Community sites such as Facebook, Plaxo, Linkedin to name a few, have such large followings that most of the people you want to locate are either in it, or are related to someone in one of these sites. Even Presidents and Ministers have their own Facebook pages. It is both a tool to communicate and to network.
Different sites have different characteristics, and people join these for different reasons – I joined because in one of my previous companies, the staff (young and vibrant) invited me to Facebook. Soon after, I was linked to colleagues, alumni friends, candidates and clients.
How does one leverage this network, whether it’s a purely social or professional network, especially in such times?
For potential candidates, whether you are an active or passive jobseeker, it’s a good place to get connected and contacted – especially if there is sufficient information about your skills and job profile. You can get ‘hunted’ through this space, but at the same time, be careful about what you (or your friends) add to your profile. First impressions are formed very quickly – especially if there are contents not fitting your professional life. Your friends who are linked you can become your virtual (or real) character references. This could be unintentional, when they make comments about you or tag you in one of the photos. Or it cold even be the way you comment on one of your friends. Your private life has never been so open whether you want it to be or not once you get into a community site. Food for thought – how much should employers (and headhunters) allow your private life impact their decision, though it may have not bearing to your work performance?
For employers, many participants are open to career opportunities if approached – but it’s a mammoth task sifting through all the names if you (say a HR recruiter) has an extremely large network. Conversely, if your network is small, then the candidate pool would be very limited – you are better off using a traditional recruitment strategy. Perhaps, one of the better values could be to use the network to validate the references. Food for thought – what would you do if you find one of your existing employees (or even bosses) has put his profile on the job market through the site?
Some years back, I had the ill fortunate of a Straits Times article citing a property con case where the one of the company directors has exactly the same name as mine. I had embark on a PR journey I posted on Facebook to inform my network that it is not me. One friend made the effort to validate and responded that he checked the telephone directory and found 9 persons with the same spelling. My experience may not be the same as yours – but one thing is certain, with the networks and connections – it’s up to you to best leverage it whether be it for social or professional purposes.
The world is watching your face in Facebook.