The relevance of job posting and business networking sites

This article over at TechCrunch got me thinking:

When was the last time I actually applied for a job that I initially saw on a job posting? Even in the case of the jobs that I’ve applied for that happened to be posted on a job board or classified ad, I didn’t hear about them through the job board, but through network connections.

In the time I’ve spent looking at jobs on the big job sites, the job postings are usually written with such a specific list of skills that only one person really matches the job description:  the person who had been doing the job prior to the posting going up.  I would imagine that such specificity leads to two things:

  • Qualified applicants being discouraged from applying
  • Unqualified applicants applying because they take the excessive list of skills as an indicator that the potential employer really has no clue what they want.

I remember all the hype surrounding the big Internet job boards.  It seems that the same hype was repeated with the professional networking sites [LinkedIn], none of which provide enough value to use until you’re looking for a job.

Instead, I’ve found the following combination or resources works best for me:

  • I maintain contact with former classmates and co-workers through Facebook, not LinkedIn.  I’ve found that people are more likely to keep their contact information up-to-date through Facebook because there are other reasons to log-in to the service other than the simple “networking/contacts maintenance” aspect.  Now, if LinkedIn converted logins to Facebook Connect, it might become marginally more useful.
  • I maintain a public presence/persona through Twitter, building a support community by responding to friends who have questions or concerns.
  • I meet people in real life, whether through running marathons or local networking events.  This is especially important for the internet-only friends.  Old co-workers and classmates have at least a minimal impression of me in real life.  Online friends don’t, unless I at least have meet them for a drink or before a marathon start.

In the end, all the technology does is accelerate the success or failure of your strategy.  Being a stranger or a bad fit in the virtual space is an easier rejection than being a strange or a bad fit in real life–after all, is a “virtual” friend even real?

2 responses to “The relevance of job posting and business networking sites”

  1. I can’t imagine applying for a job cold… Especially these days. But it seems that’s what people expect when they’re on the hunt.

    I have found out that it’s all about who knows you and will vouch for you in the organization, and basically the only way somebody will attach their name to yours is if you’ve worked together in some capacity.

  2. Agreed. Moreover, I find it amazing how useless the concept of formal “references” seems to be these days.

    To the point of “who you know”: I have only seen a couple of examples where the interview process selected a candidate, one in which the lead candidate was trumped by the interview of another candidate.

    Furthermore, in many cases, the lack of connectedness goes both ways: Often the job itself fails to attract applicants with more than 50% relevance in their resume. I can recall at least two or three examples where a public job board posting didn’t generate applicants leads for a phone screen, and we ended up trying to applicant leads the old fashioned “networking” way.

    I think personal knowledge of a person overrides technical knowledge of a person. You can quickly get a feel for work ethic and ability to learn when you know somebody, where 5 million certifications and 200 references will easily generate a dud.

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