Friday, June 30, 2006

Risk/benefit of social networking in the job market

The blogging recruiters are talking about the use of social networking sites like MySpace and LinkedIn to find or screen candidates. They're having a lively discussion, but the takeaway for candidates is this:
  1. Be careful what personal information you share online.
  2. Be visible to recruiter searches on the business-oriented networking sites.

The big problem with the more "social" networking sites, such as MySpace, is that they're built for social purposes, not business. MySpace starts the registration process with a request for a picture—already questionable from a hiring perspective—then moves to questions that recruiters can't legally ask. The questions that recruiters are discussing in the comments to these posts are (1) what legal liability companies might incur when they find this personal information, and (2) where recruiters should draw the line at invading candidates privacy, even though the information is publicly available through these sites. Th emerging consensus seems to be that MySpace and its competitors are more dangerous than useful to companies, but candidates should be aware that some companies will search them.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, is seen as useful for "sourcing" candidates (that's recruiter jargon for finding people who would be good for the opening they're trying to fill). So, if you want to be found, join LinkedIn and use the right keywords in your profile. The nice thing about LinkedIn is that you control what it says about you, so your profile should always be consistent with the way you're marketing yourself.

While you're waiting to be found, try Liz's ideas on how to find a job using LinkedIn. It's addressed to recent graduates, but the ideas work for everyone.

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