With the recent release of the movie, “The Social Network” there’s been buzz about Facebook and social media in general. There’s also been a lot of talk in the recruiting community about the use of social media; its pros, cons and inherent value. Some recruiting professionals find it to be the golden ticket. I read stories and see YouTube videos showing how they’ve mined, aggregated, aggravated, X-rayed, measured, bronzed, manipulated, tweaked, tweeted, re-tweeted, mass tweeted, freeze-dried and automated data to produce pertinent output. Whew! Pertinent output in the recruiting world equates to candidates typically, and the ROI metrics of various sources and tools to find said candidates. Others feel social media is a crutch that’s over-rated, fragmentary, time-consuming and often ineffectual.
I’m a “Late Adopter” – I was the last on the block to get a microwave, and finally got my first Smart Phone a couple of years ago. My use of social media for recruiting is no exception. I remember that first Facebook friend invitation I received way back when in 2005. From my pal, the former Director of IT of a consulting firm we both worked for. I accepted, not really knowing what I was doing, and quickly had a handful of “friends” – mostly former colleagues…and my son. After a few tentative FB steps, wondering what the heck a “Poke” meant, feeling awkward when asked to categorize my relationships (who likes to tell the whole world, “It’s Complicated”?) and a vaguely horrified wall post from my son saying, “Mom – uh, is that you? You’re on Facebook???” I quickly lost interest. It wasn’t my bag baby. I put it on the back burner for a long time, and eventually suspended my account.
Then I had an important search for a VP level marketing person. The client was an online community for health and wellness. They required that any candidate presented be adept in the Web 2.0 world. At the time, I had to call my tech savvy boyfriend to ask him what Web 2.0 meant. The other recruiters in my office were also intrigued so we actually put him on a conference call to let everyone learn. He explained it as a new term referring to community interaction on a website. I started to research this Web 2.0 thing and it seemed to be that the collective essentially created the entity. It was fluid; evolutionary in its very essence.
At the time, Friendster was being talked about, as was MySpace and Facebook. These sites were considered
phenomena, yet I don’t recall them referred to as anything serious, or helpful in the business world. As time went on however, the murmurings of how social media was going to change the world continued.
Fast forward to a few years later, and today some of us recruiters are still figuring out how and if we can utilize these Web 2.0’esque tools. There have been some recent discussions on what Social Media really is, or isn’t. How do we define it? Who are the players? Is LinkedIn Social Media focused on business, a name generating tool, or a database? Is MySpace a "has been", or still viable? So, I went to the wonderful Web 2.0 Wikipedia for answers to a few questions. Pay attention kids, there will be a quiz at the end!
through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of 9 August 2010, LinkedIn had more than 75 million registered users.(2010 -08-09)[update]
Twitter offers a social networking and microblogging service. Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey,
Twitter has gained popularity worldwide and currently has more than 100 million users. Sometimes described as the "SMS of the Internet.
Friendster is a social networking website founded in 2002. Over 90% of Friendster's traffic comes from Asia… has over 115 million registered users.
Myspace, founded in 2003 became the most popular social networking site in the United States in
June 2006. Myspace was overtaken internationally by its main competitor, Facebook, in April 2008, based on monthly unique visitors. The 100 millionth account was created on August 9, 2006, in the Netherlands.
Care2 is a social network website that was founded by Randy Paynter in 199 to help connect activists from around the world. It has a membership of approximately 14 million people. (The client I referred to)
The Rest - For a list of over the 200 most well-known (not exhaustive per Wikipedia’s disclaimer) Social Media
websites go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites.
Recruiting is a funny profession. As any recruiter knows all too well - you can be the best at your game, find the perfect candidate quickly, offer them their dream job and the hiring manager can be having a bad day and pass, or the Req is put on hold, or the candidate gets a better offer. There are many factors out of our control.
In the end, the use of any tool, or methodology is a very personal decision for any recruiter. Each person has to decide what works for them. We have so much more information at our fingertips than we did only a few years ago. It’s up to the individual to use what they find helpful, and set aside, or toss the rest. As I do my job day to day, I’m sure I’ll continue to reach into my trusty tool belt and grab social networking tools. I'm back on Facebook, use LinkedIn, a bit of Twitter. As new tools come on the market, I’ll probably give them a try and see if they work or not; maybe replace my old hammer with a shiny new nail gun. In the end, what matters more than the tool, is who’s hand the tool is in – and what they do with it.
BTW - I was just kidding about the quiz. :)