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Issue Date: June 2007

The role of social networking in recruitment

14 June 2007
Karin Doyle, Online and Executive Search divisional manager at Ambit Recruitment

The truly online social era seems to have arrived! Or perhaps it has finally surfaced on the mass consciousness because the idea has actually been around since 1999. Social networking creates a space for social interaction and a way to express our knowledge and our cultures across a globe that desperately needs informed communication without being prescribed to by the mass media.
Social networking is unfolding in a myriad of technologies and formats, and it is not just the consumer that is driving this trend. Companies are increasingly becoming aware that if they are not seen to be actively participating in an honest, transparent mode in this network there is a good chance that they will be kicked to touch. It is not just good enough to be on a network like LinkedIn, as MySpace and Facebook are being used more and more for marketing purposes.
The web is increasingly driving our world. It has become easier and cheaper to use to store our photo archives than to spend thousands on hardware to store our Gigs of family snaps. We are able to help Johnny with his homework by using online encyclopedias that do not have to be reprinted every 10 years when major scientific studies have revealed new information. At a more advanced level we are able to share our knowledge with people across the world, disregarding whether you are a normal person with an innate interest in the universe or an esteemed professor at a top university. We can now identify their interests, what drives them and what they read to feed that drive. And so hopefully, this knowledge sharing will benefit the world when we have to find solutions to the problems we have created.
Blogs are immensely popular, developing to include blog aggregates, with top bloggers receiving awards. They have become a phenomenal channel for creating awareness of the opinion from the man in the street. The consumer can now choose what news they want to see/hear and what matters to them most. Other tools include RSS feeds, podcasting, online photo storage and a myriad of others. Companies are giving their intranets a face-lift as a tool to encourage meaningful communication between employees.
So how does all of this affect recruitment in the IT and Online industry?  
Is there now a greater capability to recruit excellent skills directly? And if so, does it happen? Yes. Does it solve the challenges of recruitment? No, not really. Many companies find that when it comes to paying a recruitment company with an excellent track record in integrity and service levels, it is still the best route to go. Unfortunately every hour the MD or HR manager invests in recruiting carries a significant cost – and loads of time is wasted as it is not their core function and detracts from the time that should be spent on their key performance areas. 
Many company owners and executive teams realise the value in partnering with a recruitment organisation where the selection process is thorough. There are those few recruitment companies that have their candidates’ careers at heart. This, coupled with a recruiter who is savvy to the technology and communication opportunities of the day is a winner – for candidates and employers alike. If you can find a recruiter who is functionally socially networked, and who invests their precious time keeping in touch with the market, with the bloggers – in fact with your future employees - hang onto them, they are worth their weight in gold.

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