Interview with John Vlastelica on Using Social Media For Recruiting

johnv-smallThis interview/article originally appeared on, by Cheryl Morgan

As managing director of Recruiting Toolbox, John Vlastelica is an expert in streamlining and refining recruiting processes and changing them to fit how the best candidates look for the best jobs. He spoke with us about how to use social media to its maximum effect for your recruiting needs.

How has recruiting changed in the last few years?

I think a major shift is taking place, with a great acknowledgment that hiring managers play the most important role in attracting top talent and raising the bar. The secret sauce to great recruiting has less to do with tools and technology and more to do with hiring managers who really own recruitment. When recruiting leaders create a culture where everyone owns recruiting, including attracting, sourcing, engaging, interviewing, candidate experience, and selling, they not only create short term wins (better, faster hires), but also long term wins (employment brand, talent connections, scalability). Social media is the great enabler to hiring managers playing a bigger role in attracting and sourcing top talent.


What are some misconceptions recruiters have about social media?

Some recruiters still see it as a job posting tool or an alternative to email blasts. Social is about engagement. Too many recruiters continue to use it as a way to simply blast emails or job postings to followers or group members.


Is social media a "silver bullet" for hiring? Why or why not?

It's not a silver bullet, but it does make certain things like personalized messaging a lot easier.

Social media makes it so much easier to find people; and they often organize by interests, so you can immediately take advantage of some pre-segmentation, and therefore some opportunities to tailor your message based on shared characteristics. That could be related to the technology they use, the geography they work in, the school they attended, or whether they prefer Star Trek or Star Wars. The key, however, is to not treat passive candidates simply like a group member; it's still essential to personalize to the individual. And social media participation often gives us, the recruiters, fantastic information about their preferences and interests, which helps us tailor our outreach.


What can companies do to improve their social media recruiting?

Take advantage of the opportunity to better personalize your outreach messaging. Social tells you almost everything you need to know to turn a cold contact into a warm contact. Interests, connections, contributions to their industry, location, professional backgrounds - all of this can and should be leveraged.


What social networks have you found are best for finding candidates and why?

Obviously, LinkedIn dominates in most of the western world. But I hesitate to call LinkedIn a social network, as non-recruiters and non-sales people are not likely to be active on LinkedIn exchanging messages or updating content on a regular basis. It's actually not nearly as social as something like Facebook or Instagram, where people make updates daily. Facebook has the potential to be a massive recruiting tool, and some companies are already finding success. For technology candidates, who are usually some of the toughest to recruit, sites like stackoverflow, quora, and github provide recruiters with access to passive candidates who are there to talk shop, share code, demonstrate expertise, and collaborate with colleagues. Those sites are delivering real hires right now.


What's the future of hiring socially?

The future? That's hard to say. But I can tell you what it's not likely to be about. Spammy mass emails, company-specific talent communities used primarily to post jobs, and social campaigns measured primarily by followers and likes. I hope the future brings better tools to turn hiring managers and employees into recruiters, a focus on quality over quantity of the network and community, and analytics that help the non-data scientist figure out where to invest time, money, and relationships; so that truly segmented marketing becomes a reality.

For the latest from John and the Recruiting Toolbox team, follow them on Twitter!