28 March 2012

The Changing Face

It’s certainly no secret that the social media phenomenon has exerted a profound influence on the world over the past few years.

Tools like Facebook and LinkedIn have virtually exploded out of nowhere, radically transforming the way we approach many fundamental tasks. Business is certainly no exception. Significantly, it’s been said that the social media upheaval is akin to the business process restructuring of the ‘80s. If so, it has the potential to irrevocably alter existing business models, radically reduce costs and revolutionise the way business is conducted.

The exact nature of this impact is forming the basis of our new three-year research project. In particular, we’ll be focusing on how social media is changing the recruitment process and how the advent of online profiling is altering the way in which organisations identify and contact new talent.

Interestingly, a study conducted in the 1960s linked the ability to find employment with one’s level of social embedded-ness. Its authors contended that it was the people you knew and the connections you had that helped most when identifying future employment opportunities. Thanks to social media, that embedding process is now infinitely easier. Moreover, the costs of those transactions are lower and the potential for connecting more broadly and quickly with a wide range of people is seemingly without limit. We’re interested in how companies can take advantage of that virtual embededness.

But it’s not only organisations that need to be aware of social media’s potential. Indeed, we’re already working with some of our students to remove any online material that may hinder their chances of future employment. It all comes down to the idea of your personal brand, determined largely by the nature of your social media presence. As such, it’s not only your CV that matters to potential employers, but also the types of conversations you have, the types of information you share and the types of people you’re connected to.

Author: Associate Professor Nick Wailes – University of Sydney Business School

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