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How to conduct a job search: What you need to know today

Meridith Levinson | Sept. 27, 2011
When IT Director Henry Hirschel started his job search in June 2011, his first move wasn't to hit a job board looking for ads for IT leadership positions.

All of these people are overwhelming corporate recruiting and HR departments with résumés and applications. "Companies receive more than 200 résumés per job per month," says McGovern. "If you're only going to hire one of them, you're wasting time on 199 people. It's a massive destruction of time on both the job seeker's and employer's parts."

Further complicating recruitment matters is the fact that because employers also downsized their HR departments during the recession, there are fewer people available to process all of the résumés hitting them today.

Employers are reacting by looking for talent in a much more focused manner than they did two years ago, says Shane Bernstein, managing partner of Q, an IT staffing firm based in Los Angeles. "Instead of posting a job online and getting a thousand résumés, they're going on LinkedIn and Plaxo and seeking out the people they want to talk to," he says.

Hiring managers are also increasingly looking to referrals from current employees or colleagues in their networks, as well as using staffing agencies, adds Bernstein.

A recent survey of 800 hiring decision-makers conducted by Jobvite, a maker of social recruiting software, corroborates Bernstein's observations. According to Jobvite's findings:

Hiring managers say their best hires come from referrals, followed by direct sourcing and social networks.

80 percent of survey respondents use social networks to recruit new employees. Of that 80 percent, 86 percent use LinkedIn.

63 percent have successfully hired candidates through social networks; 94 percent through LinkedIn.

54 percent of survey respondents say they plan to increase their investment in recruiting through social media, compared with 16.4 percent who plan to increase their investment in recruiting through job boards.

45 percent of survey respondents say they always search candidate's online profiles.

Jobvite's findings combined with Bernstein, McGovern, Hirschel, Bobke and other job seekers' observations demonstrate the importance of using social media to network and catch the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, who themselves are taking a much more direct and targeted approach to hiring.

Success Strategies for Today's Job Search

The last time Bobke, the IT director in southern California, looked for a job was 2005. Today's job search, he says, is "definitely different" from the one he conducted six years ago.

Back then, he says, more director- and senior-level IT leadership positions were posted online. Today, he adds, those positions are more difficult to find. "They're not necessarily advertised, not generally posted on a company's Website or a job search site," he says, adding that he thinks companies looking for senior IT leaders are using executive search firms "to get a narrow set of candidates quickly," rather than posting a job online and having to slog through 200 résumés.


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