Social Networking Software and Recruiting

I've almost seen as much talk about social networking software as I have about blogging. I guess you could consider blogging as social networking, but what I am talking about is spoke, linked in, etc.

Initial buzz was that these tools could be potentially advantageous to recruiters in terms of finding people in the industry and making a connection. In my opinion, that is half right. What these tools are best at is housing a database of people with their company name, title and contact info. Given that data, what good recruiters are going to use a tool to link through X number of people to call the candidate? Exactly none. We call the candidate directly...we're not shy. I don't need an introduction...I'm just fine saying “Hi, I am Heather and I work at Microsoft...have you thought about working at Microsoft?“ (OK, that's a little corny but you get the point).

So here's how recruiters should use the spoke and linked in type of tools:

1) keyword searches. Haven't heard me talk about keyword searching enough right? If you want to be found (and really, who doesn't want to be found for one reason or another?), make sure your bio is in there and full of the good key words.

2) being searchable. I want to make sure all the good marketers out there know who I am and these tools let me do that. The downside of this is that I have had a bunch of people I don't know contact me because they want to be my connection. If someone was looking for a position, though, I hope they would use these tools to go and find recruiters contact info and e-mail me directly.

Sometimes the best use for a tool isn't the exact user scenario that was envisioned. That's cool with me. All I need is to know who the good marketing people are and I'll call them. I don't need some application polling my hard drive. But it does make me wonder if their product managers realize that what they have developed is a really great leads database for recruiters. And I wonder if job seekers know to be in there.


Comments (4)

  1. Good afternoon Heather.

    My name is Matthew Cosier, I am the new Intern down in Melbourne Aust, on the accounts team.

    I found your post really interesting, having talked with Tyson (Academic Evangelist?) at the MDC on tuesday — it most certainly does provide a good point of communication with the community and those who are currently employed by Microsoft, whether they are recruiters or simply just someone looking for some great people to talk to.

    I am really interested in how Microsoft is extending into the academic community it really shows their interest in getting those new taletnts into the industry, and actively involved.

    You might be interested in checking out my blog for some posts about how my interviews went!


    Matthew Cosier

  2. jim says:

    The conduitness is one of the more annoying things of LinkedIn in the dozen or so cross-contacts I’ve facilitated. I finally dug down into my settings and ticked the "contact me directly" box.

  3. Hello Heather,

    FYI, experienced sales and business development people are also using LinkedIn, as you describe, for any contact beyond one degree of seperation. Is easier to just call the person or send an e-mail directly.

    Another application for these social networking software platforms is behind the corporate firewall, on an enterprise intranet. The application here is to help connect your proven thought-leaders within a company; enabling them to be discovered by anyone who wants to find them.

    Here’s a recruiter scenario: you need a specific subject-matter expert internally for a new project, but the right candidate doesn’t apply to the job posting, and after a brief internal search, you then embark upon an external candidate search that results in a hire.

    However, the story doesn’t end there. Purely by chance, and months later, you discover that Microsoft had the exact candidate match all along, but you (and your peer group) just didn’t know that this expert existed within your company.

    I bet Microsoft has a detailed database of even the most mundane corporate assets (like chairs, desks, file cabinets, etc.), but if you’re like most companies then you probably don’t *know* all your respected internal subject-matter experts. Odd, since we all hear how senior executives say "our people are our greatest asset."

    Social networking platforms can help companies discover, develop, and connect their subject-matter expert network. They can also be used by anyone who is looking for answers — pose any quetion about software development, and I’m sure there’s an expert within Microsoft. But, the challenge remains knowing where to look, and finding that person.

    Also, wouldn’t it help if you could create an Agent on LinkedIn that would send you an e-mail when it found your perfect candidate match (you define the keywords used in the auto-search)? Isn’t this a win-win scenario? You can learn more about research in this area by visiting the GeoNetworker International web site at

  4. Heather says:

    I have a conversation scheduled this week with a product manager from LinkedIn. He was at the SVPMA meeting I spoke at, where I shared my opinion of social networking software (should I get a shirt that says "this is just my opinion"?).

    I think he really wants to gether more info on how I use the tool. Either that or he’s going to tell me to quit blogging on the topic (probably not…). I do appreciate that he is interested in understanding different usage scenarios. Not sure if they did this during the product development lifecycle. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

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