Shruti Marathe, an MBA from Symbiosis College, created her business networking profile on LinkedIn two months after she completed her course. “I wrote about my college projects in details and even had work recommendations posted by seniors, who guided me during my internship,” she recalls. Within a few days, Marathe got a call from a company, National Instruments, to come for an interview. “Soon, I had two offer letters in my hand,” recalls Marathe, now working as a sales executive with the Star group.
Social media and career networking portals have become imperative for first-time jobseekers. Whether it’s through blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, people are seeking potential employers through alternative online sources. Take, for example, professionals like Nikhita Arora, who works with Madison Media. She bagged her existing job via LinkedIn. “I maintained my profile on career networking sites like ApnaCircle and LinkedIn. During college, we were repeatedly told how recruiters use social media to hire freshers,” she says. Arora, who had moved to New Delhi for another job, was interviewed by her existing company CEO after he reviewed her LinkedIn profile; he offered a new job in Mumbai within 24 hours of talking to her. Now, she uses her LinkedIn profile to initiate business meetings with contacts she has made online.
The reason why India’s 80-million internet base is turning to social networks to find employment is in numbers. Sites like Facebook have a little over 15 million members from India and LinkedIn claims to have more than nine million professionals from India networking on its site. Twitter has 145 million registered users globally. It is only natural for prospective employers and recruiting agencies to scan these sites to gather detailed profiles while hiring college graduates. For the employees, web 2.0 tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the newest way to extend the social circle and tap into jobs that aren’t usually advertised.
Hari V Krishnan, country manager, LinkedIn India, says, “If talent was a currency, LinkedIn is the exchange where we connect talent with opportunity at massive scale.” He makes a point when he adds, “Most professionals who are offered jobs on LinkedIn are not looking for jobs, they are passive candidates.”
Samar Narayan, 26, a web designer and graphic illustrator, also found his first employer on Facebook last year. “I use Facebook not just for keeping tabs on friends, but also to showcase my work. My friends often comment on my work and that becomes my real-time recommendation for recruiters.”
Twitter and Facebook, while still serving as communication tools between friends, increasingly function as public noticeboards, where users can share job-related information through its pages, groups and applications, while search engines like TwitterJobSearch.com have turned the 140-characters-a-post site into a promising job hunting ground.
Hareesh Tibrewala, joint CEO of Social Wavelength, has hired at least three people through Twitter. He says, “We find Twitter very effective in hiring entry to mid-level professionals, while LinkedIn comes handy while hiring senior management people.” Tibrewala feels microblogging, social networking websites can be a powerful way for small companies and recruiters to expand their list of potential job candidates. He says, “Twitter is not the end-all, be-all, but it is an affordable and inexpensive way for a small business trying to make an impact to reach a larger audience, share their job offerings and build their brand.”