Social Media: New Haven for Job Seekers

Why Facebook and LinkedIn are Displacing Traditional Job Boards
Social Media: New Haven for Job Seekers
Will online job boards soon be history?

Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and others are changing the rules of job search, say hiring managers and career experts. These sites offer a new relationship-based approach that allows individuals and organizations to build communities through online profiles, affinity groups and networks of contacts.

"The new way to look at a job search is a 'people search' process, which makes candidates visible to the employers they are targeting," says Michele Porfilio, a strategic sourcing director for Crowe Horwath LLP, a public accounting and consulting firm. Social networking sites allow candidates to conduct a people search, to find employees who work at their targeted list of companies and help build relationships with them, eventually leading to job opportunities.

"Candidates are better treated and more completely able to present themselves than they can with a job board," says Barabara Massa, VP, Global Talent Acquisition, McAfee, Inc. "From our perspective, the prominence of job boards is declining steeply."

From Job Boards to Jobfox

Job boards are plagued with perceived shortcomings - what job-seekers describe as the lack of relevant options that turn up in searches; vague job descriptions that don't identify the employer; restrictions placed on access of resume pool to employers.

"Applying for jobs through job boards is too often a black hole with no acknowledgment from employers, let alone invitations to interview," says Katharine Hansen, a career coach and author of the report, 'The long, slow death march of job boards¬ and what will replace them'.

Also, job seekers are wary of posting their resume and personal information on job boards for fear of identity theft, as well as getting swamped by calls totally unrelated to their credentials.

The need for job boards will be absolutely minimized as more companies incorporate active social media strategies toward hiring and staffing functions, says Hansen. She sees the new generation of job seekers using new approaches including:

  • The job-search "aggregators" - or search engines like Indeed, JobSniper and Simply Hired, remain popular. Candidates searching for jobs on, for example, have the option of setting up a RSS feed for those search terms. Also, job seekers can look for blogs that carry job listings and subscribe to their feeds.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques - job-seekers are also beginning to become more sophisticated in optimizing online portfolios, resumes, and websites to make themselves "findable" by recruiters and employers. They are learning effective use of keywords to ensure high placement in searches on Google and other search engines.

  • Web 2.0-based employer web sites/ talent hubs - that allow interaction, control and input from the candidate. These sites provide information in a variety of formats, including video, audio, graphics, and text.
In addition to these approaches, Hansen cites venues that move beyond the standard experience that job boards have offered:
  • Jobfox, which offers a "Mutual Suitability System," using an in-depth question-and-answer format to learn about job-seekers' experience, wants and needs. Jobfox then presents candidates with only the opportunities that match.

  • Itzbig, where matching candidates to jobs also is the centerpiece. Itzbig calls itself a "real-time interactive recruiting network, providing a way for job seekers and recruiters to come together online." The site uses "profile matching technology" to provide "a filtered set of qualified candidates to the recruiter and a filtered set of job matches to the candidate."

  • QuietAgent, which claims to "evaluate every job, every day, so you don't have to." The site notes that with QuietAgent, recruiters use "rich toolsets to get two-way private connections with quality candidates."

  • states that it is "for people who are not necessarily actively looking for a new job, but rather who are open to recruitment by companies." The site enables seekers to "connect anonymously to recruiters, research companies and salary information, and refer jobs to trusted co-workers and friends."

  • My Perfect Gig, a members-only network for engineering professionals where companies and job seekers speak a 'common language.'

"In past years, job boards have been the sole focus for hiring and recruiting candidates but no longer," says Massa. "Today companies are extensively using social media sites to actively engage candidates, as the future focus for both job-seekers and hiring decision-makers will be on establishing and building relationships."

Remember those Do's and Don'ts

As employers and job seekers alike turn increasingly to social media, it's important to recall some of the critical do's and don'ts of social networking, including:

Do be Visible and Add Value

Be active in relevant member groups, forums and associations. Have a targeted list of companies and accordingly expand your network and connections to be recognized by industry associates. Creating a concise profile online is important for recruiters to find them in their searches, however, "Job prospects should never say that they are looking for a job on their profile and status update, as that gives a desperate impression to hiring managers and recruiters and often is a turnoff," says Porfilio. Add value by posting useful links or just comments that offer some information that will help establish a candidate as someone who knows things about their niche and area of expertise.

Don't Badmouth Employers

Be careful and not gripe about their current or past employers in your online profiles. This usually reflects badly on the candidate and results in tarnishing their own image in the eyes of hiring managers and recruiters. Also, if you are currently employed, keep in mind any confidentiality and conduct agreements you may have signed to ensure you are not violating any terms.

Do be Selective

Be careful with what information needs to be posted -- where you decide to post the information and how public you make it. A good practice is to restrict posting personal information that may not be relevant to professional career growth and development. Emphasis should be placed on showcasing expertise and skill set and work-related activities, including speaking engagements, articles and papers published and core strengths.

About the Author

Upasana Gupta

Upasana Gupta

Contributing Editor, CareersInfoSecurity

Upasana Gupta oversees CareersInfoSecurity and shepherds career and leadership coverage for all Information Security Media Group's media properties. She regularly writes on career topics and speaks to senior executives on a wide-range of subjects, including security leadership, privacy, risk management, application security and fraud. She also helps produce podcasts and is instrumental in the global expansion of ISMG websites by recruiting international information security and risk experts to contribute content, including blogs. Upasana previously served as a resource manager focusing on hiring, recruiting and human resources at Icons Inc., an IT security advisory firm affiliated with ISMG. She holds an MBA in human resources from Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa.

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