The Recruiting Nightmare #5 – Networking Nuttiness

Fine, fine, so making job postings, evaluating them, and getting them out is kind of hard and challenging.  So a recruiter can rely on networking, correct?

It’s easy to assume that.  We hear all the time that networking is the solution to us finding jobs – and in many cases it’s right (well, partially).  So it has to be the solution for recruiters as well.

Not exactly.

Networking relies on you connecting with other people who connect you with other people and so on to finding the right recruits.  Sounds simple enough, right?

The problem breaks down in that whole “other people thing.”  Networking only works if the people in your network do it as well, and do it well enough.  As is noted endlessly in job searches, seminars, books, and my own writing, a majority of people aren’t too hot at networking.

So you’re trying to network with a network that doesn’t necessarily network that well.

You’re hoping the people you ask for help can connect, can reach out, can find people, can communicate your needs.  You’re hoping they know the best ways to do that, but down deep you know  it’s a bit of a crapshoot.

Look that’s not to degrade people.  It’s a hard truth a lot of people aren’t too skilled at networking.

Of course if they are good at networking they may not be able to take the time.  I know this personally because I could probably take more time to help people out and I think I’m a pretty good networking.  Which is another way of saying, some people like me are going to let you down terribly because they don’t have as much time to help as they’d like – or you’d like.

Hey, I can be honest.

So look, networking is good.  It’s important.  But it’s not the end-all-be-all because even if, as a recruiter, you’re an awesome networker, other people in your network will let you down (if only because they’re not you).  Sure networking will help, but it’s not going to be the ultimate solution, and may end up be a bit disappointing even with realistic expectations.

Of course beyond these problems is the assumption that if you’re a recruiter, you’re just such an awesome networker that everything will work out.  Then you have to explain to people who are rather ignorant of your situation how it really works.  They probably won’t listen.

So nope, networking isn’t the way out.  People just may think it is.



  • Remember, always, get good at networking – because it helps out you and recruiters you know.
  • Make yourself findable, so you work around any limits others may have on their recruiting networks.


  • If you’re a networker, then step up to the bat and help out recruiters you know.  However . . .
  • . . . also admit your limits to them.  There is only so much time, only so many connections you have, and only so much you truly know.
  • When helping a recruiter meet people in your network, try and understand the job they’re trying to fill as best you can, so you can target your search and make sure it gets the right people.


  • There are studies out there about the effectiveness of networking.  Could someone crunch the numbers and see what they tell us about failures and successes?
  • What ways can we use graphics, modeling, and other methods to illustrate good versus bad networking.  3D modeling?  Choose-your-own adventure?

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at