I get calls from press and staffing industry leaders to do interviews or articles about blogging. In the staffing industry, like most others, practitioners are looking for the "big, new thing". Now that we are in the "Internet age" (is that an old term?), technology can be utilized as a competitive advantage. So when people hear about something new, they want to know if it's the big, new thing.

We went through all of this with social networking too, remember? It wasn't the "big, new thing" either, by the way, if you didn't catch my previous blogs on that. The intent was to build a "trusted" network, with the trusted piece being what added real value. What it ended up being was a trivial connection of names and titles and a stupid contest to see who could collect the most connections. Don't get me wrong, social networking tools can be used to find names and titles and that is goodness. It's just not the intended purpose and it certainly neither a competitive advantage nor the BNT.

So the calls I am getting are folks that want to talk about blogging because the word is out that it indeed could be the BNT (sorry, hate to abbreviate but how annoying are all those quotation marks...I want to make them with my fingers like little poppy bunny ears). In the past I have said that it will change the way companies recruit and I stand by that. But it's role is as an enabler. Relationships and, more specifically, treating people like customers (shocking concept, huh?), is where it's at (bad grammar...sorry). Let's not even refer to them as "candidates" because that is very short-sighted. It's just people, people.

So here's where things get difficult. In the "old days", corporate recruiters didn't exist. A company would post a print job advertisement and "personnel" would vet paper resumes. The people that really had the "relationships" were the third party recruiters (and frankly, they still do...well, most of them). They would network their butts off, find candidates and try to market them to companies...very different than what most corporate recruiters do (but pretty much what my team does right now). Along came the internet and while the process of posting a job became much easier, recruiters (the good ones at least) were seeing the internet as away to do what their agency counter-parts were doing, only doing it with technology. The problem was that they only focused on the finding of the candidate using boolean search methodology (replacement for all the cold-calling agencies do). But once they found them, they didn't know what to do with them (they didn't focus on the relationship piece). If the person was not interested in a position, the recruiter moved along. So the relationship never developed roots.

As you can guess, the inefficiencies of this model are immeasurable. Plus, it really adds no value to the business. Some staffing organizations are OK with this because they don't think of themselves as part of the business (and thusly, they won't be part of the business). If you want to be part of the business, act like part of the business. This means knowing your customer, building relationships and leveraging your resources (including people data).

This is where blogging comes in as an enablement tool. It's about building relationships and reaching out to communities. And if recruiters don't understand the reasons for doing that, they should not blog (and they should definitely not call me and ask what blogging is), in fact, they probably should not be referring to themselves as "recruiters" at all. Acting like a business and treating your candidates like valued customers is what it's all about. And blogging isn't the only way to do that, mind you. It's just a really simple way to do it (oh yeah, and it's fun). It's just one quiver in your staffing pouch.

People that interview me are usually shocked when I tell them that blogging isn't the "big, new thing". People and relationships: the big, old, new thing and the forever thing.