St. Mirren Football Club

It is by no means a strange concept to see organizations posting job openings across their social media channels these days. These companies are looking for top-tier talent – whether looking for front office personnel or athletes themselves – to add to their team, so why not use all of the platforms at their disposal to attract the right candidates? Despite these now commonplace efforts, however, it is still possible for people to disapprove of an organization’s use of social media for recruitment, as shown recently by some fans of St. Mirren Football Club (@saintmirrenfc).

St. Mirren FC has struggled in league play thus far, compiling just four points through their first 13 fixtures (0-4-9), and sit seven points back of their closest competitor for last in the standings. This listless start prompted the team’s Assistant Manager, James Fowler (@fowler_james), to take to his personal LinkedIn account with an ad to recruit players. The post read:

“Looking for US based senior players only, who are currently free agents or will be free agents in January. Inbox player details and/or CVs. Thanks.”

Needless to say, these efforts sparked an intriguing conversation from the fans – some in favour and some, as mentioned, against the online tactics. Those who were unamused suggested that this was not the type of approach that a professional club should be using, while those who embraced the efforts noted that it is worthwhile to exhaust all avenues and other clubs have even done the same. As in most things social media, there was a great divide.

It’s certainly not the first time we have seen teams (or players) use social media creatively when it comes to employment opportunities. FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) has ventured into a similar realm in the past, as did the Slovenian football club NK Domzale (@NKDomzale), who received more than 150 applicants to their LinkedIn search for a player to replace their departed captain. Striker Nathan Tyson, meanwhile, highlighted his availability and desire to sign with a new club via LinkedIn as well, only to then be signed by Kilmarnock FC (@OfficialKillie).

For any industry, LinkedIn (@LinkedIn) is a professional network and resource. It allows employers, as well as current or prospective employees to network and engage in a professional manner, which frequently includes the sharing of job openings, professional opportunities, and the like. So whether you’re a marketing firm looking for an account manager or a football club looking for a player, should there really be different expectations of what is considered right and wrong when recruiting the top talent available?

We recognize that this approach may spark the notion of unprofessionalism or even desperation among some onlookers, but that doesn’t mean professional (or non-professional) teams should veer away from it. The ability to adapt along with the ever-evolving social media landscape shows that teams are staying on top of these popular platforms. And regardless of the industry – be it sport or beyond – it will always be important to find ways to make the most of your online platforms, even if that notion has not yet caught up to the fan base.

And who knows, maybe this LinkedIn plea from Fowler will be just the stroke of differentiated thinking that St. Mirren FC needs to turn their season around!

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