Social networking sites used in job recruiting

August 12, 2009 12:31:41 PM PDT
Social networking sites are used to invite people to parties, weddings and christenings, but how about using a social networking site to offer an invitation to apply for a job? A San Francisco firm is one of the leaders in the growing field of using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as a recruiting tool.

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Barak Ben-Gal found his job as a vice president at Redwood City-based Support.com through a friend -- as people have for centuries. But, there was a digital age twist to his job search.

"I was able to find Support.com because of Shelly, who was my mentor at Yahoo. But, when it came down to actually filling out the application, I went through and used the Jobvite system," said Ben-Gal.

San Francisco-based Jobvite.com has joined the traditional search for a job with the explosive growth of social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to basically turn your working friends into a network of corporate recruiters.

"Study after study shows that referral hiring is the best hiring. They walk in with the right skill set, the right expectations, and they end up being happier and they cost the least," said Jobvite CEO Dan Finnigan.

Here's how it works. A company signs up with Jobvite and its workers are then encouraged to download an application to their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. When hiring mangers post a job, the app scans profiles on the employees' social networking pages to find friends or followers who appear to be a good fit. The employee gets an e-mail flagging the friend as a potential hire and can then forward the information along with a job application.

"The person who receives it can either respond to it and apply for the job, or then share it with someone they know," said Finnigan.

It's a potential win-win for everyone. A job seeker gets an interview, the company can choose from applicants who are already vouched for, and the employee who provided the info helps out a buddy, and at some firms, earns a bonus.

If you think this is only for entry-level positions, the hiring manager at Palo Alto-based People Search Media says think again.

"In fact most of our hiring has been through Jobvite and using social networks including two of our executives on our team. So, contrary to what people might think, it's not just people fresh out of school who are using social networks, even experienced professionals are using them as well," said People Search Media's Lisa Kolenda.

And after using Jobvite to find his position, Barak Ben-Gal now uses it to hire others.

"Because I know the company, because I have a vested interest in the success of the company, because I know the role and know who it's going to be reporting to, I can sort of hand-select specific people from my own networks that I think are appropriate," said Ben-Gal.

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