Recruiters and HR staff will tap into the new networking sites for recruiting purposes as well as for keeping a good peer relation.

The technology, called web 2.0 has been at hand for internauts ever since 2003 and it marks the most recent stage in the development of internet, through which the user can access the social networking sites, can build a profile by adding personal (Facebook) or professional (LinkedIn) information and can interact with other users. Accessing and profile making is free of charge.

Ioana, an employee in Romanian communication industry found a job after activating her account on LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site. “In 2007, I edited my personal profile by adding the information on my CV and recommendations received from previous jobs. Afterwards, when I started to look for a job, I have sent a message to all my connections”, she said. However, she didn’t receive a prompt reply. After exchanging messages on LinkedIn, an employer called her for an interview. “I received the invitation online and then we had a meeting in person”, she remembers.

By recruiting on social networking sites, specialists say, companies chop their recruitment costs by minimizing operating expenses and time allocated to interviewing the applicant. Through web 2.0 applications, the company can provide emotional support in the event of layoffs or the introduction of a new member on the team. “If he is a Facebook user, a newcomer can already know 20 employees and it will be much easier for him to fit in”, Jon Ingham, executive consultant for Human Capital Management Consultant said at HR Web 2.0 conference.

“Some organizations use Second Life platform (a simulation of the real world which enables users to create their own virtual life, by participating in individual and group activities) for training sessions with the staff. The virtual three-dimensional tool is a cost-effective solution for training”, said Ingham.

In case of the social networking site Facebook, employees can edit their personal profiles, add friends, and interact with other users. HR experts see this tool as a reliable substitution to team building as it allows employees to develop closer relationships with one another. Furthermore, if an applicant wishes to get in contact with an employee of a company, he can only send a friend request. Afterwards, by exchanging information with the members of the company, he will decide whether the working environment is suitable for him or not.

Web 2.0-based networking allows both company to candidate communications and reversely. Therefore, HR specialists can contact and find key personnel through websites such as LinkedIn.

In Romania, recruiters started to tap into web 2.0 tools more aggressively, but at a lower scale than abroad. “The most efficient platform remains LinkedIn because you can view the applicant’s employment history. Their utility however is restricted. They are used only in the process of identifying the potential candidates. If they meet your requirements, you invite them to an interview”, said Bogdan Toth, general manager at HR4U.

Another recruitment firm, SalesConsulting, has been using the social networking sites for a year. The general manager of the company, Ovidiu Vilceanu, says he uses virtual networking to find important candidates, but who is not necessarily looking for a job at that time.

Recruiters say the personal information, such as photos, hobbies, credentials – are not crucial factors in the recruitment process.

Recently, Cristian Manafu, senior consultant at Prodigy social media advisory, has launched Microjobs.ro, the first Twitter-based site in Romania. “We sought to offer a new tool for jobseekers in this difficult time. Twitter is a growing communication and interaction environment, highly personal and with a significant impact. Microjobs.ro is an experiment and it is based on Twitter’s growth”, said Manafu.