The importance of social selling and why it’s important to be authentic…

12 May 2021

This is a tale of a formally reluctant recruiter slowly uncovering the power of social and more importantly, the value of being genuine.


When I started out, my approach to hiring for high-growth technology businesses was very one-dimensional. I’d take on a brief for a hiring requirement and go hell for leather sourcing candidates, selling the opportunity and managing the process until a placement was made. I had little scope outside of this “conveyor belt” process. I was blinkered by the task at hand – getting the role filled as quickly as possible. Square peg, square hole.


But it soon dawned on me that for every recruitment process, only one candidate is chosen and the opportunity for scale existed in all of the other candidates that weren’t the lucky ones this time around. Now I was playing in two-dimension. Building, maintaining, and nurturing relationships – making customers rather than making sales. My MD – James – had always said “there’s no difference between candidates and clients, only people in different stages of their career”.


I hit a groove and started developing business of my own, but what I didn’t realise is that this approach was merely the tip of the iceberg.


To go to the next level, my Head of Marketing – Ben – explained the power of building a “personal brand” and the art of consistency when it comes to social selling. I was skeptical of marketing and the value it would have, social selling in particular. My perception was that the results are often intangible, or impossible to track, and to be completely honest – it all seemed a bit fluffy and light-weight. “I’m sales, you’re marketing” I thought to myself. I was dubious.


He’d recommend posting regularly, commenting and adding personal insight to topics on LinkedIn in particular. I’d say I was hesitant, he’d say I was reluctant. I was anxious about the reception and how my posts/ comments/ insights would be received. Prior to his gentle encouragement, I would agonise over every word but then I threw myself in, and got over it pretty quickly. Now having truly embraced the power of social, I’m operating in the third-dimension.


Ben wrote a great piece titled Is Marketing the future of Recruitment? a few years ago and I can’t recommend social selling enough. The technology landscape is ever-changing, and new approaches should always be welcomed by the recruitment industry and the sales profession alike.


Oh, and one final thing – don’t fall into the trap that I did initially. I started out posting and commenting in a somewhat forced and insincere manner. It wasn’t me, I was overcomplicating what I thought I “should” be saying and overthinking “how” I should be saying it. But it’s transparent and doesn’t resonate with your audience. The best engagement I’ve had through social has been when being my true self – posting honest and genuine content that matched my voice and tonality. Your online persona should be a reflection of the real you, and it works most effectively when done authentically. It doesn’t happen overnight, and takes overcoming the initial uncomfortable hurdle, but if you do, you won’t look back.


We’re hiring across all the teams at Propel and would welcome a conversation with any experienced recruiters looking to embrace the modern way of recruiting. We champion an environment that promotes perfecting a personal brand, regularly engaging an audience and being a reputable industry expert. If it sounds like the kind of environment you, or someone you know, might thrive in – then do get in touch!

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