Even if you've never used one, you've undoubtedly heard about social networking web sites, like Twitter and Facebook. They're used by millions of people all over the world to stay connected with family and friends. They're not just for entertainment anymore, though.

Today, social sites are being used to connect employers and job seekers.

Social Recruiting: The New Wave

It may be the end of classified ads, or posting your resume on an online job board and waiting to hear back about an interview. Social recruiting is quickly becoming the preferred way for employers to connect with potential employees.

How it works

An employer may use one of today's popular social web sites, like LinkedIn, for example. On the site, the employer may invite job seekers to join a group or "network" of other job applicants. The applicants may post their resume or credentials, too. Then, when the employer needs to fill a position, it looks through the network to find someone to interview and hire.

Or, an employer may use a specialized web site and let it do all the work, much like the traditional employment agency. For example, an employer may ask JobFox or a similar service to build a network of qualified job candidates. The employer can search through the network, and even ask applicants to join the network.

Does it Work?

Most employers and employees will tell you that finding a job or filling a position often comes down to "connections." Making connections and staying connected have never been easier, thanks to the internet.

Also, some numbers may convince you that social recruiting works. JobFox boasts that 7 million recruiters and job seekers use the service each month, and that it makes networks for 7,000 companies in the US.

And while it may be only a coincidence, LinkedIn's initial public offering (IPO) in May 2011 was a huge success.

Make It Work For You

Joining an employer's network can give you the inside track to a job. After all, once an employer has a network of potential job seekers, it may not even advertise an open position. It may simply tell the network members about the job, or it may just contact a member directly.

The key is to get connected:

  • Check sites like LinkedIn and JobFox to see if an employer you're interested in has a network
  • Join as many networks as you can
  • Don't get discouraged. You may not be accepted into a network because your skills are different from the ones the employer's looking for
  • Read the fine print. Most social recruiters offer their services for free to job seekers, but some may not.
  • Keep your online activities clean! Employers look at Twitter, Facebook, etc., too. So, a risque or unsavory post or tweet may knock you out of the running for a job
  • Ask any recruiter or social networking site about their confidentiality policies. Your current employer may not like seeing that you're in the market for a new job

You don't have to be told how competitive the job market is if you're one of the millions of people looking for a new job. Take advantage of the technology and maybe an employer will find you.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Can I be fired if my employer finds out I've joined a job-seekers network?
  • Can I change my mind and decline a job offer after I've accepted it?
  • Are fees I pay to a social recruiter tax deductible?

Tagged as: Labor and Employment, Human Resources Law, social recruiting, facebook recruiting