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VOL. 126 | NO. 155 | Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Status Update: Now Hiring

By Sarah Baker

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More and more companies are tapping into social networking sites during the recruitment process, giving job board sites a run for their money.

While sites like CareerBuilder and Monster cost money for employers to search through resumes, social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are free. And with the number of users growing by the minute, recruiters like Cheryl Citrone and Dianne Tabulog with Vaco Memphis are capitalizing on the high volume of traffic and mutual connections.

“Many of the positions that we’re filling actually use passive candidates, which is job skills for people who are currently happy in their present job,” said Tabulog, senior information technology recruiter for Vaco, a Nashville-based consulting firm. “A lot of the times, we’re not going to find those people through active job seekers.”

The old way was to attend networking luncheons and job fairs. Now, the firm uses social media because it falls back on the old premise that birds of a feather flock together, Tabulog said.

“I just found a candidate the other day through one of my favorite managers who recommended her,” she said. “So I backed into the person and contacted her and she’s a top contender for a job I’m working on right now.”

And the due diligence doesn’t stop there. Recently, Tabulog received a sloppy email that included an impressive resume attachment. Not knowing if the candidate lacked the necessary grammar skills or perhaps was in a hurry and didn’t use spell check, she tapped into a deep searching tool called www.pipl.com that allows the user to uncover all of the person’s social media presences, including blogs.

“I wanted to get an idea of what this person’s professional writing style was and try and determine was this a fluke or not,” Tabulog said. “Sure enough, I found LinkedIn page and she had her own page and was like, OK, no, she’s not an idiot, she was just very quickly sending me emails.’”

Citrone prefers to use the 100-million-user-and-growing LinkedIn for uncovering reference searches and professional affiliations.

“If you know three people that are also in my network, I’m probably going to call those three people that know you and ask about you confidentially before I reach out to you to see if that’s the kind of person that I would want to work with,” said Citrone, Vaco Memphis’ logistics executive recruiter. “I also look for recommendations – if people have lots of recommendations on LinkedIn, that’s typically a good indicator that they’re a quality candidate and people don’t mind recommending them, which holds a ton of weight with me.”

Both Tabulog and Citrone have had better returns on LinkedIn over Facebook, mostly because of its professional angle. Hashtags on Twitter are also key, Tabulog said.

“Say I’m looking for a ColdFusion developer but I’m having a tough time finding it, Twitter is definitely one place I go,” she said. “I search for #coldfusion, see what comes up, who’s talking about it and then I’m tweeting them directly about a position I have available, for them to call or email me.”

Twitter is how YoLo Frozen Yogurt owner Taylor Berger found his latest assistant manager in Jackson, Tenn. For a company that has opened 10 stores in less than a year, social media is a huge marketing tool.

“It’s kind of a funny story,” Berger said. “It was right before we opened our Jackson shop and she tweeted, ‘Sweet Cici’s just opened and is giving away yogurt, but I’m not going because I’m loyal to @YoLoFroYo,’ and tagged us. I hadn’t posted anything saying this, but that was about two weeks before we opened, so I was looking for employees. I immediately sent her a direct message on Twitter and she messaged me back and said that she’d definitely be interested in talking with me. So we met up a couple days later in Memphis and I really liked her and hired her and she’s turned out to be really one of our best employees there.”

YoLo also recently posted on Facebook that it was looking for new employees for its new Jonesboro, Ark., location. So far, the feedback from those posts has been phenomenal, Berger said.

“Memphis people contacting their friends or tagging their friends who lived in Jonesboro saying, ‘Hey, YoLo’s hiring,’ starts getting that grassroots kind of knowledge out there that we’re hiring and then people come in,” he said.

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