The Benefit of Using Social Networking Sites for Recruiting

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It has become common knowledge that the best way to advance in your career or find the right person for the job is by networking. There is no better way to meet people, expand your Rolodex, and get your foot in the door. However, does this same theory apply to networking through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook?

In 2008, only about 3 percent of recruiters used social networking sites, and there is still much debate over the effectiveness of finding job applicants in this manner. Those in favor of it say they can learn a lot about a person by his or her profile. They can discover information that they wouldn’t necessarily read on a resume or see during an interview, such as professionalism and integrity. Those opposed to using these sites feel that finding out specific information about a candidate, such as age, can leave them open to lawsuits.

Finding qualified people on networking sites can be a challenge. Many networking sites have too many people to effectively and efficiently locate the right people for the job. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that some business and social networking sites have become too large and diluted to be effective resources for executive recruiting," said Mark M. Anderson, President of ExecuNet, to

It is a better idea to look at smaller niche sites to narrow down your search. Some sites such as gear specifically to professionals and provide solid candidates. Using, recruiters can search for people who are looking for specific jobs, and search for the companies these people are working for. Unlike general networking sites, recruiters know the people they are searching for on are actively looking for employment, meaning the people will be more receptive to being contacted.

Despite the challenges, the recruiters who use networking sites to find applicants like the method. Maureen Crawford-Hentz, a recruiter for global lighting company Osram Sylvania agrees wholeheartedly with using these websites. "Social networking technology is absolutely the best thing to happen to recruiting—ever," she said in an interview with With this method, Crawford-Hentz is able to find people she might not find using traditional searches.

Social networking sites might work for recruiters, but do people respond positively when approached on these sites?

Many do. After all, their profiles are designed to broadcast their interests, so if a recruiter contacts them with something he thinks will be a good fit, people are usually interested. To find qualified people, recruiters can search sites for specific key words. From there, they can peruse the profiles that pop up on the screen and determine which candidates would be the best for the position. Some sites are even more helpful in that they allow users to list their past companies and skill sets. For more information, the recruiter can put the person’s name in a search engine and see what comes up. If the person’s background and interests are appealing, all it takes is a quick e-mail to the person to see if he or she would be interested in the job, or with working with a recruiter in general.

Social networking sites don’t just benefit the recruiters, it also benefits job seekers. These sites give them access to positions they might not hear about when applying for jobs, and allows them to get in contact with people they might not meet otherwise. And the more connections they make through the sites, the more likely they are of finding a job that interests them. How else would they be able to get an interview at a place where they didn’t know anyone?

If you’re still wary about trying to recruit using social sites, remember: People join networking sites for a reason—to network!