Do Social networking sites help business?
This is an interesting question. I don't think social networking is being adequately addressed by businesses although it is more closely aligned to the way humans interact than traditional business methods or software. Just look at the massive growth of all social networking sites - there is a lesson to be learned there that is currently either not being addressed or considered an
In regards to recruiting/job hunting/etc., there is definately a place for social networking although there needs to be some sort of control or controlling structure in place to streamline the process and/or ensure its success. If I compare the traditional recruiting process (a company contracts with a recruiter who then works with the company to access the role's requirements,
etc., and then conducts a search) versus what I have seen as the process for social networking sites (company assesses need for a role internally, approaches several professionals online, makes an immediate decision - or NOT many times) I see many weak areas in the typical approach via social networking sites, such as: the company does not have the means to correctly
assess the role, the company doesn't have a firm outlook on the "pulse" of the job market, the company cannot translate business needs to recruiting requirements correctly, or the company is not really serious about filling the role.
Unfortunately, the end result could be that a professional contacted within a social network for a role could just be wasting time by communicating directly with a hiring company who has bypassed the traditional recruiting process. If I were to ask why a hiring company that is looking for a key position would decide not to include a recruiter, I can only assume one of two things - 1.
They are not really serious about the hire (and are merely "kicking tires" and seeing what is out there), or 2. They actually don't have the budget to use a recruiting agency (and therefore clearly don't have the budgetary commitment for the role in question to ensure its success). Either one is bad news for the new hire!
I am not going to address why a company would chose to fill a key role based on lowest cost versus best fit for a role. Maybe that should be addressed in a different post.
While I have heard many horror stories which follow the example above, I am not saying that social networking is not a good avenue for recruiting, but instead needs to have some form of control to ensure the following:
1. Companies posting roles on social networks are ACTUALLY hiring these roles within a designated time frame.
2. Companies posting roles on social networks understand the current job market, including current salary ranges, packages, etc.
3. Companies posting roles on social networks have the budget to ensure the role is successful.
I believe all of these are initial hurdles tackled between a hiring company and the recruiter that contract to perform the search.
Similar checks & balances also need to be incorporated in professional social networks. I believe recruiters working through social networks are a good initial move in this direction, but would like to see the professional social networks extend tools for both hiring companies and professionals who use them.
In regards to the software market, I see similar (if not greater) issues in regards to the lack of social networking integrated into them. Using CRM software as an example, most CRM companies either don't address social networking at all (even though their
customer base is asking for it), or have nominally addressed it in the form of an applet or two within the software (which have no real value for the user). Given the well publicized weaknesses of CRM to enhance the end user's experience and/or productivity
(CRM does well in providing data for management, but is less useful for end users), I am surprised they have not completely reworked the way users interact with their systems. If I use opportunity tracking in an SFA system as an example, social networking strategies follow human interaction much more closely than traditional systems that impose artificial systems of rules
on the user (either carrot or stick approaches are common). Why not mimic natural human interactions? This would allow users to intuitively use the system without training and/or the feeling they are spending more time to track data? I use sales as my example because salesmen are infamous for not tracking information effectively and/or sharing it with their team. Could it be the method of tracking is not correct?
If you are still not convinced, remember that millions of teenagers, who have been raised on social networking sites, will be entering the job market in the next 2 - 5 years. This will only exacerbate the issue!
What can your Social Networking Site Network do for you?
1. Get introduced to the people you need
When you need to reach a professional, Social Networking Site will tell you who can introduce you to the person you need.
2. Find professionals your friends can vouch for
Don’t just search the web for people. Search the people your friends know and can recommend.
3. Keep up with friends and colleagues
Social Networking Site makes it easy to hear news about their careers, projects and professional lives.
4. Don’t miss professional opportunities
With Social Networking Site, you hear about opportunities in your network, even if your friends don’t tell you about them.
5. Build your relationships
When a connection asks you to make an introduction, you build that relationship.