Networking is an Effective Recruiting Tool, Social Networking Not There Yet

By Roberto Angulo (CEO) on April 30, 2009

Our recent survey of 670 college students and alumni provides valuable insight to help employers develop effective recruiting strategies.

Traditional networking

We asked respondents to select the most effective methods for finding a job. Below are the options selected, ranked by popularity. Searching job boards and applying to company web sites directly were the two most popular options selected.

Talking to people who work at an employer of interest, as well as talking to friends, family, and recruiters, were popular selections. These three options fall under networking.


Hard time finding work

We asked users if they were having difficulty finding work and unfortunately, the majority of them are having a a hard time. Only 4% of them had an easy time finding work.


Those who had it easy

We then focused on those who had an easy time finding work, and looked at their responses to the first question above on effective search methods. We saw some differences between the overall group of respondents and this select group in terms of what they found to be effective in their job search. You can see the differences below.

[more detailed data available in our full report]

Applying directly on a company’s site and using job boards remained popular choices. However, talking to current company employees took the top spot (networking). Talking to friends and family, another form of networking, ranked high as well. Talking to professors and teachers was also a top choice, and the biggest differentiator between the overall group and those who found it easy to find work.

Those having a hard time finding work should consider talking more to professors. At the same time, employers wanting to get a leg up on improving their recruiting should consider working more with faculty, either directly, through AfterCollege (this is our model), or both.

How does social networking fit in?

We asked users to rate their usage of some of the more popular social networks. Over 80% of our users are on social networks, with Facebook taking the lead. However, only 11% of users found these sites to be effective in their job search. And out of those who found it easy to find a job, only 4% of them found social networks to be effective.

[more detailed data on social networking available in our full report]

In Conclusion

Some recommendations to help you in your college recruiting and branding efforts:

Diversify your strategy. Students and alumni use various methods to search for jobs and different people find different channels effective. If your resources and budget are limited, prioritize your tactics based on what users find effective. Job sites are effective (make sure you choose the ones that target your desired audience), so is networking and so is making sure you have a good employment section on your web site for employers.

Leverage your employees and faculty. Since talking to current employees is a good way of finding work, make sure you give your employees incentive to talk to friends and family about job opportunities at your company. Many employers use employee referral programs (ERPs) as a way to do this.

Faculty at colleges and universities are also a good source for finding students and recent graduates. Make sure you develop relationships with professors at departments that graduate the type of entry-level candidates you are looking for (if you use AfterCollege to help in your efforts at your target schools and to help at schools that you are unable to visit, even better).

Use social networks, but not solely. Social networks are mainstream and will continue to grow in popularity. Use them. They offer a free way to share information with the masses and it’s fun to update your company’s profile and statistics on these sites. Be careful not to rely only on social networks though. While popular with users, job seekers did not consider them an effective channel for finding a job. Social networks are good for branding, but at the same time, they are a network to reach broad audiences. If this is your goal, great. But if your mission is to target specific types of candidates, make sure you follow up your use of social networks with media that will drive the desired audiences to your site or to your social network page.

Get the full report

The report is also available to current AfterCollege clients and partners free of charge. Please get in touch with your AfterCollege contact person to obtain a copy.

Found in Channel Partners, Employers