born againI’m no theologian – my apologetics tend to be limited to defending snarky blog comments – but one thing that’s always struck me as kind of odd is the striking semblance that social has kind of always had to spirituality.

I’m not talking about those who would, like the Pharisees, display their faith by live tweeting televangelists (and based on Joel Osteen’s hash tag, this actually exists).

The whole dialogue around social media in general, social media for recruiting in particular, has always had the same characteristics as a religion.

The following are, according to St. Mary’s College of Mary (a virgin so nice, they named her twice), the primary characteristics of a religion.  Although the good sisters of Mary who use this when teaching their flock little lambs might sound familiar.  According to these basic characteristics, HR bloggers seem to have discovered another holy trinity: social media, talent acquisition, and employer branding.

Pray on it, even if you’re non-denom.  And lo, it was written…

Soteriological (having to do with salvation): “Not sure that we should ever think of social media as an “invasion,” more as the potential salvation of HR.”  LinkedIn HRD: “HR Must Keep Up With Social Media Invasion,”

Theological (the rationalization of belief): “Provide targeted executives with a list of potential benefits and then simply have them select the ones that (if proven) would be compelling enough to positively influence their decision … with that guidance in hand, design a process that focuses on proving only those benefits that were selected as highly compelling.” The Many Benefits of Social Network Recruiting: Making A Compelling Business Case,” Dr. John Sullivan,

Anthropological (nature and possibilities of human being): “Ask yourself, ‘What are the obstacles keeping my employees from doing what they’re capable of doing?’   Then, go remove those obstacles.  I bet social might help.” HR Should Introduce Social Possibilities, Charlie Judy, Dice Employer Resource Center

Epistomology (“How Do We Know?”): “The results are not false perceptions.  [The survey] stated that 49% of companies who currently use social media to recruit have witnessed an increase in the quality of applications, and a whopping 43% have experienced an increase in the quality of candidates themselves.  This implies that social recruiting not only works, but it may be a more effective way to vet potential candidates for better job placement.”  Jobvite Proves That Social Recruiting Works, Kate Supino, 

Ethics (relations between humans): “Relationships are still the currency that helps us find jobs … social media helps you connect with more people; social media, then, is a tool to help us connect with more people to build more relationships.” How Social Media Helps Dinosaurs To Dance, CubeRules

Temporal (having to do with the meaning of time): “Recruiters are filling openings faster by relying on new tools that scour social networks and target workers who aren’r necessarily looking for jobs.” Job Recruiters Turn To LinkedIn, Social Media Startups, Bloomberg Business Week

Cultic Practices (symbolic behavior): “Never forget to share your company culture and values, whether in a recruitment video or employee testimonials. Let potential applicants “see” inside your company and you’ll be establishing your brand identity as you attract the kind of talent your company needs.” How Social Media Can Strengthen Your Company’s Brand, Sajjad Masud, The Huffington Post

Of course, you shouldn’t take any of this as gospel, because like any religion, recruiting with social media remains largely an act of faith.  But even the most adamant of believers should follow that final major tenet of religion:

Cosmology (having to do with the meaning of the universe): As seen above, there are plenty of “gurus” and “evangelists” out there sprouting the social recruiting gospel, but we all know what happens when you drink the Kool Aid. The meaning of the world of recruiting is all about making hires (or placements) – and ultimately, if social media can’t help you do that, then your time might just be better spent waiting for a more meaningful answer to your post and prayers.

Can I get an amen?

By Matt Charney

Matt serves as Chief Content Officer and Global Thought Leadership Head for Allegis Global Solutions and is a partner for RecruitingDaily the industry leading online publication for Recruiting and HR Tech. With a unique background that includes HR, blogging and social media, Matt Charney is a key influencer in recruiting and a self-described “kick-butt marketing and communications professional.”