Unemployment’s Online Presence: How is
Social Media Being Leveraged for Professional
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Published February 2010. © 2010 Interpret, LLC
Unemployment's Online Presence: How is Social Media Being Leveraged for
Catalyst: Many jobseekers use online resources for their job hunt, but how are social networks
impacting their search?
• How can social media be leveraged to help companies identify top-level candidates?
• What should employers look for when evaluating a candidate's online presence?
• How is the role of social networking sites evolving in today’s media ecosystem?
Social media is now a mainstream activity, with 64 percent of Americans actively using the medium
(New Media Measure™-Wave 3). As unemployment numbers remain at a high 9.7 percent (U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics), social networking sites are having a powerful impact on the job and candidate search
landscape. Employers are making a more conscious effort to utilize this burgeoning platform for
professional purposes, acting as an evaluation instrument in a company’s arsenal of candidate selection
tools, and indirectly blurring the line between professional and social boundaries. As this line between
spheres continues to fade, many employers remain unaware that the opportunity for landing their ideal
candidate may hinge on how they navigate these sites.
A Brief History of Classified Ads
Social networking sites can be defined as websites where members are able to build public (or “privately
public”) profiles that enable users to communicate with other users within the designated website, or
community forum. In social networking, usage is centered on developing both personal and professional
relationships. In previous decades, newspaper ads were the primary media for job postings and
employment search information. With the advent of the Internet, online job boards began to materialize
and cannibalize the high-profitable classifieds section. In the mid-90’s, websites like Monster.com and
Careerbuilder.com started the trend of grabbing ad dollars from print career classifieds. This shift from
print ads is continuing with the explosion of social networking sites in recent years (fig. 1). With the birth
of these different recruiting channels comes the need for companies to understand how they can apply
the changing arena to their recruiting strategy.
How Can Companies Recruit Top Candidates?
Social networking sites provide employers with a greater opportunity to connect with potential recruits
than ever before. In fact, while 64 percent of the population is actively involved with a social network,
only 9 percent say they have used social networks when looking for job opportunities, according to New
Media Measure™. However, that does not mean that recruiters cannot use these sites to their benefit.
While many job seekers may not be actively using social networks to look for new opportunities,
employers with new job opportunities should be using social networks to look for them.