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Smart Recruiting Through Social Networks

By Network World

February 23, 2009

Online social networks are growing in importance as a way to recruit top talent. In order to make their company attractive to the best and the brightest, employers are experimenting with social networking tools in new ways. In fact, employers who fail to use social networking sites in recruiting initiatives miss out on an opportunity to target a specific demographic. The findings reflect the new job search reality, in which job candidates looking for work turn to the Internet first rather than looking in local newspapers.

Social networking sites differ widely in terms of their capabilities and audience. Thus, a company's recruiting needs should determine which ones to focus on. For instance, from an IT perspective, MySpace may not be the ideal location to look for new hires, as its audience is very young. Some companies use Second Life, but Facebook and LinkedIn are more popular. Employers can use social networking sites to target who they want to apply for a role, especially for positions that attract younger prospective employees. More than 70% of undergraduate students and IT professionals in North America maintain a social networking profile, partly to track potential job opportunities and extend their professional network.

Social networking sites have taken a common recruiting practice and brought it to the Internet. Most people, at the end of the day, are hired through a referral. This is the basic structure behind social networking sites — the trusted one-to-one-to-one relationship. The most successful social networking initiatives allow interaction between potential candidates and current employees. Most companies also set up an information page presenting what they do, and the type of people who work there. Firms can use social networking sites as a bridge to their own interactive corporate Web sites and to take a closer look at candidates who've actively applied for employment.

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