show me the numbers that indicate you do it right.

[su_box title=”Offers I get on Xing – USELESS” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

Xing and LinkedIn tend to show you jobs that you may be overqualified for.


What about you?

Where in your network are the 20 or 30 people you can ask for a recommendation when applying for a job?
Who are the people that might give you more business?

I look forward to your answer in the comments!

Curious for more insights? Join 1500 other subscribers to this blog’s newsletter and read on!

[su_box title=”Effectively using social networks for talent recruitment: Do not believe everything.” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]
a. Shorten the hiring cycle. WRONG! Even with social media, you will require time to post your job, get applications, evaluate candidates, etc.

b. Lower recruitment costs. Yeah, right! Building and maintaining your 30 important connections to ask for help takes time all year.

c. Address the passive problem. Nice try! Most people who are doing well in their jobs are not interested in shifting employers.

d. Use the employees that are well-connected on social media. As if! This implies that large social networks mean quality connections. But will any of their contacts read their status update about a job opening?


Interesting reads

Jacobs, Emma (March 31, 2015). Career planning: experts’ advice for the second machine age. Financial Times, p. 10. Retrieved on April 2, 2015 from

Source: LinkedIn, Xing or Viadeo: What is the more effective social media recruiting tool?

What do YOU think?

Who are your best social connections for business?
When did you last comment in one of your discussion groups? Why did you write an answer?
How do you network best?
Is your CEO active on LinkedIn or Google+? Why?

22 replies
  1. Gaby Feile
    Gaby Feile says:

    Hi Urs,

    Thanks for this superb article. I have not used LinkedIn for recruiting so far, yet have some experiences with XING. First of all, I too get job recommendations that do not match my profile at all. I used to think that this is because my profile is very “wishi-washi”, so the system cannot match it correctly. Would you say the same about your profile?

    Secondly, using XING to recruit through job ads has proven to be helpful when it comes to administration jobs such as “accountant”. Just recently, we got a pretty decent number of applications through XING. When we looked for more specialized staff such as developer or online marketing consultants, the results were: ZERO. So, I stopped using XING ads for these positions.

    I do, however, use it for direct recruiting and contact candidates actively. The performance of this activity, however, has changed as well in the last couple of months. I guess one reason is that more and more recruiters are doing it (more or less well) and people do not pay attention anymore, although my approach is very personalised. I also think that many people in specific areas are introverts, so they do not feel comfortable in replying to messages.
    And: many people (especially the younger ones) do not seem to log into XING very often. So they might never get my message, or only very late.

    Sorry for only talking about recruiting… The other aspects of your article are familiar to me as well and might be related to the decreasing number of reactions from people.



    PS: What do you think about Facebook? To me it seems as if it is developing into a business platform. I hardly share personal stuff there anymore but use it for marketing and promotion (in groups). What about you?

    • Urs E. Gattiker
      Urs E. Gattiker says:

      How good are the candidates these systems provide for job ads

      Dear Gaby

      Thanks very much for your comment. It is so rich, I think I need to answer using more than one comment.
      You write:
      First of all, I too get job recommendations that do not match my profile at all. I used to think that this is because my profile is very “wishi-washi”, so the system cannot match it correctly. Would you say the same about your profile?”

      I am not sure if my profile is “wish-washi” It states my job title and some of the skills. But if you run a company and are responsible for employees, would “Junior Java Programmer” be a type of job that is of interest to me?
      You write that for accountants (a type of job that can involve many or few things depending upon the involved tasks), it is easier to get qualified applicants.

      Maybe I have not tried for these positions. When I tried to find those in groups and so forth and through my contacts on Xing, I got people in China or India to apply. That is okay but I did not want to bring somebody from India to Europe to do the job… cultural differences and so forth made me cautious.

      So yes, for specialised jobs neither Xing nor LinkedIn work for me. Similar result to yours. Moreover, the offers or suggestions I get (not having asked for any, I must say) are pretty much useless.

      Gaby, thanks for sharing.

    • Urs E. Gattiker
      Urs E. Gattiker says:

      Is Facebook developing into a business platform?

      Gaby you write:
      “What do you think about Facebook? To me it seems as if it is developing into a business platform. I hardly share personal stuff there anymore but use it for marketing and promotion (in groups). What about you?”

      I am not sure about this. Maybe neither you nor me are part of the main user group that uses Facebook. I have never used Facebook for private purposes. I always used it as part of my business.
      Has it been useful? If you sell consumer goods maybe. If you sell advisory services and software as a web-based service (SaaS), I don’t think Facebook is and will be the platform to use.
      Most of my clients use Facebook possibly with other family members and ‘kids’ who are about 30 years old :-) But for business, nope. But it surely depends on what you have to offer as a company.
      For me, I use it so I know how it works and can, therefore, advise our clients. Nothing more, nothing less.
      Hope this helps but I think we pretty much agree on this one.

      • Deniz Demir
        Deniz Demir says:

        I do not use Facebook anymore

        “What do you think about Facebook? To me it seems as if it is developing into a business platform. I hardly share personal stuff there anymore but use it for marketing and promotion (in groups). What about you?

        Dear Gaby
        Dear Urs

        Thanks for this information.
        As a teenager I can tell you I no longer use Facebook. I use:

        1. WhatsApp (to communicate with friends and my soccer team)
        2. Snapchat

        So for me Facebook is unlikely to ever become a commercial platform. At least I will not use it.

        Thanks for sharing.

        • Gaby Feile
          Gaby Feile says:

          Hi Deniz,

          Thanks for your comment. This is acutally very valuable and goes with what I am noticing: Facebook is a place where professionals meet including Gen Y. Gen Z, which I guess is your age group, have long stopped using Facebook and have moved to WhatsApp (part of Facebook anyway) and Snapchat.

          Would you actually like it, Deniz, if you got job offers through these two services? (This is, if it is possible at all to do so)? Or what would be your preferred place to look for job opportunities?

          Thanks for bringing in some light into the dark from your point of view.


          • Deniz Demir
            Deniz Demir says:
            Facebook recruiting? I would not expect it or even miss the announcement…

            Hi Gaby,

            Thanks for your comment. you write:
            “Would you actually like it, Deniz, if you got job offers through these two services? (This is, if it is possible at all to do so)? Or what would be your preferred place to look for job opportunities?”

            I have Facobook on my mobile phone as an App. I use it primarily to check for updates from connections on Facebook. But sometimes I forget to go there for about 10 days. Else I just check to get rid of the update number I see in my Facebook App on my mobile.
            In my case I use it for staying in touch with family members far away. For that it is convenient.

            If I were to get a job offer or an invite to do a dual-education program with an employer, I would be surprised. I do not expect apprenticeship recruiting on Facebook. It could even happen that I will not see it for weeks because I do not check.

            I prefer going to the webpage for larger companies. Governments also offer sites that publish apprenticeship jobs for private and public companies in the region and / or country
            Thanks for sharing and I hope this answer is a bit useful.
            Cheers Deniz

        • Urs E. Gattiker
          Urs E. Gattiker says:
          When does a teen use which application?

          Hi Deniz.
          Thanks so much for replying to my blog post and Gaby’s comment.

          I appreciate this very much.
          Like Gaby, I believe your perspective as a teen on these issues is, of course, different than ours.

          What I am curious about is:
          Can you tell me when you use
          – Snapchat and when you use
          – WhatsApp?

          Put differently, in what situation do you prefer Snapchat over WhatsApp?

          I look forward to your reply.

          • Deniz Demir
            Deniz Demir says:
            Snapchat for fotos

            Dear Urs
            Thanks for your reply to my comment.
            You write:

            Can you tell me when you use
            – Snapchat and when you use
            – WhatsApp?

            I use Snapchat to send pictures to my friends.
            I like that after one has looked at them for a few times / days, they are gone. Fine with me.

            Whats App I use to communicate with my soccer team and as assistant trainer with the kids’ parents. Great way to keep parents abreast when and where the next game will be.

            Hope this answers your question, Urs.

            See you

          • Urs E. Gattiker
            Urs E. Gattiker says:

            Dear Deniz

            Thanks for your reply. Yes the group function in WhatsApp is a really interesting feature. That one can easily be used to make a group of parents and another of players to keep both abreast important developments (next match).

            My kid prefers Kik to communicate with his school colleagues. The main advantage is that his pals who do not have a SIM card (mobile phone number) can also chat / use the Kik App (e.g., if they have an iPad). With WhatsApp this is not possible.

            Thanks for sharing Deniz and keep up the good work.

        • Urs E. Gattiker
          Urs E. Gattiker says:
          LinkedIn or Xing are not needed

          Dear Deniz

          You neither use LinkedIn nor Xing?
          My experience with students is that they are not on these platforms. I would be surprised if as a teenager you are a member.

          LinkedIn has made an effort to get college and university students to join LinkedIn. Their response has been lukewarm so far, at least in the US.

          For me Xing and LinkedIn are okay with some of the discussion groups.
          But basically they both provide a great digital version of a classical Rolodex (where one keeps the paper version of business cards).

          In turn, all this I manage with the help of my digitised Fullcontact address book
          This program allows me to synchronise and update my address book on my Mac, iPhone, PC or in Outlook.
          The program also sychronises my address book with my LinkedIn, Xing or Facebook contacts.

          Nevertheless, Xing is just one source to get a person’s address. Often we are connected on more than one platform such as both, Xing and Facebook.
          Accordingly, if the person changes her e-mail, employer or phone number, no problem. It will get updated in our address book.
          Fullcontact takes care of this so our virtual Rolodex stays up-to-date. If we get it via Facebook, we do not need LinkedIn or Xing data on top of it. Once is enough :-)


  2. Gaby Feile
    Gaby Feile says:

    Hi Deniz,

    Thanks a lot, your insights help a lot and I guess all the recruiters need to face reality and rather invest in a professional website and in building their employer brand than into being “the jack of all social media trades”.

    Actually, are you looking for a job right now? What field interests you and what is your preferred region? If you like Online Marketing and would either like to live in Munich, Hamburg or Frankfurt, do let me know.


  3. Deniz Demir
    Deniz Demir says:

    Hi Gaby

    I am looking for an apprenticeship position as a
    Informatiker/in EFZ
    – Telematiker/in EFZ

    Accordingly, I am busy for the next 3 or 4 years doing my apprenticeship :-).
    But doing something in social media marketing, if I were already done with my “Ausbildung” would be grand.

    However, please if you know a company that needs an #Azubi, to start getting an Informatiker/in EFZ or Telematiker EFZ designation, I am they guy to hire. Of course, if it could be in a German speaking country that would be my preference.

    I am ready to start in a year’s time when I will have completed my 9th school year :-). Now I am doing Praktikums to get a better feel and find a best match for me and the company…. to do my apprenticeship training thereafter.

    But if you know a company that has these positions open…. I love to do a Schnupperlehre / Praktikum (‘get to know’ traineeship)

    Cheers Deniz

    • Gaby Feile
      Gaby Feile says:
      You got the skills – it will work out

      HI Deniz,

      Thanks for this detailed information. According to your communication skills you seem to be the ideal candidate for any company.
      So, it should be easy for you to find a traineeship in your preferred field. I assume that you would like to stay in Switzerland, right?

      I am doing recruiting for an online marketing agency, and we are about to re-launch our website including job site. In case you have time, you can have a look at the current site
      Please let me know what you miss there, or what you would change from your point of view.
      You can do it by e-mail if you like. My address can be found on the page.

      Of course, Deniz, this is voluntary. And if I come across a position that suits you, I will definitely remember you.

      All the best,


      • Deniz Demir
        Deniz Demir says:
        FAQs would be nice for the website

        Hi Gaby

        Sorry for my late reply but I missed this one.

        Yes, I would like to stay in Switzerland and begin and finish my apprenticeship before going abroad. I start it in Fall 2016.
        At this stage I have done several internships (Praktikums) to find a suitable place for doing my apprenticeship.

        Thanks for the URL or link you sent me …. I looked at it and I like it. The website is clear and I find it easy to find those things I wanted to study in more depth.

        I will show the website to some of my friends to get some of their feedback. If I get anything useful, I will send you an e-mail with their input. Here are two of my points:

        1. FAQs about recruiting (how to apply for a job), or for clients (what you need to know) would be nice?
        2. Blue Summit …. so maybe one could make the background very very light blueish?

        Cheers Deniz

        • Gaby Feile
          Gaby Feile says:

          Hi Deniz,

          Thanks for getting back once more. Your feedback is very helpful and I am glad that you liked the website. The new version will be more modern and yes, we will use a different shade of blue on it.

          The FAQ section is a great tip and I will definitely write this part for all visitors and applicants.

          Good luck with finding a suitable position!

          Greetings from rainy Munich,

  4. Urs E. Gattiker - DrKPI
    Urs E. Gattiker - DrKPI says:

    Dear Gaby

    I had to go and check out this Website myself of course. Naturally, I hope Deniz will do it as well.

    Looking at it I had three questions:

    1. What is the USP (unique sales proposition) of this company’s service – is it an agency (advertising or marketing…) or …?
    2. The website is built on WordPress, but why does it not have a blog that provides conntent with added value for its target audience?
    3. Where is the career blog or at least a category called Karriere in a corporate blog that features work-related entries like once every 6 weeks?

    Unless I understand what makes the company special for a client, how do I knot if I want to work for it.
    But maybe I am just a bit old for this :-) asking such questions… but inquiring minds would like to know.

    See screenshot that indicates that the webpage is built using WordPress:
    Warum hat keinen Blog nutzt aber WordPress als CMS ?

    • Gaby Feile
      Gaby Feile says:

      Hi Urs,

      No, you are not too old for this…

      Actually, with the new website that is being built right now these things will be addressed. With regards to the blog: this is always an issue as a blog needs regular content. We will see, how we can ensure this.

      We actually do have a newsletter for alumnis, friends and prospective applicants that we send out 4 times a year covering career topics or rather company and staff related topics (written by me btw). People can sign-up for this on the page, yet this is not a very popular feature so far. The same applies here: content needs to be produced – and mostly there’s not enough time for this.

      And for the USP: You are so right. We need to show this. Being a digital company makes it hard to show proper products. So, we need to focus on the people and on the core benefits and values we have.

      Will let you know once the new website is ready.

      Cheers, Gaby

      • Urs E. Gattiker
        Urs E. Gattiker says:

        Thanks Gaby for your reply
        Regular content sure…. but I think one post every four weeks is enough. That should be possible and definitely improve the sites SEO…. Rankings. That should be a priority considering the the agency offers SEO services.

        But what makes you different from another agency. Why not talk about problems that interest your target audience in your new blog :-)
        By the way I am still struggling with our team to get the USP across. Usually, the best way is to continuously try…. I am still working on it so do not believe I have it licked, not at all !

        Have a nice weekend.

    • Urs E. Gattiker
      Urs E. Gattiker says:

      Hi Gaby

      Very interesting article. He basically complaints like me about the jobs that he is being offered every Monday morning…. by Xing.

      I just had another look now on my jobs board on Xing.
      Naval gazing exercise where large employers’ employees rate using the now by Xing owned Kununu platform to rate their employer.

      What you expect, you rate it high… but will this help me when trying to decide if I should take on a job. CAN I trust these evaluations….


      I find these things not very helpful – period :-(

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