Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

02/04/2016 01.02 EST

...

The digital age has truly become a playground for the recruiting industry in terms of our ability to find information. Pre-internet, there was an entire research industry dedicated to providing recruiting agencies with background information on potential candidates, including names, ages and a sliver of insight into what those people did for a living. It was a lengthy and expensive process. Today, as a skilled research amateur, I can personally find equivalent information in a concerted hour or two in front of my computer, and often for free.   We are all out there: our professional information can be found on LinkedIn, our personal lives on Facebook, our opinions crystallized on Twitter, our wants and desires on Pinterest, and our biases anonymized (sometimes badly) on reddit and 4chan. Whitepages will tell ages and marriage details, while Instagram makes birthdays and anniversaries clear. And, if you think Snapchat isn’t data mining your information, I’d say you’re naïve. It’s all out there for anyone with the time and inclination to look. This is a recruiter’s playground.   I’ve outlined in a previous blog how digital access to all of this information has made recruiters lazy. That’s because a large preponderance of professionals in our industry don’t go much beyond exploiting this access to contact information. They become direct email purveyors, spamming inboxes with undifferentiated messaging to the same effect and results of a credit card campaign. However, there’s a small subset of search professionals who really know how to...

How Strong Are Your Weak Ties?

05/17/2011 11.02 EST

...

I asked my 16-year-old daughter how many friends she had on Facebook the other day. She has over 1,000. Her wall is littered with updates from people with whom she has no real connection and in whom she has no real interest. So what then is the point? When I asked her how many people are really her friends or, at least acquaintances, that number quickly dropped down to a more manageable level, well below what is known as the Dunbar Number. I haven’t done the primary research (very few of us do anymore) but Malcolm Gladwell popularized the Dunbar Number in his book The Tipping Point. Simply stated, the Dunbar Number defines the upper limit of the number of individuals we can have in a coherent social network — a network where we know how each member fits with us, as well as with each other. We know who is allied with whom, who hates who, etc. There is some debate as to what exactly that upper limit is but 150 seems to be the consensus. Now, let’s apply that to the current professional social network of choice, LinkedIn. As you send an invitation out on LinkedIn, you’ll see a message on the bottom of the invitation screen that says “Important: Only invite people you know well and who know you.” You know what? That is important. It’s important because the real power of a social network is in the weak ties it creates between two...