4+ Ways to Ethically Recruit Online

This past week I received a LinkedIn message from someone who wanted to recruit me. He saw that I was a member of a LinkedIn group associated with a particular direct sales company, and since he was with a company that sold a similar product line, he was trying to get me to leave the company he thought I was with, and join him instead.

This is so wrong on so many levels. I did call him on it, and he responded by saying I would just have to be offended, and that I was negative. Yep, he really said that. I did report him to the company in question, since I do know the corporate staff there, and they should know that someone is mining their LinkedIn group for potential recruits.

But it got me to thinking…do you know how to recruit ethically online? There is a fine line between sharing the opportunity with someone either new to the industry, or looking for a change, and targeting the sales force of another company, which is unethical. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons that many established direct sales companies have been hesitant to list their consultants online…because of unethical people who might try to target them. Now of course most of us realize that you can’t really hide that information. But it is unsettling to see unscrupulous folks try to take advantage of that fact.

I asked the question on Facebook, and was blown away by the incredible conversation we shared. You can read it here and here. I also asked if folks were successful finding recruits online in an ethical way, and you shared your ideas here. Truly, you guys rock.

So here are some online recruiting techniques that I believe are within the boundaries of ethical behavior. What would you add?

  1. Facebook Ads. If you are interested in finding people with experience, who may have at one time worked with a competing company, or may be looking for a switch, running a targeted Facebook Ad that displays for people that have mentioned the other company is OK (as long as your company policies allow it.) But your ad should not belittle that other company in other way. Rather, it highlights the benefits of your opportunity.  The reason I think this is OK is because you’re not specifically targeting individuals. You’re simply providing information, and if someone is looking for a new opportunity, they can act should they choose to.
  2. A blog that is designed for recruiting. You should cover topics that would be of interest to someone looking for an opportunity, and provide a way for people to find out more about the opportunity you offer. Your blog should NOT recreate the opportunity page of your replicated website. Rather, it is more generic information that people interested in an opportunity may be searching for. Read more about creating a blog designed for recruiting here.
  3. Answer questions on sites like LinkedIn and Quora. You can search for questions asked related to direct sales, small business, and working from home. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise, and begin to develop relationships with folks.
  4. Post ads on LinkedIn Jobs boards. Some groups have a “Jobs” section. If the topic of the group is applicable to what you have to offer (for example, working at home), feel free to post your opportunity there. Just be clear that it’s a business opportunity that requires an investment, and not a “job.” If group members are interested, they can contact you. One person on my Facebook Page tells us that she has found many new teammates using this technique.

And of course, you can connect with people through your social networks, get to know them, share common interests, and listen. This will allow you to present the opportunity to individuals in relevant ways.

Now I intend for this to be a starting point. I would love for you to share your ideas too. What’s worked for you? (And if possible, if you’re reading this in an email or on a social network, would you click over to the blog and comment here? That way all these great ideas are in one place.)

How are you recruiting online in ethical ways?

16 Responses to 4+ Ways to Ethically Recruit Online
  1. Annemarie Berukoff
    July 1, 2016 | 4:55 pm

    Excellent very timely article. Thanks for keeping us focused,
    After a few earlier years on the internet of “blasting” websites and recruiting without ever talking to anyone, the realization is a lot of wasted time, money because strangers don’t become business partners but they may buy an ebook. Very limited duplication.
    Now my network marketing is about starting a conversation first, followed by a preliminary interview to see if prospects are on the same wavelength. Finally, they are invited to check out a professional webinar and company’s website. Duplication is more manageable.
    Now I post 3 questions and discuss answers before any company is promoted.

  2. Jeannie
    May 7, 2014 | 8:58 pm

    This! So much love for this post. Once people started to realize I started a DS business they all came out of hiding and started asking me to join their company. Serial recruiters drive me crazy too, the ones who try to sign you up for a new op every other month…
    Jeannie recently posted..Best Ever Chicken Wraps!

  3. Patti
    April 28, 2014 | 3:01 pm

    Great info! I am always trying to build my business without crushing it first! Thanks for the info!!!

  4. Hester
    April 28, 2014 | 2:55 am

    I was recruited by phone the other day to an MLM business. This person was ‘just’ going through the phonebook. I asked if he was really phoning the entire phonebook and he said he was. When I told him I already was with another MLM company and had no intention of switching, he proceeded to tell me why his company was awesome and better than any other company out there. When I replied that I was perfectly satisfied with the company I was with, he proceeded to tell me, that was because I hadn’t researched his company yet. It took me 30 min to get rid of him and it ended with me being offended because I didn’t want to share my email for more info. He just kept talking about his company. Granted, he didn’t directly bash my company, but was not being respectful either. It was a good lesson in what NOT to do. (Which is the only reason he was lucky I didn’t hang up on him)

  5. Stephanie
    April 25, 2014 | 7:13 am

    Great content! Being recruited when I’m not interested is annoying but not nearly as annoying as receiving business opportunity calls and spam emails after submitting my resume for employment.

    If a person is seeking a j-o-b, please do not call and recruit them for a business opp!
    Stephanie recently posted..Special Request: Calling Direct Sales Consultants

  6. Tina Fraser
    April 6, 2011 | 11:18 am

    I have to concur with this post, and wish others would heed these guidelines. This also has to do with going to seminars on the industry that aren’t company specific. Back when I was with another direct selling company, I was really into attending local seminars to learn more about the industry. One Saturday, I was sitting in the room with about 100 other ladies learning how share with others. It was at a hotel. At lunch, when I walked into the hotel restaurant, I was invited by a group of 8 ladies to sit with them to eat and talk about what we were learning. All of them except 2 were with a company I had not heard of before that day. Unfortunately, right after I was done eating, I had to excuse myself from their group and leave under the pretense I had to make some phone calls, because all 8 of them kept harping on the fact that their comp plan was better than mine, and I should consider joining their company instead. I told them I didn’t necessarily appreciate the way they were “hounding” me during lunch to join their perceived “better” comp plan – but they didn’t seem to care. The waitress asked us all what companies we were with, and they even told her their comp plan was the best and she shouldn’t look at any other company. Not something I wanted to experience, and my impression of them and their company was rather tarnished that day.

  7. Jan
    March 30, 2011 | 5:58 pm

    Thanks for such a timely and informative article. There is a lot of unethical behavior around recruiting going around lately and what is amazing is that some of it is company encouraged and sponsored!

  8. Quentin F. Robbins
    February 17, 2011 | 12:36 am

    If there are several people from the same company in close proximity being unique in a sea of many is crucial for your online direct sales business..One way to make yourself stand out from among the crowd is to have a webpage associated with the parent company that youre working with. The name of the game is being unique and a company page doesnt say that..Before purchasing a domain name however read up on your companys rules for online marketing. You dont want to do anything that will jeopardize your standing with them.

  9. Leigh Bordelon
    February 11, 2011 | 1:52 pm

    I was recruited just last night to join an MLM group – but my profile clearly states that I’m just a trainer – not “in business”…it’s a good idea to make sure that the folks you’re prospecting are actually in the market for what you’re offering!

    • Jennifer Fong
      February 11, 2011 | 4:58 pm

      If I had a dime for every time someone tried to recruit me… It would be nice if people did their homework, wouldn’t it Leigh?

  10. Robin Thomas
    February 10, 2011 | 4:28 pm

    Jen- I’m loving this article. You have some great points. But I have to say, what really caught my idea is Karen’s comment. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks, Karen, for raising the bar, and showing yourself to be caring and of integrity. (and I have to say- I’ve never met Karen, but I think we could be great friends- I’m heading over to her site now)

    Robin Thomas recently posted..A Smart Approach to Heart Health

    • Robin Thomas
      February 16, 2015 | 5:29 pm

      Just following back from a ping… I’ve been changing up my website to include a community of people who love to educate others on becoming healthier. I always meet great people through Jen Fong, and want to make sure I’m not sending people to a dead end url 🙂

  11. Karen Clark
    February 9, 2011 | 4:18 pm

    Thank you for pulling this all together. It is a real challenge out there! I believe that one of the best ways to recruit online is to BE the type of person that others will want to do business with. Be ethical, be of service, be helpful, and be caring. Just like ‘in real life’! Show you know your stuff and have integrity, and others will be attracted to you. Then when and if they are looking for an opportunity they will ask you about your business because they will know you’re the perfect upline for them and represent a great company with principles! Great post, Jen!!
    Karen Clark recently posted..Online Tools for Scheduling

    • Nonie Orozco
      February 11, 2011 | 7:34 pm

      Karen, this is my first time in this blog, I work in Quito, Ecuador for a great Direct Sales Co. and this is exactly what they ask us to do. We should have values to show and they are the 3 H. Humanity, Humbleness and Honesty.

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