Social Recruiting

I'm giving the keynote talk at the Social Recruiting Summit in NYC on Monday. I've been working on my presentation over the past few days and some themes are worth talking about.

1) Since we started Union Square Ventures in 2003/2004, we have only been involved with one retained search. Our portfolio companies have certainly used search firms, but our use of them has been extremely rare. We prefer to source candidates ourselves using our networks, and increasingly our social networks.

2) We sourced both of our junior investment professionals, Andrew Parker and Eric Friedman, with blog posts at

3) We have sourced countless senior hires for our portfolio companies off of this blog and I would bet that we've done a couple dozen successful hires that way in the past couple years.

4) Many of our companies have internal recruiters and we work hand in hand with them, sourcing talent, vetting talent, and closing the sale.

5) LinkedIn is a terrific place to find talent and to find references. When I want to check someone out, I invite them to connect to me on LinkedIn, I find who we know in common, and that is my reference list. Charlie O'Donnell taught me these LinkedIn tricks about five years ago and I use them all the time. 

6) is also a terrific place to find talent and figure out who they know. Let's say you wanted to find the top execs at LinkedIn. You can find them all in one place here.

7) Hunting for talent is necessary but not always sufficient. You need to get the word out. Like all things on the internet, there are free ways and paid ways to do that.

8) The best free way is get your jobs indexed by Indeed so they can be found by the over 10 million people a month who go there looking for jobs. We feature all the jobs in our portfolio on the front page of by running an Indeed stored query of all the jobs in our portfolio companies.

9) Social networks like Twitter and Facebook are also great free ways to get the word out. Post the job on your website and tweet it out, get it retweeted, searched, and discovered and the resumes will start coming in.

10) You can also pay to get your jobs "sponsored" in Indeed. You can post job ads via Facebook's self serve ad system and target them at very specific locations and job types. And we'll see more social media/networks offer paid systems like this in the next year.

11) There are all sorts of niche communities on the web you should be hanging out in if you want to find talent. For tech/engineering talent, we like to look at Meetup groups on certain tech topics (there are eight Ruby On Rails meetups within 25 miles of NYC), open source projects, and niche communities like Hacker News and Stack Overflow. You can play the same game with communities for other kinds of job types. The key is you have to hang out there a bit, get to know the community and the people in it, and build trust and add value.

That last point is the big point. Social media is about showing up, hanging out, and earning trust. If you want to use social media to source talent, you can't fake it. You have to really participate in these systems. But if and when you do, they are incredibly powerful and are changing the face of recruiting.

I look forward to talking to the recruiting community about this topic more on Monday. And if you have ideas for other things I should be talking about, please leave them in the comments.

#VC & Technology