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New Tools Cast a Wider Social Network for Recruiters

August 22, 2011

The arrival of three new players in the booming social and professional networking market this year appears to be well-timed as the number of companies using mulitple platforms to find top talent is growing, according to a recent social media recruiting survey.

Social-recruiting company Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey 2011 notes that 64 percent of recruiters say they use two or more online networks with the vast majority—84 percent using LinkedIn. About 40 percent reported using three or more networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Using the Right Keywords

And with the launch of BranchOut in July 2010 and BeKnown and Google Plus, which made their debuts in June, recruiters are trying to decide how to best use a dizzying array of tools to find top talent.

“This says there are different people in different networks,” says Ann Murguia, vice president of marketing at Burlingame, California-based Jobvite. “It’s been a really interesting time to be doing the survey because it’s coincided with this huge mass adoption of social networks. The recruiting world is getting very comfortable using multiple channels.”

The survey of 800 recruiters and human resources professionals was conducted online between May and June.

Each networking tool has something unique to offer recruiters. Google Plus, which has amassed more than 20 million users in less than two months, has generated tremendous buzz for its ability to allow users to organize contacts into customized groups, making it easier to target the talent pool.

BranchOut and BeKnown are among a growing number of startups hoping to compete with LinkedIn through the Facebook platform. Both allow users to find jobs through Facebook friends. Given Facebook’s 700 million plus users, recruiters can gain access to a tremendous talent pool. Branchout was founded by social media entreprenuer Rick Marini, who created the now-defunct quiz site Tickle, which was acquired by Monster in 2004 for $100 million, and Superfan, a social entertaintment site that he abandoned to start BranchOut. BeKnown is owned by Monster.com,

“We’re seeing a convergence of social media right now,” says Gerry Crispin, a staffing expert and co-owner of CareerXroads, a New Jersey-based consulting firm. “There is a ubiquitous ability to apply for jobs faster than ever. When you look at LinkedIn Groups and Google Plus, you are seeing an evolution from just content to discussions about content. When you have the ability to have conversations about jobs, then you start to change the game. There are a lot of trends coming together at this juncture.”

But which products will offer the greatest riches remains to be seen.

It’s too early to tell, says Marianthe Verver, a corporate recruiter and sourcer in Dallas and organizer of TalentNet Live, an annual gathering of social media and recruiting experts.

“As a sourcer there’s a lot more channels to pull information from, but each network is a little bit different,” she says. “I know that recruiters are using Facebook more and more. Google Plus, everyone is trying to figure out, but one obvious plus is that you can organize where your message goes, unlike Twitter; when you send a message it goes out to everyone.”

While having a variety of ways to cultivate communities of job candidates is a good thing, Verver cautions recruiters not to lose sight of the goal—building relationships.

“People get so hung up on tools and get away from managing the message well. We have to stay focused.”

Craig Fisher, vice president of Ajax Social Media in Dallas, agrees that social media can be a distraction if not used properly.

“I tell recruiters that they should be on these networks just three times a day—morning, afternoon and night,” Fisher says. “The rest of the time they need to be on the phone talking to candidates.”

He says recruiters will have to become more strategic than ever in how and where they search for candidates.

“It’s good to have choices, but you have to be effective in using it to find your vertical,” he says. “Say IT is your vertical, you need to know where to go to find those people. It’s OK to have more tools and build more lists but only if you are effecient about searching your own candidate communities. You want to build lists not only of potential candidates but of referrals.”

In a recent Jobvite survey of social media usage patterns among the firm’s clients, different industries seemed to prefer different social networks. For example, the majority of referrals for marketing jobs come thrrough Facebook while administrative and accounting referrals are shared more frequently on Twitter, and product management and information technology referrals are more likely to happen on LinkedIn.

“Recruiters know that they must cover their butts with more than one network,” Murguia says.

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