Referrals Still King
It is estimated that half of all jobs are obtained through referrals. Whether it‘s networking at a professional event, extending relationships with contacts you made online or even asking an old college roommate to refer you to their boss — finding a job has always contained a social element. And in today’s information age, social real-time interaction is becoming the norm. People spend 22 percent of all online time interacting through blogs and social networks. Services like Facebook (+500 million users) and Twitter (+145 million users) dominate the web space, and LinkedIn boasts over 75 million professionals worldwide.
Job Search, Still a Disjointed Process
Despite the overwhelming presence of online social networking, the social aspect of job search remains a primarily offline process. Those who do leverage their connections for a job must engage in a disjointed process: asking around for contacts, calling friends of friends, scheduling in-person meetings, cold-calling hiring managers … even emails must be composed manually. I’m confident that this reactive process will improve with new web tools that will intelligently connect job seekers with employers.
Social job search will look to bring our professional and social connections into the same plane as job listings, this is already happening on LinkedIn. When a relevant opportunity is discovered, a job seeker is able to see if any of their connections work at that company, or can otherwise offer help in obtaining the desired job.
The Shift is Happening
The offline social aspect of job search will continue to converge with online social networking. This fundamental shift will be most widely adopted by the “Generation Y” audience. This future generation of job seekers will expect a process that is transparent, social, personal, mobile and efficient. To best prepare for these new job seekers, it is critical that employers understand the directions in which job search is evolving. The digital synthesis of personal profiles, social and professional networks, and online recruiting tools for employers will allow jobseekers to proactively stage their presence online and better position themselves as qualified candidates.