In that regard, Human Resources managers have discovered that online networks can help establish unity among employees working much too remotely from other employees to establish any kind of rapport or shared corporate culture through traditional means. Another advantage of this use of online social networks has been their ability to facilitate greater connections among and between groups of employees from different places of origin, backgrounds, and age.
There are also risks associated with the use of existing social networks such as MySpace and FaceBook that HR managers have also had to consider. Specifically, they do present the possible risk of leaking of proprietary information; they can result in damaging statements by firm employees with legal liability on the part of the company; and they can expose valued employees to being "poached" by external recruiters known as "head hunters." Consequently, some companies have embraced the concept of incorporating online social networks but they have chose to develop their own secure internal networks instead of relying on public networks such as MySpace and FaceBook. Their intention is simply to exploit the potential value of the new social network media but in a manner that reduces the potential risks associated with public versions of that concept.
The popularity of the first version of Internet-based applications designed to connect job seekers and prospective employers has proven extremely useful but it has also revealed the need for significant changes, especially in the current economic climate where the ratio of job seekers to available jobs has increased so dramatically. That is because the first generation of these applications do not do much to filter results or otherwise help employers distinguish qualified and highly desirable candidates from less qualified and less desirable candidates. Therefore, the current trend driving the second generation of job search sites and professional networks has emphasized this specific feature.
The latest innovations in professional networks intended for the use of hiring organizations includes filtering software as well as applications that allow employers to play a more active role. Most first-generation versions of job search applications required the employer to play a passive role, essentially waiting to review those candidates who chose to apply to open positions. The latest second-generation versions of these professional networks have been specifically designed to help employers be more active in identifying and contacting potentially valuable prospective employees without having to wait for those applicants to contact the organization by applying for positions.
"Social Networking. Interactions online: The next intelligent steps." Recruiter.
Another use for online social networking in recruiting has been the establishment of professional discussion groups and forums, such as those intended to promote meaningful discussions among members of given fields of employment, such as HR professionals, for example. There does seem to be a potential in this application of online social networks, but some of those efforts have not yielded the productive results hoped for when they were first created. Some of those involved in establishing those kinds of professional networks have discovered that many more people sign up initially than actually participate once their memberships are active. Typically, email updates from those networks are ignored or deleted as spam and some of those who sign up rarely visit or contribute to them thereafter.
Consequently, some organizers of these networks have begun shifting away from the forum-type of networks in favor of using Twitter for similar purposes. So far, they have experienced limited success and they have discovered that there is a definite art to the productive use of Twitter for this purpose as well. For one example, effective use of Twitter requires a commitment to very regular updates. For another example, it has become obvious that certain types of social networks (such as FaceBook) are best for maintaining contact with undergraduates whereas Twitter is preferable for maintaining contact with fellow HR professionals already working in the field who may have less time for FaceBook and MySpace-types of social networks because of their work commitments.