In the past few weeks, the famous 1995 Newsweek article by Clifford Stoll entitled, “The Internet? Bah!”
has again made an electronic loop around the Internet. In this popular article, Stoll discussed all the reasons why the Internet would FAIL to reach its overhyped potential. Many of the key examples used in the article have not only proven to be feasible online, but are thriving examples of the utility of the Internet including: e-commerce, telecommuting, and getting books & newspapers online. It is very easy to look back on this article and be dismissive of the author’s viewpoints. However, I have a great deal of respect for Stoll taking a look at what he considered the essential elements of success for the Internet. Based on the progression from invention of the web to the present (1995), Stoll determined that the essential obstacles would never be overcome. As such, he logically concluded that the Internet would FAIL.
In the early phases of the Internet, the infrastructure was being established….remember dial-up. During this time, entrepreneurs found many ways to leverage this new connectivity to improve our lives. In the employment industry, Jeff Taylor (Monster.com), Rob McGovern (CareerBuilder.com), and Dimitri Boylan (Hotjobs.com) recognized an opportunity to move job classifieds online. Since that time, little has changed about the way companies and candidates recruit online.
The next phase of web maturity is being called the Social Web
. Companies like YouTube, Digg, Facebook, and Twitter are giving us the first glimpses into the social interaction inherent in this evolution of the web. Once again entrepreneurs are recognizing opportunities to leverage this new social dynamic. One of the most discussed new opportunities is the application of social media tools and functionality to recruiting, appropriately called Social Recruiting.
Yet, there are many who believe that Social Recruiting is destined to FAIL. Among the concerns are: unproven utility, too much work, less intimacy, culture shock, generational divide, privacy issues, legal liability, and loss of message control. At this time, no one has figured out a solution to satisfy all parties involved. However, to assume that solutions won’t be found to these admittedly challenging issues is naive. In fact, I would argue that the global Internet community is also desperately seeking solutions to these complex issues. Despite these challenges, I think that the benefits of Social Recruiting for both companies and candidates are too great to ignore.
For experienced professionals, LinkedIn has shown that candidates and companies can learn a great deal about each other through the use of data-rich online profiles. Instead of waiting for an employment opening, candidates and companies can proactively pursue each other based on their online research. Facebook and Twitter have shown that users value connecting with a network of friends, colleagues, and industry professionals. Sharing links, viewing photos, and chatting instantly, the natural desire for humans to socially interact is being realized online. Google Analytics has helped us to understand the value of measuring what matters, and optimizing to improve our results. From targeted job invitations based on mutual company/candidate interest to company recommendations from trusted peers on social networks to measuring engagement and the return on investment using analytics, the current level of technology development suggests that the future of Social Recruiting is bright. Still think Social Recruiting is destined to FAIL….why?
About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community that connects college students and corporations.