Head-hunters stalk social networking sites

Head-hunters stalk social networking sites

But hirers warned that technology cannot replace human contact

Andrew Charlesworth, vnunet.com 13 Jul 2007

Social networking sites such as
are proving a boon for job hunters and recruiters alike, but hirers are being
warned not to rely on technology to the detriment of human experience. 

The rise in popularity of social networking sites was highlighted this week
with the announcement that MySpace had reached a milestone of
10 million users in
the UK

This surge in uptake has made social networking sites a natural hunting
ground for recruitment agencies, as the personal profiles provide ready-made

Social sites like
Bebo and MySpace
primarily help people to keep in contact with friends and family, leaving
business contacts to the likes of LinkedIn. 

But the social sites have recently been adopted by head-hunters widening
their nets in the search for talent.

"More formal business sites like LinkedIn have become useful platforms for
job seeking and are a useful tool for recruiters to find new candidates," said
Satnam Brar, managing director of ERP recruitment house

"Softer options such as MySpace are largely social and mostly used to keep in
touch with friends, but it seems that they are being used more and more for
recruitment as well."

Recruitment site
launched Refer-o-Matic earlier this week, an add-on for Facebook that allows
subscribers to view jobs and make referrals with the opportunity to be rewarded
with up to £2,200. 

Refer-o-Matic uses subscribers’ personal profiles to display positions in
their geographical location.

"By embedding our job vacancies on [Facebook] we ensure that our users have
more opportunities to refer jobs to friends and make money if their friends take
the job," said Nick Goldstein, general manager of Jobtonic.

& Young
has a Facebook group with over 8,000 members to attract
potential candidates, and
has even opened an ‘office’ in

Brar maintained that social sites will play an increasing role in job hunting
in the future, but warned recruiters to be careful in choosing the right
platform to address their target audience.

"Facebook and its ilk tend to be more popular with younger workers,
particularly recent graduates, whereas more experienced professionals tend to
favour sites such LinkedIn and
he said. 

However, increasing reliance on technology by HR departments is having a
detrimental effect on the hiring process, according to Steve Carter, managing
director of finance head-hunter

A recent report by consultancy
KPMG suggested
that large employers are reducing the need for recruitment agencies by hiring
staff through their own websites. 

But an over-reliance on this method means that they are actually losing out
on attracting the best talent, according to Carter.

"One of the major problems is the way applications are filtered through
automated checking procedures," he said.

"You may have the ideal candidate with exactly the right experience for a
senior position. But if there’s no human being involved in that first CV filter
then the company is going to lose out."

Carter cited the example of a senior tax specialist who was rejected by a
major company for failing to include the phrase ‘indirect taxation’ on their CV.
The candidate was snapped up by a competitor within hours.

"We are living through what is probably the biggest war for talent we can
remember," said Carter. "Why make what should be a simple process more

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