Leading up to 2000 the best recruiters were connecting with passive candidates through in person networking, cold calls and probably still getting faxed resumes at times! Networking in person still adds the most value in my opinion, especially if you speak "technical". The phone is without a doubt still necessary and still the most efficient way to maintain an existing relationship. With the introduction and current influence of job boards, forums, social media, groups and the like has the game really changed? What I am getting is when you are recruiting "techies" are you more likely to get a response using the typical phone call and voice mails or are you better served to use a digital channel as your introduction.
This is a constant debate in my circles as the management of course wants to "hear the hum" of phone calls during our predetermined "blitz" times and feels that if your are not on the phone all day you are not working. There is of course truth to the logic behind this line of thinking and as most of them have not really recruited for over 5-10 years I understand why they feel this way. That said when I look at the most successful people around me....Derek Kinzel.... they are not necessarily the recruiters with the highest call volume, they are the most creative, who can connect with the cream of the crop and have the highest call quality. The calls they make are "warm" based on an intro that typically happens through a digital channel.
I regularly have individuals who saw me somewhere out there in the digital universe reach out to me through a more traditional channel (phone) or tell me about seeing me out there once we actually meet in person. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, Meetup, About.me...and hundreds more of online properties offer recruiters the opportunity to not only reach out but the opportunity to figure out what people are passionate about which I believe is the key to connecting with the top technical resources in the country.
For technical professionals, specifically the creative types, software engineers, web developers, open source developers, designers and the like, are we as recruiters making more headway by making a 100 calls or finding a creative way to digitally reach out to 10 people?