Social media is part of a new wave of Internet usage that links everyone in “many to many” conversation using different tools.

The most populated sector includes social networking tools like Facebook and LinkedIn. Human resource managers are beginning to leverage on the large professional social network for recruitment and referrals.

In the near future, no resumé will be complete without your LinkedIn account or Plaxo contact. These are online networks in which professionals, executives, business owners and technical specialists (PMETs) are leaving their resumés.

Social media is all about having the conversation over content provided by the respective communities. PMETs form a community that is a valuable source of suitable candidates.

Your recruitment needs will benefit in the following ways:

Branding as a choice employer

Make it standard practice for all levels of management to be members of a professional social network like Linkedin. Your company’s name will appear more frequently and this will benefit it in terms of branding as a choice employer.

Looking beyond the referral

As you assess the candidate’s resumé, study his connections and recommendations. You can authenticate his work experiences and character through the business friends he keeps on a professional social network.

Status and update

Most professional social networks keep a long history of a profile’s status update. Study the words he uses to express how he feels and projects he has accomplished. The frequency and content of his status speak volumes of the candidate’s working attitude and thought leadership in the area of his expertise.

Networks are powerful

The extent of a candidate’s network is a result of his constant networking efforts. If he claims to spend an extensive time in China, does he have considerable contacts from the same country? If a marketing communication manager has good media relations, he would have at least a score of media and press connections in his profile.

The quality of a candidate’s professional social network is clear evidence of his past work achievements.

Advanced and targeted search

The speed and depth of search engines for professional networks are geared for matching job requirements to the best candidate. Use keywords and limit your advanced search to filter out your potential candidate within seconds.

Another point to note is that while you are recruiting through an advanced search, your competitors may also be filtering theirs. Some of their filters may include your current staff.

Different tools for different levels

A true blue social network like Facebook may be the best tool for recruiting entry to mid-level executives.  

Portfolio showcase

If you are evaluating a consultant for hire, try researching his online contribution to blogs, wikis, presentations and proposal on portals like Slideshare and Scribd. Check out the number of view, downloads and embed his portfolio enjoy is a clear indication on his thought leadership.

Business alliances

Many search firms are using professional social networks to connect with other recruiters and hirers. If you are a headhunter, forming an alliance with your peers will reduce your time and effort in looking for a candidate for your client.

On another front, make connections with potential hirers and be on their list. You never know when they will contact you for their recruitment needs.

Social media is an important recruitment and referral channel. If your company has a job page, spread the news via social media platforms like the Facebook Fan page. Engaging potential candidate socially before meeting up professionally is an emerging reality.