Social Networking meets Recruitment and Staffing

Social Networking is the Internet's latest darling. And throughout the last year it has been moving quickly into the professional arena of recruiting and staffing. The loudest of these
entrants is LinkedIn and Jobster. Jobster was first and loudest but LinkedIn and others are making noise and you can bet there will be many more coming soon, including existing recruitment software and services powerhouses adding this functionality to their offerings.

In many ways what is currently happening with "social networking" and variations of this business model (like Jobster, etc.) reminds me a little of the dot-com days. Lots of hope and excitement, new and inspiring technology/ideas, yet no clear consensus the model will work
from a business standpoint - in other words, can the model generate a steady stream of profitable revenue from the business community beyond just advertising dollars?

Another similarity to the dot-com days is "hype." When big money gets involved, hype soon follows because it's in the interest of the financial backers, Wall Street, analysts, the management teams, media, etc., to talk-up the companies. And big money is definitely involved. Here are a few examples:

- LinkedIn: Raised $4.7 Million of Serial A money from Sequoia Capital, $10 Million in Series B Funding Led by Greylock and has also raised money from over 13 Angel investors including Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel (Co-Founder of PayPal).

- Jobster: Just this week announced they raised another $18 million in Series C financing for a total of nearly $50 million in less than three years.

While social networking is one of the current mainstream media buzzwords, in the recruitment and staffing space it's all about helping employers to find and better match candidates to open job positions - and build a talent pool. Whether social networking is the answer is yet to be seen. For example, in a recent article titled "Getting inside scoop on a future boss" tells how some companies Like MITRE Corp "will wait to see how the employee posts are regulated" before they use these services or encouraging employee participation.

Other companies like eBullpen's TalentPen service believe personality is the key in helping companies build a talent pool and fill open positions. Personality matching is quite fascinating because it has the potential of being the "Intel Inside" to social networking sites, ATS, and company's own career sites. In other words, even if socia networking can bring a better pool of talent to companies, there is no guarantee these candidates will be a good fit and personality matching seems to have some potential here.

There will not be one "winner" in the job matching field. One thing we know for certain is this field is rapidly evolving and it will be fun to watch how the concept and technology matures. In addition to the companies already mentioned, here are some other companies helping professionals network:

- ContactSpan
- Monster Networking
- RealContacts
- Ryze Business Networking
- Spoke
- Visible Path
- KnowMentum
- Tribe.Net
- Select Minds

Stay tuned. Social Networking is hot...for now.