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Social networking sites fast catching up with job portals

September 07, 2009 14:09 IST

Aman Joshi (not his real name) recently received an interview call for a manager's position at one of the largest electronics companies in the world. Interestingly, it was his LinkedIn profile - which a marketing head of the electronics company had seen - that landed Aman this call.

Aman now believes that social networking sites can be as responsive as traditional channels like job portals when it comes to career options. His friends too, he vouches, keep getting such calls on social networking sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Orkut where they have put up their profiles. And these calls from HR consultants are not only from India but also from foreign lands.

Indeed, social networking - which is finding favour with marketers - is now catching up with recruiters too. For instance, Srini Krishnamurthi, MD, Expertus (a learning outsourcing organisation), admits to using networking sites "...to source candidates for specialised positions like PR, marketing communication where suitable resource are scarce".

Surabhi Mathur-Gandhi, GM, TeamLease Services, concurs: "Candidate details are picked from social networking sites by identifying their current/past job profiles and skills versus the candidate requirements. All profiles on such sites usually carry a brief of the person's academic history, job profile, roles and responsibilities and, in some cases, a detailed profile is attached too."

Recruiters use different networking sites to search for candidates from different experience levels. For instance, senior level professionals are present on LinkedIn, while young professionals can be tapped on Facebook and Orkut.

Many networking sites also have communities wherein one can post requirements for candidates. Sites like siliconindia.com, for example, offer great scope for IT recruitment. Not only recruitment companies, company HR heads are also visiting these sites. They can get appropriate candidates, minus the commission to consultants.

Deepak Shetty, director (HR), Philips Innovation Campus (PIC), admits: "We have used only LinkedIn as of now, largely for exchanging expertise and for updating job requirements in status bar to cascade it to the over 1,000 contacts in my chain. I have also used LinkedIn paid job ads recently with a decent RoI (return on investment)."

If more companies take this route to hire people, one thing is for sure: Networking sites can make job portals' revenues lean. The advantage networking sites offer, according to recruiters, is that they can always cross-check with the connection one has. In addition, networking sites usually allow an informal platform to interact and network with people.

Rahul Wadhwani, Managing Partner, Planman Consulting, says: "We look at their professional profile in these sites, which give us an access to their professional activities like their contributions to questions and answers, knowledge forums, white papers, blogs, etc, which highlight their interests and depth of knowledge in their areas of specialisation, which normally does not get reflected in just a resume."

Mathur-Gandhi corroborates: "As recruiters, we stand to gain from the plethora of professionals that we can identify. However, only profiles are identified from these sites. Validation and suitability matching is done as per our set processes through personal meetings/telephonic interviews."

There are also some dissenting voices, though. A candidate, who did not wish to be named, believes "...the platform is not a reliable mean to seek a job. One day, I received a mail from a VP-HR of a group based out of Chennai asking for my resume for a position in corporate communication. I did send it to him and its been three weeks. Thus far, there has been no word from him. I wrote three emails to him but he did not even bother to respond to me. Whereas with recruitment agencies and job portals providing reliable service, you are sure to be called for an interview."

HR recruiters, however, believe that these are more of an exception than the rule.

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