My first job was working in the Gardening Department at Kmart. I rode my bike down the street to drop off my application and landed my first formal job — arguably because of my expert shopping-cart gathering skills and not my nonexistent knowledge of the difference between pesticides and perennials.
From operating the cash register to paging people over the central speaker system when I didn’t know how to credit someone for returning a bag of mulch, technology is inevitably connected with the business world. With the birth of Twitter and other social media, new technologies also provide an alternative way to find jobs — instead of a bicycle and a No. 2 pencil.
Companies are making a shift to incorporate social media into the hiring process. LinkedIn is a perfect example of how businesses are beginning to adapt to social media and benefit from already established connections. Businesses will also use Facebook posts or tweets as new methods to search for potential employees. It’s not out of place to inquire on job openings using a simple “@reply” to companies on Twitter.
The White House has also tapped into this social networking keg of information. Members of the Monster.com community can now jump over to Monster’s Facebook page and post questions for the Obama Administration about America’s employment climate. The White House will address the questions that get the most “likes.”
It’s in a company’s benefit to broadcast to the people that follow them when there’s a position open because it’s obvious those individuals are interested in the business. It’s like when I bought the limited edition box set of the “Gilmore Girls” complete series — obviously there’s a fan base there, and the addition of a bonus content DVD only increased my desire to have it.
But the hiring process isn’t the only area of the job hunt that’s experiencing technological benefits. Smartphone apps are just one more way technology has changed the hiring process. With mobile apps that allow you to manage resumes, scan business cards for contact information and even make face-to-face video calls, they allow the recruitment process to be accomplished from a phone.
As the job market expands, so will social networks. Soon, more companies will begin using these connections to find qualified people to fill available positions — which reminds me, if I don’t want to wind up back in the Gardening Department at Kmart, I should probably remove “Weed whacking” from my Facebook interests.
Andrew Weiser is a senior journalism major. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org