In any major endeavor, 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people—a concept introduced by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point. So if you want a trend to really take off, you need to reach a small group of people who will influence and connect with the rest.
This concept is vital to the recruiting game. When looking for the best new hires, HR professionals need to identify a key group of exceptional people who will drive their recruitment efforts. This group should be well-connected to potential new hires, highly informed about the needs of the company and motivated to locate top talent.
In the past, hiring managers often relied on headhunters and job boards to help them fill roles. Today, dependence on those tools is trending down, and HR is increasingly able to look to their colleagues for referrals.
Employees have a firm grasp of the company culture, and they understand the demands of the job. And thanks to social networking, employees today are also connected to hundreds of people in their own or related fields of interest.
If properly motivated with a reward program, employees can post job vacancies on their own social networks and locate a strong pool of potential candidates: their own friends, former classmates and past colleagues. They can function as the all-important 20 percent that “tips” the trend and makes it successful.
Six degrees of good recruitment
As Kevin Bacon fans know, “six degrees of separation” is the theory that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world.
The theory is based on a 1967 experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, in which Milgram distributed letters to 160 students in Nebraska and asked that the letters be sent to a certain stock broker in Boston who was not known personally to them. The students began passing the letter to anyone they believed to be socially closer to the stockbroker, and on average, it took six links to deliver each letter. Gladwell’s “Law of the Few” was influenced by a key finding of this study: just three friends of the stock broker acted as the final link that resulted in the delivery of the letters.
These individuals, called “Connectors,” are particularly important in the context of social recruitment. Connectors are people who love knowing people, enjoy interpersonal communication and are usually also charismatic and in-the-know.
Companies should identify those employees who are Connectors in their own lives and tap into that base. Most Connectors would love the opportunity to help others and be an integral part of the hiring process.
Today, with one billion Facebook users and over 100 million LinkedIn profiles, you could argue that we have all become Connectors. Any employee has the ability to publicize a job opening to thousands of potential candidates and to reach ideal candidates with just a few degrees of separation.
So, how can you use these concepts from The Tipping Point to recruit more successfully?
- Create attractive, informative job postings for employees to post on their social media profiles.
- Develop a great employee referral program that rewards employees for actively sharing information about job openings.
- Identify those employees who are Connectors in their professional and personal lives.
- Consider social media networks as an important part of your recruiting strategy.
Tal Moran is Co-Founder and CEO of Tomigo, a social recruiting platform that leverages your company’s social connections to hire top talent.