Job Wars: Networks Versus Boards

    April 27, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The future of finding employment via the Internet will make ‘who you know’ very important, but getting a start will be a function of ‘what you know’ and what positions you can find to get in the door.

"The gold standard in the recruiting industry," LinkedIn corporate communications director Kay Luo told me, "is the quality passive job candidate."

We were talking by phone about stuff like her job network firm, job boards like the Monsters and CareerBuilders out there, and what eMarketer had to say about LinkedIn’s job growth. It took some doing to get the call going, with Kay biking to her Silicon Valley office and in need of caffeine, me fighting the invasion of the Kentucky spring cold that left me with a passable imitation of Jeff Bridges’ voice.

Fortunately for you, we are true professionals, or at least play them online.

The passive job candidate represents what employers want: someone who knows their work and is good enough at it to have secured a position doing it with a company. Look around the office for the person everyone goes to for answers because he or she knows their stuff.

That’s the ideal job candidate, the person who doesn’t even know he wants another job and isn’t actively looking for one. If he isn’t job searching on a dedicated board, he’s invisible to Monster or CareerBuilder.

What’s worse, Kay said, is he may have been a job seeker using those boards at one time, leaving his résumé on the board while job hunting. Once he’s got that job, the résumé probably goes stagnant from not being updated.

On LinkedIn, a job profile is a "career permalink," one that stays with the person instead of the person needing to go back and find it. There’s an efficiency present with networking that the find/apply/hope someone will notice model of job boards can’t match.

Corporate America has taken notice of social networking. When their human resources people aren’t busily digging up pictures of prospective job candidates from their college sophomore years on MySpace or Facebook, they are looking for passive candidates.

Jeffrey Grau at eMarketer said in a report: "The proliferation of social networking sites, blogs and online discussion groups organized around niche topics enables employers to find job candidates with specialized knowledge and skills."

That seems to lead in to LinkedIn’s growth to ten million members. Job boards have their place, but the forward thinking collegian is going to network enough to let employers do the work of finding him even as he looks for that first opportunity in the working world.