References & Social Networks

A recent article in Business Week Online deals with the increasing popularity of social network websites. The article is entitled, “Social Networks: Execs Use Them Too.”

I know I’ve covered this topic many times, but here’s a new angle. References. Companies are becoming less and less impressed with predictable comments from references provided by the candidate, and turning to social networks to get the 360 on prospects. Here’s a snippet from the article:

<<Encover Chief Executive Officer Chip Overstreet was on the hunt for a new vice-president for sales. He had homed in on a promising candidate and dispensed with the glowing but unsurprising remarks from references. Now it was time to dig for any dirt…. LinkedIn gives him a better picture of a job candidate and lessens the likelihood a potential employee can hide past work experiences. The extra reference checks showed Overstreet that his vice-president for sales candidate was not only a great salesman, but that he also had outstanding character. When eight of the back-door references volunteered information that the candidate had high integrity, Overstreet knew he had found himself a new vice-president.>>

The article begs the question … “if you don’t have a branded visible online presence and your competition does, who will win the job offer?