If recruiters do not choose to adapt, recruiting in its current state has about as much life expectancy as "a buggy-whip maker did in 1915", according to a speaker at the Social Media: A Recruitment Revolution conference in Melbourne last week.
In his keynote opening session, Mark Pesce, futurist and panelist on ABC television's 'The New Inventors', discussed the effect social media is having on the recruiting industry and how recruiters should respond.
"There are still a few years left in which recruiting will be a profitable business, but after that it will simply be overwhelmed by social networking tools which can amplify the powers of the average person so effectively that recruiting simply becomes another task on offer, like sending a message or posting a photo.
"People will begin to ask why they need recruiters. People are already beginning to ask this question, as they see the social network providing the same capabilities - and for free. If recruiters don't acknowledge this and make changes to their practices, the industry will not be able to move forward," Pesce said.
Pesce suggested that recruiters should utilise a range of social media tools to help them stay relevant and productive.
And if recruiters don't build upon and manage their networks through social media?
"As we transition from the Rolodex to the social network, more and more business will go to the well-networked. So really, there is no choice: adapt or die.
"To keep up with social media, recruiters need to shift from a top-down recruiting style to a bilateral one. Allowing conversations to happen between networks like this will provide recruiters with new and valuable candidate insights," Pesce said.
"People don't want to get spammed. They don't want to hear your marketing messages over a communications channel that they consider personal - don't think of the Web as an advertising medium," he added.
To obtain a level of respect, recruiters need to research their targeted online community before participating in conversations. Recruiters should also be aware of how they are communicating and how to tailor this to each community, before commencing a social media recruiting campaign.
"Recruiters should spend some time investigating the conversations communities are having before they participate. That's known as 'lurking', and it's the foundation of successful internet relationships. Having an appreciation and an understanding of a community before you participate within it shows respect, and respect will be reciprocated," Pesce said.
Pesce suggested the following rules for embarking on a social media recruitment strategy.
1. Only go where you're invited. No one likes a salesman who sticks their foot in the door.
2. Participate in a conversation from a place of authenticity. Let people know who you are and why you're there.
3. Spend time building relationships. Social media is a lot like friendship - it takes time and investment and a bit of love to make it work.
4. Be consistent. Invest time every single day or at least with regularity. If you can't do that, it's probably better you do nothing at all.