Social Networking Sites Online Recruitment

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User generated content has grown big. Websites allowing its users to share content are increasing more and more. Companies such as Facebook and Twitter are valued at millions of dollars. Google even paid 1.5 billion dollar for YouTube; one the largest websites offering user generated content.

The primary service offered by these Social Networking Sites is the possibility to connect to people and create, share and collaborate. The extensive use of Social Networking Sites by individuals has allowed organizations to use it effectively for other activities.

Companies are willing to pay lots of money to advertise on these websites and access the information made available by its users. Other organizations are using these websites to extend their marketing efforts and create loyalty among their customers and clients. This map aims to investigate a neglected use of Social Networking Sites; it will focus on how these enormously popular websites can be used by organizations to recruit people.


The growth of Social Networking Sites has not gone unnoticed; within a few years, they have entirely changed the landscape of internet. The media is constantly reporting the growth and the use of Social Networking Sites, while investors are willing to invest millions of pounds in companies that lack event the most basic principles of business models.

However there are two things that seem to make all the difference, the users and their content. Online communities receive great attention from their users and offer many business opportunities for organizations.

Marketing literature has always associated high value to word-of-mouth promotions, with Social Networking Sites, this concept has revolutionized. Allowing content to be shared immediately around to globe with millions of other people, hence it may come as no surprise that academics and professionals are extensively discussing the use of Social Networking Sites as a marketing tool. Other business disciplines seem to be somewhat ignored.

One of the neglected aspects is recruitment; Social Networking Sites and Recruitment have one main thing in common: They both revolve around people. Organizations are not fully aware of the potential that Social Networking Sites have in the context of Recruitment. Other organizations do not fully understand the concept or are reluctant to the changes that are occurring. Provided with relevant data, these organizations can determine whether Social Networking is applicable within their recruitment practices.

Web 2.0

The concept of Web 2.0 was officially introduced by O'Reilly Media in 2004 (O'Reilly, 2005) and it is how next generation Web is described. The Web is more important than ever (O'Reilly, 2007). The initial brainstorm led to a draft [1] , which characterized the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 (O'Reilly 2004).

Web 2.0 is about collaboration and interaction. These activities are performed in many different ways. This idea is further analyzed by Li (2007), he argues that the foundation of social strategy lies in the different types of user participation [2] :

The use of Web 2.0 is not exclusively for individuals, organizations are just beginning to recognize and utilize the power of Web 2.0 social media (Thackeray et al 2008). Organizations that understand the benefits of using tools can internally allow their employees to communicate faster, more flexible and use it practically anywhere in the world, while allowing them to connect with their customers. Innovapost for instance began developing strategies to make the most of the opportunities this new environment offers (Xarchos and Charland 2008).

Innovapost used Web 2.0 technology to develop a new portal that allowed its employees to seek new opportunities within the companies, while allowing other employees (primarily managers) to post opportunities. Other technologies are being developed to further exploit the capability of Web 2.0.

Social Networking

The latest trend in online world is social networking portals (Marchu, Breslin and Decker 2004) Social networking sites have rapidly gained popularity, with Twitter posting growth rates exceeding 1300% (Seeking Alpha 2009). Globally the active memberships on Social Networking Sites were expected to reach 230 million by the end of 2007 (Data Monitor 2007), Today Facebook alone boasts with more than 200 million members. Social Networking Sites are considered to be one the most prominent activities within the Web 2.0 arena. Although they have become increasingly interesting in marketing context, literature is still limited.

A definition of Social Network Sites is provided by Boyd and Ellison (2008 p.210) in which they state:

"We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or a semi-public profile within a bounded, system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system"

Social Networking Sites tend to support the maintenance of pre-existing networks, others help strangers meet online based on their interests, political views, or activities. Some sites attract a range of audiences based on common language or shared racial, sexual, and religious or nationality based identities. The difference between Social Networking Sites can also differ in which information and communication tools they offer, such as mobile connectivity, blogging, and photo/video-sharing (Boyd and Ellison 2008).

Currently there are hundreds of active Social Networking Sites. They each serve a different market as stated by Boyd and Ellison in 2008.

Online Recruitment

Online recruitment, e-cruiting, cybercruiting, or Internet recruiting all refer to the formal sourcing of job information online (Galanaki 2002). There has been a growth in the use of online methods (Beardwell and Claydon 2007).

There are many advantages for an organization that decides to recruit online. The main arguments used for online recruitment are discussed by a range of authors [3] :

Cost efficient

As Armstrong (1996) was quoted earlier in this paper, he stated that the aim of recruitment should be to obtain a minimum amount of pool while being cost effective. Online recruitment is one of the methods to achieve this. Galanaki (2002) states:

"Publishing vacancies on corporate Web site involves almost no cost at all, while the costs of putting advertisements on dedicated recruitment sites depends mainly on the coverage of the particular site".

Improved Results

The internet primarily attracts young, computer literature and educated people and they usually show greater interest in the company, the interest rate is increased when they apply using the corporate website (Ballie 1996; Frost 1997). Online recruitment is heavily promoted based on the assumption that it can generally free up to 30% of HR Literature review time for strategic issues (workforce 2000a). And finally, as internet can reach people globally, they could potentially generate better leads (Workforce 2000b).

Attract Interactive People

Business-oriented Social Networking Sites offer a fertile source of information on passive jobseekers; is often said by recruiters (Gupta 2008; King 2007; Pruit 2008; Ruiz 2008; Wolk 2004). It is maintained by many Human Resource professionals that passive jobseekers are more desirable as they represent an untapped pool of potential candidates that are not already represented by placement agencies, or other recruiting professionals, besides passive jobseekers are considered to be stable employees (DeKay 2009).


Along with many advantages of online recruiting, there are also some negative aspects of online recruitment [4] :


For e-recruitment to function effectively, it must be integrated with other recruitment methods so it can work in harmony (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2009). The use of the methods should be introduced to the people within the company, in order for them to get familiar with the implementation of these tools (Workforce 2000b).


Due to the simplified process of applying for a vacancy and the lack of time and geographic barriers there is a risk of receiving too many applications (Workforce 2000a). Hence care should be taken in drafting the job profile and job description (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 2009).

Recruitment on Social Networking Sites

The reach of Social Networking Sites is getting wider, and it offers companies to raise their profile, directly communicate with clients and potential clients, create natural web links back to their site and engage in free marketing (Gupta 2008; newbusiness 2009) .

Organizations till present have found the most value in using social networking sites as sources of candidate information (Santonocito 2009), however the business oriented Social Networking Sites, as they provide instant credibility to a professional's profile, with referrals and recommendations of the person, aiding recruiters in captivating their mindshare can be very useful (Gupta 2008).

Recruitment on Social Networking Sites does not have to be complicated. Social media capitalizes on one of the greatest strengths of the Internet, the ease of entry and elimination of intermediaries (Burns 2008). Santonocito (2009) even states that in ten years time having a presence on Social Networking Sites will be as common for SMEs as having their own internet.

At the moment the only network consistently associated with recruiting success is LinkedIn (Burns 2008). LinkedIn has shown rapid growth rates, currently having more than 35 million members around the globe, while its direct competitor Xing has 7 million members (Leske 2009). With the recent recession and huge amount of redundancies, LinkedIn's unique visitors count hit 7.7 million a month, from a 3.6 million a year earlier (Leske 2009). With a huge amount of unemployed yet well educated people looking for a job, Social Networking Sites are full of people willing to be employed.

Passive Jobseekers

However the power of business-oriented Social Networking Sites according to recruiters is often considered to be the fact that they are a rich source of information regarding passive jobseekers (Gupta 2008; King 2007; Pruit 2008; Ruiz 2008; Wolk 2004). DeKay (2009) refers to them as individuals that according to placement specialists, are people that are currently employed and not seeking a career change. They are perceived to be more desirable by HR-professionals as they are not associated with agencies or professionals and are considered to be stable employees. Frauenheim (2006 p. 1) conducted an interview with Timothy Farrelly, a San Francisco executive recruiter who stated: "there is probably no better place out there to find a passive candidate, it is really effective".

Gupta (2008) provides an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of recruitment on Social Networking Sites [5] :

According to Gupta's list; the advantages way out the disadvantages. Although these disadvantages should not discourage organizations to use Social Networking Sites as a recruitment tool, they should be taken into account.