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Breaking Down an Internal Leader Becoming an Influencer to Drive Recruiting Leads

In theory, this sounds like a clever idea. It’s sure as hell an agreeable one.

2-minute read

This is a breakdown of the strategy of an internal leader at a company becoming a public-facing thought leader on LinkedIn with the intention of them generating inbound recruiting leads.

In theory, this sounds like a clever idea. It’s sure as hell an agreeable one. Conceptually it does make sense that smart people want to work for smart people—and that seeing these leaders posting their perspectives online would attract skilled workers to them and their companies.

As someone who’s been doing this posting stuff for over 3 years now, I’ve experienced the benefits and flaws of this strategy.

The benefits:

  • Smart people do reach out. I regularly get DMs from folks (passive and active) asking if we’re hiring. (We’re not, currently.)

The flaws:

  • The mental + emotional weight that the creator carries: Being plugged into social media can go from thrilling to laborious to burdensome to downright draining. For someone who’s running a company or a team, this can become an unaffordable distraction—personally and professionally.
  • Consistency: Posting anything at a consistent cadence over years is something that very few can pull off. The attrition rate of this strategy is off the charts.
  • Patience: Earning the ask takes time. Detaching from outcomes and optimizing for value creation without forcing the sale takes unwavering discipline.
  • Delivering tangible value: Niche expertise over wanting to be liked by the wrong people requires a commitment to quality.
  • Engagement: Numbers don’t equal results. Numbers give false feedback.
  • Inability to measure qualitative feedback: You have to REALLY understand qualitative data and how to measure it.
  • Distraction: Doing great work takes a backseat to being popular online.

Does it work? Yes. But it can come at a cost. And I don’t think people consider the trade-offs before they start promoting this idea.

The reality is that a single person suddenly becoming a thought leader that drives recruiting outcomes isn’t likely, sustainable, or even healthy. And if it is something you want to start, it should be driven by an intrinsic need or desire for creative expression. Nothing more.

I have previously been a huge proponent of this approach. But I've come to see the disconnect between the agreeable idea and the realistic execution.

IMO Hirewell and Refine Labs are the best examples of many people at a company posting regularly and creating a kind of feed domination.

Both examples started with a single leader (James and Chris) posting great stuff consistently for multiple years—alone, on an island, purely self-motivated. They each figured it out for themselves, then slowly began integrating this approach into their company cultures.

From there, each rolled out systems to scale this internally.

These examples are rare. It’s because of James and Chris, the individuals. Not because of some consultant or agency helping them build personal brands. Outsourcing this is a fool's errand.

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