September 25, 2007   view past issues

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Feature: Are Social Networks A Threat?

Feature: Are Social Networks A Threat?

Are social networking sites a threat to job boards? You bet they are, but not as many people imagine.

According to traffic figures released by ComScore in August, social networking sites have already captured a huge segment of the Web’s daily online traffic. Last year, an astonishing total of seven such sites had at least 50% growth year over year and attracted at least 10 million visitors worldwide. They were:

  • Bebo
  • Facebook
  • Friendster
  • Hi5
  • MySpace
  • Orkut
  • Tagged.
  • Why are these sites a threat to the online employment services industry? Well, I can think of at least two reasons:

  • First, when someone is hanging out on a social networking site, they can’t be hanging out on a job board. In effect, they deny our sites traffic, and traffic, of course, is the fulcrum of our business model.
  • And second, as MySpace and Facebook are now doing, there’s nothing to prevent social networking sites from getting into the online employment services business. In other words, these sites are a challenge because they have the very real potential to do all or a part of what we do.
  • Despite those factors however, I don’t think we need to be intimidated by the social networking phenomenon. It is simply not the all encompassing wave of the future some in the media would have us believe. Let me explain what I mean.

    Site visitors are smarter than the media is giving them credit for. There was a recent study which found that fewer than one-out-of-four 18-24 year olds would put a resume on a social networking site. In other words, even the one generation that is most likely to use such sites-the Millennial cohort of the population-understands that there are limitations to what would be appropriate and useful on them. They view social networking as a way to get a date, not as the gateway to a new or better job. And the same is true for every other generation in the workforce.

    Job board visitors, and especially the best talent, want to do more than simply look at jobs. They want to network, but professional networking is very different from both social networking and contact management. Professional networking is all about building relationships with one’s workplace peers. You do it to advance your career, not to make friends. When you are engaged in professional networking, you share expertise and information in order to develop familiarity and trust with others who can be helpful to you in finding a new or better job. When you use contact management sites, you are simply adding name after name to an ever expanding list of people who wouldn’t know you if they sat next to you on a plane.

    So, where does that leave us?

    Social networking will likely continue to grow, but it is not the threat. Social networking sites are. If we leave a vacuum in our industry, you can bet we’ll see social networking sites rush in to fill the space. If, on the other hand, we provide our visitors with an easy and appropriate way to network with their professional peers while they are using the other features and functions on our sites, then I think we’ll have their allegiance and traffic for many years to come.

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep the WEDDLE’s Job Board Newsletter to yourself. If you like our publication, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    News You Can Use

    IAEWS Member Congress A Huge Success

    The International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS) held its Member Congress-West in San Francisco on September 17th. Almost 80 delegates, representing over 1,000 sites from Australia, Canada and across the U.S., came together to discuss key industry issues, learn from one another, build business contacts and simply get to know their peers.

    The half-day agenda was a full one and included:

    A Keynote Address by Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?. He spoke on “How Can Job Boards Better Serve Job Seekers?”

    A Member Round Robin, where Members shared ideas and insights with each other on four topics:

  • Is the OFCCP Final Rule still a problem, and if so, what are you doing to limit its impact?
  • What are the best methods of building brand among employers/recruiters and job seekers?
  • Web 2.0-what will it look like in our industry?
  • What is the single greatest challenge facing our industry and what are you doing about it?
  • Three Best Practice Sessions:

  • A seminar on “Building a Sales Force in Fast Growing Organizations”
  • A facilitated plenary discussion about “Protecting Customer Privacy & Security”
  • A panel discussion on “To Be or Not to Be in a Network”
  • A Member Reception then closed out the day.

    In short, it was a thought-provoking and educational event. It was also a good example of the value you get as a Member of the IAEWS. Membership is open to any of the following kinds of organizations that operate an employment site or sell products and services to those sites:

  • stand-alone enterprises,
  • professional associations and societies,
  • newspapers and other publications,
  • affinity or special interest groups, and
  • radio stations and other communications firms.
  • If your company or organization is not yet a Member, you’re missing out on some of the most important contacts and information you can have. To learn more about the Association, please visit its site or call the Executive Director, Peter Weddle. You can reach him at 203.964.1888 or

    WEDDLE’s Publications

    WEDDLE’s 2007/8 books are the leading print references in the job board industry. As HRWIRE put it, “When in doubt, consult WEDDLE’s … an industry standard.”

    Our 2007/8 books include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 select job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the occupational fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden talent market” online, it details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Postcards from Space: Being the Best in Online Recruitment & HR Management. A compilation of Peter Weddle’s columns for The Wall Street Journal, it provides a complete introduction to the Best Practices for sourcing, recruiting and retaining talent online.
  • Generalship: HR Leadership in a Time of War. The only primer on leadership that focuses on the unique challenges of the HR professional waging both a War for Relevancy in the modern corporation and a War for Talent in the 21st Century labor market.
  • To order your copies, visit our 2007 catalog and secure server here or call 317.916.9424 right away.

    Announcements & Other Important Stuff

    We at WEDDLE’s are pleased to offer the following resources for reaching potential customers among recruiters and HR professionals:

    Sponsorship advertising in WEDDLE’s Newsletter for Recruiters & HR Professionals. During the first and third week of every month, WEDDLE’s delivers one of the most popular publications in the online employment industry. It’s Peter Weddle’s online newsletter about Best Practices in talent acquisition and leadership. Over 35,000 recruiting and sourcing professionals and executives read Peter’s insights and ideas and pass them along to their colleagues. When they do, they also see and share information about a single company-the newsletter’s Sponsor. That organization is highlighted not once, but twice in the publication, providing exclusive and extraordinary visibility for its brand and product and service offerings. So, reserve your spots right away. Call WEDDLE’s at 203.964.1888.

    Training for staff and/or current and prospective customers. WEDDLE’s offers a range of training programs that you can provide internally to your sales and operations team and/or sponsor for public or private delivery to clients. The programs can be delivered at your location or in a toll-free audio format similar to WEDDLE’s twice yearly Training Series. You can select a single 75-minute program, pick two programs for a combined 2.5-hour seminar or three programs for a half-day workshop. All programs are delivered by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle. They include:

  • A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • Best Practices in Sourcing Passive Prospects Online
  • Blink Recruiting: Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • HR Leadership: the Antidote to Management-by-the-Numbers
  • Optimizing the Candidate Experience: The Secret to Recruiting Top Talent
  • Staffing Metrics That Count in the Corner Office
  • The Sum & Substance of a Great Employment Brand
  • Transforming Your Resume Database into a Candidate Gold Mine
  • For more information and to schedule a private WEDDLE’s training program for your customers, please call us at 203.964.1888.