“The hiring process no longer begins with that first handshake, it starts with the Google search that takes place before the interview.” Dan Schawbel, a managing partner of Millennial Branding, couldn’t have said it better when being interviewed for Coca Cola article on How Social Media is Changing the Way People Search for Jobs. Jay Moye, the author of the article, goes into detail on how social media has changed the way we search for jobs and how job employers search for us. The times of making endless phone calls to set up interviews is over. A simple search on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin allows both parties to explore endless job opportunities and future employees. In the article, Moye speaks about companies such as Coca Cola and how they have cut the costs of their employee search-firm from $15 million to $7 million because of social media. This $8 million dollar difference can then be spent in bettering other aspects of the company. He also goes in depth on Intel’s journey using social media. Starting in 2008, they learned that “few people knew what it was like to work [there]” so in response, the company created a blog and mobile app allowing future candidates to see the in’s and out’s of Intel. These are just two of the many instances spoken about in how social media has changed the way in which we can obtain and sift through jobs via social media.
Although not coined by Nancy Baym, we learn about the power of reach in her book Personal Connections in the Digital Age. With social media, companies can now put out a simple post that is then distributed to the masses. Moye gives the example Salesforce.com and how their CEO Marc Benioff got everyone in his staff to post on Linkedin about a job. Within a day, there were 350 status updates throughout the office. Each individual reached out to their own network, which resulted in the post becoming visible to 159,000 people at 40,000 companies. Without the reach of these media platform, connections and news updates would cease to exist and these job opportunities would be much harder to come across.
Constant beta, co-constructed and the public display of connections
In Nicole Ellison and Danah Boyd’s, Sociality through Social Network Sites, they provide us with several terms to help us further explore our self-presentation when looking for jobs. For one, we need to understand that these networks are in constant beta, and when one country may be asleep, another is trolling the web. Moye tells us about how in the past two years, Intel has hired from countries all over the world. From places such as Israel and India, people are constantly searching the web for jobs while others are sleeping. Secondly, your profiles are co-constructed. Ellison and Boyd defines this as “multiple channels through which individuals can contribute to and shape the profiles of their Friends.” (3). This is a double-edged sword. Your future employers are able to obtain all the information they need on you, but sometimes this information can be too much. Although Linkedin is seen as the “professional Facebook”, with this they can usually track you down on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see who you really are. Lastly, they tell us about what they call the public display of connections which can be seen as “the collection of social relations of varying strengths and importance that a person maintains.” (4) In Moye article he speaks again to Schawbel who states “The more connected you are – and the more effort you put into staying in touch and building relationships – the more valuable you are” He then goes on to talk about Linkedin connection and how someone with 500 connections will more likely raise eyebrows than someone with 100 connections. The connections that you have not only represent who you are to an employee but also show a future employer what you can bring to the table.
Strong, Weak and Latent Ties
In Caroline Haythornthwaite’s Social Networks and Internet Connectivity Effects , we learn about media multiplexity and through this, the strong, weak and latent ties we have with the people around us. Strong ties, defined as “our close friends and coworkers” (127), are not predominantly used in finding a job. This is because we normally already know the people in our close circle and what they have to offer. When searching for a job through social media, latent ties, defined as “technically possible [connections] but not yet activated socially” (137), and weak ties, defined as “people we know a bit but not as close friends – travel in different social circles from us, and thus are more likely to have different experiences from us and access to different information, resources, and contacts” (127), come into play when creating these connections. We get more resource on social media than we realize through our weak ties. They can bring us valid information from people we do not connect with on a daily basis. In Moye’s article, he refers to a survey done by Jobvite in which they interviewed around 1,000 people in a human resource position at a given company. The results showed that 92% use or will use social media to recruit people for their company. It also showed that 93% of them used Linkedin to find an employee, 66% used Facebook and 54% used Twitter. This goes to show that through any sort of ties, someone has the ability to track you down via social media.
In all, Moye presents his arguments in an intriguing and fact supporting way. All of the points he makes match up with the different ways in which we have learned about social ties and self-presentation. I actually found my current job through a friend’s friend and I am constantly finding people to work for my through social media. What should be interesting is to see where job hunting and social media will be in the next decade and how it will develop from here.