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Social Networking Sites: A New Recruiting Tool

Social networking sites allow recruiters to establish relationships with candidates while promoting their company and leveraging relationships into placements down the road.

by Rich Pennock
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It is no secret that in today’s tight economy, recruitment of candidates with specialized skills has become increasingly challenging, forcing many recruiters to turn to “non-traditional” search methods. One such method, social networking, has really taken off. Social networking sites allow recruiters to establish relationships with candidates while promoting their company and leveraging relationships into placements down the road.

Value to recruiters

The purpose of using a social networking site in a recruiting environment is to maintain a steady flow of candidates into the candidate pool. However, unlike job boards, social networking sites do not provide immediate gratification. Networking takes time. Remember, the goal of networking is to expand connections incrementally so that your network can benefit you and vice versa in the long run. While most social networking user groups have opportunities to post jobs, most recruiters want to grow relationships. Building these relationships enhances a company’s brand, connects recruiters with second and third degree contacts and affords recruiters the opportunities to truly tap into passive

Candidate profile information

Candidate profile information When using social networking sites for recruitment purposes, candidate information to consider includes:
Career History / Contact Information / Continuous Learning / Creativity / Education Effective Communication Skills / Endorsements / Experience / Expertise in Field Good Judgment / Industry Knowledge / Innovation / Integrity / Job Skills / Job Stability Number of Connections / Presentation Skills Professional Approach / Professional Associations / Professional History / Professional Interests / Promotions / Qualifications / Right Job Function / Strategic Thinking / Titles Written Skills

Tips of the trade

Bottom line is social networks can be utilized to gain a competitive advantage in an already competitive industry. Consider the following:

  • When it comes to building relationships on social networking sites, think quality, not quantity.Take your time and build your network strategically. An ideal network should consist of skilled potential candidates who can be placed using less time and energy than traditional sourcing methods. While there are many recruiters who possess 500+ connections on LinkedIn, what is the reality of actually placing these individuals? Invite experienced scientific professionals to join as subject matter experts and tap into their expertise and relationships.
  • Consider participating in blogs, discussion groups, and online communities: Most social networking sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace, have numerous science related groups.
  • How many networks can you manage while still promoting a favorable brand image? Social networks allow candidates and members of the scientific community to interact with one another. A virtual relationship via a social networking platform needs to be reciprocal and represent value for both parties. Recruiters need to ensure that they are not only asking for help, suggestions and referrals, but also offering career guidance and subject matter expertise.
  • Time factor.
    With the buzz surrounding social networking, it is easy to be lured into joining many, but actively participating in none. Before deciding to become a member and devote time to any site, conduct research and determine if it makes sense for (your) business. If there isn’t a good business case for joining, then don’t.

Networking, when properly executed, is one of the most powerful tools a recruiter can have in their tool box. As job board traffic dwindles and candidates seek out person-to-person relationships with recruiting professionals, the need for a well-crafted networking strategy is not a “nice to have”, but a “must have” for recruiting success.