Using Social Networking Sites Such as Facebook, Myspace, Friendster, and Others. What are They and How are They Used?

Learn about using social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and others. What are they and how are they used?


A small but rapidly growing percentage of employers are using social networking sites as part of their recruiting process as well as part of their business processes.


Social networking sites can be dangerous when used as part of a background checking process but present tremendous opportunities when used as part of the sourcing process.


MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster are amongst the most popular sites, especially amongst high school and college students. Unlike most sites where even regular visitors spend at most minutes a week and look at a handful of pages, visitors to social networking sites often invest hours a day at the sites, viewing, and disclose a tremendous amount of information about themselves and their friends.

On-line recruiting expert Steven Rothberg of CollegeRecruiter.com career site has tried to demystify social networking sites and demonstrate the tremendous risks and opportunities they present to employers in articles he has written. The articles are recommended for people who want to find out more about these sites and their scopes and opportunities, both positive and negative sides.


We realize that more and more companies use Facebook for a reference check amongst new hires candidates. Whether this is positive or not, whether it is ethical or not is not the discussion here, but we should ask ourselves. Has our private sphere become to public, and do we have a responsibility ourselves as individuals to protect our private information if we do not want some elements of society to use them against us? My personal answer is that we should be careful with information publicized in sites like Facebook. Both legal as well as illegal companies and individuals can use the information on Facebook if it serves their purpose. Therefore the trap for us as individuals could be that we open up for big brother syndrome ourselves, without thinking of the consequences of this.


Serena Software uses Facebook as part of their intranet. 800 employees in 18 countries. Facebook is the frontend of their intranet with links to a cheap CMS system that is beind their firewall. It all started with Facebook Friday. The management in Serena Software encouraged their workers to use one hour every Friday to update their profile on Faceboook and create relations to collegues, customers and partners, friends and family. So Facebook acts as a front end with a CMS in the back end where links to confidential documents behind the firewall is performed. The process of change in Serena Software was focused on web 2.0. 35% of their 800 coworkers 800 does virtual work together. The management wanted that these coworkers should know each other better and get to the same understanding, make relations and feel engagement in the company?s activities. Facebook is free and a good web 2.0 sofware, so it fell natural for Serena to use this application as part of their intranet. They made privat groups for the employees on Faceboook and developed some simple programs for the intranet. Then they made links to relevant documents inside the firewall and therefore secure.The make press releases on Facebook and the human relationship department makes links to relevant information sources. This way the employees learns not only about the documents, but also about their coworkers behind the documents.


Some customers communicates today with Serena Software through Facebook. These customers does not use e-mail anymore. The relations between the customers and the coworkers in Serena Software has become stronger, since they know each other very well on a personal level Both employees in Serena Software as well as the customers updates their profiles on a regular basis and tell each others what they do, so it creates a stronger bond through Facebook.


Serena also use Facebook to recruit employees to the company. Potential coworkers knows about Serenas cooperation tools and therefore easy can get in touch with the environment and potential decision makers easier, Serena will know about the candidates since they also updates their Facebook on a regular basis and therefore latest news around this person is known.


Ernst & Young hires more than 5,500 college students and recent graduates pr year for internships and entry level career opportunities, only in North America alone. In addition to the traditional on-campus recruiting efforts, employee referrals, and advertising on job boards and other media, Ernst&Young now has a page on Facebook, which is one of the most popular social networking sites amongst college students.

Ernst &Young’s sponsored Facebook page contains information and discussion boards aimed at college students. Although students and other individuals use Facebook for free, Ernst&Young?s paid an undisclosed fee to Facebook as their page is more like advertising than it is to a traditional Facebook profile page. The risk of this is of course that there could be negative comments posted to their page by students and other individuals who use Facebook and even enabling people who don’t like Ernst &Young to connect more easily and perhaps allow their negative views to be more widely disseminated.

The price paid for the presence on Facebook is only part of the true cost, since Ernst & Young will have to take the costs related to the tremendous amount of staff time required to properly maintain a Facebook page. If they are not responsive to students who contact them through the page, they will look out-of-touch and do more harm to their brand than good.

Ernst & Young’s page is the first sponsored page on Facebook that is used exclusively for recruitment purposes. Other organizations such as Microsoft have pages that include information about their hiring efforts, but this is the first time that an organization’s Facebook page has been only about their efforts to hire college students who are searching for internships and recent graduates who are hunting for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

So far about over 5000 Facebook users have linked to the Ernst & Young page as members. Once you have a Facebook profile, you can search for people or organizations which are of interest to you. You can find the Ernst & Young page by typing in Ernst and Young (without the quotation marks) into the Facebook search engine. Facebook then gives you the option of becoming a member of the Ernst & Young page and you can accept this. That’s all it takes. Now Ernst & Young’s recruiters will be able to review your profile. If you are a college junior or senior with a high GPA in a program such as business, finance, or accounting, the phone would probably be ringing right now.

This is probably a brilliant move by Ernst & Young. This is a big step towards Ernst & Young becoming more transparent. It also sends a powerful message to students that Ernst & Young is listening to their needs, wants, and desires. Recruiters who tell highly qualified candidates that they must apply through traditional channels will lose those candidates if those candidates want to connect through newer channels such as Facebook because those candidates have options and they know it.

Other companies such as Opera software has also adopted Facebook as a part of their business and uses it actively for various purposes.

Posted under Facebook

Published on 05/12/2009

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