New Methods of Recruiting Utilizing Web 2.0: An Interview with Lauryn Franzoni of ExecuNet

There are many ways to recruit passive candidates for employment. One of the newer methods is by checking out networking sites—but does this method really work for getting the best person for the job? Human Resources IQ talks with Lauryn Franzoni, vice president of ExecuNet, about this new recruiting trend.

What is the most effective method for recruiting people for jobs? Why do you think this is?

Without question, networking is the most effective method for finding and recruiting candidates—this is especially true at the executive level. According to recent research conducted by ExecuNet, 40 percent of all candidates sourced by executive recruiters last year could be traced to networking. The second most effective method proved to be using online search engines and corporate information services; however, there was a significant drop off, as these resources accounted for just 14 percent of candidates.

When recruiting top talent, there’s little room for trial and error given the substantial costs of a bad hire—this helps to explain why networking, a process built on mutual trust, remains a tried and true means of finding talent despite some incredible innovations in technology during the past two decades.

Do you find using social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace effective for recruiting people for jobs?

While the growth of the largest social networking sites is staggering and anecdotal evidence suggests that they’re being used to recruit at the entry and lower levels, these sites are not being used by the executive recruiters we speak with on a daily basis.

Would someone’s personal profile ever deter you from contacting him or her? For example, if it is a student in college and his profile shows pictures of him drinking, would you still consider him for the job?

In February 2005, groundbreaking research conducted by ExecuNet revealed that digital dirt was helping to shape hiring decisions long before the interview process ever began. Three years later, this trend is more pronounced than ever before. According to our most recent data, 83 percent of recruiters use search engines to learn more about specific candidates and 43 percent have eliminated a candidate from a search based upon information found online—this is up significantly from 26 percent in 2005.

What information can you get from reading a person’s profile that you wouldn’t be able to get by reading a resume? Why is this information useful to you?

For better or worse, information found online can provide a more complete picture of a candidate. Recruiters tell us that some searches turn up information about interests and involvement outside of work that improve a candidate’s prospects. While in other cases, searches have revealed inappropriate photos or information that has lead to the elimination of their candidacy.

Is it better to go through niche networking sites or sites directed towards job seekers, such as

Fortunately, recruiters don’t often confuse quantity with quality when using online resources to improve their network. In fact, ExecuNet, a career and business network that brings C-level executives together online and in face-to-face meetings, was founded 20 years ago—this longevity helps underscore the success and power of niche networks.

What are other avenues for recruiting job seekers?

In the executive employment market, ExecuNet research reveals that recruiters use traditional networking to uncover 39 percent of all executive candidates, which is nearly three times more than any other tool or tactic. Other resources used to find candidates include online search engines and corporate information services, which account for 14 percent of candidate sourcing and online job postings and resume databases, which are used to find 13 percent and 8 percent of job seekers, respectively.

Interview by Jessica Livingston, editor

*First published on e-BIM.