Last Monday I stated that the future of job hunting is people searching and I received a great reaction to it with over a hundred retweets and twenty-three comments.  The main idea with this concept is that the web has broken hierarchies and connected everyone in disperse networks, so that you can reach employees at companies you want to work for directly, without applying through job boards.  Job boards are becoming ineffective and will be obsolete in the future, while networking becomes the only way to secure a job.  Right now approximately 80% of people get a job through networking and that will be 100% in five years, I predict.

New evidence presented

A recent Jobvite survey (5/20/09) presented some very interesting data that examines the present state and future of recruitment.  Here are the major bullet points worth noting:

  • 76% plan to invest more in employee referrals (68% in 2008)
  • 72% plan to invest more in recruiting through social networks
  • 75%+ plan to invest less in more costly sources (job boards, third-party recruitment and campus recruitment)
  • 80% of companies use or are planning to use social networking to find and attract candidates this year
  • 77% of respondents said they use social networks to reach passive candidates
  • 66% of respondents hired a candidate through social networks and they were quality
  • 15% of respondents tapped employees social networks for hiring
  • HR people use social networks to research candidates
    • 76% use LinkedIn
    • 67% use search engines (Google)
    • 44% use Facebook
    • 21% use Twitter
  • 24% of candidates disclose their social networking presence when applying for a job

Analysis of results


By reviewing this survey, it’s obvious what’s going on in the recruiting world. During this recession, companies can’t afford to pay job boards thousands of dollars to list positions, especially because many companies aren’t even hiring and it’s easy and cheap to assess top talent through social networks.  Few companies understand that their best recruiters are their employees that have professional networks already accounted for and visible on social networks like LinkedIn  (only 15% tap employees social networks for hiring).

Companies understand the need for social technologies in their business, so they realize that you want to recruit individuals that already have these new skills.  The majority of companies have successfully hired candidates using social networks!  One issue I find with this survey is that job seekers aren’t showcasing their social profiles or blogs when applying for jobs, yet recruiters are using search engines and these networks to recruit.  Job seekers should make sure their presence is positive and clean and then promote the URL’s on their materials (i.e. resume).

What this all means for your brand


I want to restate that your network is your only insurance policy. As the use of job boards declines, the need for strong professional networks increases.  At some point, maybe five years or so down the road, you won’t be able to get a job without knowing an employee that can refer you for a position at a target company.

There are three main areas where you should focus your attention on right now:

1)  Protect your brand: As the survey mentions, most hiring managers are researching social networks and using search engines to conduct background checks.  I’ve covered this before, so it’s not revolutionary, but it’s important to reinforce how important this is.  Aside from using a website such as to claim your brand name on social networks, you must ensure that you’re painting a positive portrait of yourself on your profiles.  You want to feel proud of those profiles, with the intent that they may help you get a job.

2)  Promote your brand: If you aren’t visible, you don’t exist.  From the research above, it’s apparent that hiring managers are conducting background checks using search engines and social networks and if your name doesn’t show up, you will lose an opportunity every single time.  Competitive, you or your business cannot afford that!  Also, it really upsets me that most applicants aren’t promoting their websites to their employers.  It differentiates you!  This is a major opportunity to stand out since only around 1 in 4 applicants are doing it.

3)  Partner your brand: To survive and live a successful life, you MUST have a strong network.  To me, this is a call to arms.   I’m not telling you to force relationships, but I am telling you to work as hard as you can to network with other people and build relationships.  Otherwise, if you don’t, then it will take you longer to get a job, it will be harder to interview for positions and your brand won’t have the support system it needs to rise to the top.  Partner with people that are at companies you want to work for or have skills that can help you start a business.  Meet as many people as you can and treat life like a giant networking event!

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