Social networking ever more critical to job search success

Becoming a key career networking and recruiting tool

Jobvite, a maker of recruiting software, released the results of its third-annual social recruiting survey this morning, and the findings underscore the many reasons job seekers need to incorporate online social networking into their job searches.

Jobvite asked 825 HR and recruiting professionals about the extent to which they use social networking websites in their recruiting process to find and vet candidates for jobs. Their answers indicate that they view social networks as a viable channel for sourcing high-quality candidates and that they plan to increase their use of social networking websites in their recruiting efforts this year. (Only about 3 percent of survey respondents were Jobvite customers.)

At some companies, in fact, social recruiting is beginning to eclipse traditional channels for sourcing candidates, such as job boards and third-party recruiters and search firms.

If you're looking for a job and not active on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter (the three social networking websites most popular with employers, according to the survey), here are four reasons to join these sites and actively manage your profiles.

1. You'll have access to job opportunities at progressive, growing companies.

Companies that are hiring the most people in the shortest periods of time "are the ones who are more aggressively pursuing social recruiting," says Dan Finnigan, Jobvite's CEO. "Companies with the most growth opportunities are trying to get better, higher-quality candidates through social recruiting."

2. You'll have access to job opportunities first.

The Jobvite survey results show that employers prefer using social networking sites for recruiting because they make advertising jobs and sourcing candidates cheap and easy. Tweeting a position they need to fill, for example, doesn't cost a dime. For that reason, online social networks are among the first places employers advertise jobs.

3. Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find and vet prospective employees.

According to Jobvite's social recruiting survey:

  • 73 percent of respondents currently use online social networks or social media sites to support their recruiting efforts.
  • 92 percent of respondents hiring in 2010 currently use or plan to recruit via social networks.
  • 78 percent of respondents use LinkedIn for recruiting; 55 percent use Facebook (up 15 percent since over 2009); and 45 percent use Twitter (up 32 percent over 2009).
  • One-third of respondents always check out candidates' social media profiles when vetting them.
  • 58 percent of respondents have successfully hired candidates through social networking websites.

4. You may not find as many job ads on job boards or job opportunities through recruiters.

Some employers are shifting their recruiting activity away from traditional channels, such as job boards and third-party recruiters and search firms, as they deepen their engagement with social recruiting. Jobvite found that 36 percent of survey respondents say they plan to spend less money on job boards as the economy recovers. Slightly more (38 percent) will spend less on third-party recruiters and search firms as the recovery continues.

Follow Meridith Levinson on Twitter at @meridith.

Read more about careers in CIO's Careers Drilldown.

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