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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?