LinkedIn Builds the Bridge Never Could

As a college senior, I am constantly looking for every job posting, career fair, or opportunity to just post my resume for employers to see. According to Mark Granovetter’s research, I am going about this all wrong. Granovetter found that most people who found new job opportunities found them not from job postings, not even best friends, but acquaintances. Take a job seeker who operates in a specific network component. All of his or her friends within that component will have the same interests and information to offer about job opportunities. However, if our job seeker meets a new friend from a new network component with vastly different opportunities available, there will be a weak bridge between them, but a bridge nonetheless. That weak link is very strong and very necessary for job hunting.

The New York Times backs up Granovetter’s findings in a recent article titled, “In Hiring, a Friend in Need is a Prospect, Indeed.” By speaking to insiders from top companies like Ernst & Young, a pattern revealed that despite the promise to read every application, only  those with some relation to employees were taken to the top of the pile. Moreover, employers like Deloitte or Enterprise even incentivize current employees to refer acquaintances by offering prizes.

“You’re submitting your résumé to a black hole,” said John Sullivan, a human resources consultant for large companies who teaches management at San Francisco State University. “You’re not going to find top performers at a job fair. Whether it’s fair or not, you need to have employees make referrals for you if you want to find a job.”

In the social sense this is a secure way to get new employees. Employees will be hesitant to recommend someone who will certainly fail or be below company standards. Likewise, it takes a confident job applicant to ask for a referral. The distant relationship between the job seeker and the employee is also helpful because it removes likely tension and stress between two friends.
This has been a boon to social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook which emphasize the importance of networking. If an employer sees your LinkedIn profile, he or she will see all of your previous work experiences, endorsements, associations, and connections. This can give them a better idea of the kind of candidate you are, unlike other websites which make you look like a desperate, faceless applicant.
So what does this mean for your hopeful job applicant like yours truly? The best strategy is network, network, network. Posting my resume on a website like Monster is a waste, but I have found myself in the interview chair after successful job fairs. Anything that allows for a face to face contact will allow you to build a bridge between the recruiter’s network and your own network. My advice to fellow applicants and myself is to update your LinkedIn, go to real life social events, and build bridges.

3 thoughts on “LinkedIn Builds the Bridge Never Could”

  1. This is very true. I am actually a living testament to this post. Over the summer I was interviewing for an internship at a company my aunt works for. They really liked me and wanted me to come aboard but they waited way to long to contact me (8 weeks too long). So by the time they gave me a call I was about ready to start the fall semester, and my schedule just didn’t match up with theirs. So I ended up declining and figured to start my search after the semester started. About 2 days before the start of the semester I received a phone call from a man who works for a top ten global financial firm claiming he got my resume from a colleague, he wanted to interview me for an internship position. So I went into the interview and he revealed to me that his wife was the woman who interviewed me for the original internship. She was impressed with how I handled myself and felt bad that they took so long to get back to me, and referred me to her husband. I have been interning at AXA advisors since October and am currently going through the interview process to become a full-time financial advisor after graduation in May! So I whole-heartedly agree with this article, and I am living proof of its authenticity. It’s not what you know, its who you know.

  2. I would be interested in knowing the difference in job performance between employees hired with or without an employee referral.

    I imagine that if the need for an employee referral is as strong as the article suggests, then someone who is hired without one is probably a very strong job candidate. The referral can make up for gaps or trouble spots on a resume. Someone without the referral probably doesn’t have any problems with their resume and work history.

    This is countered by the fact that someone who is hired with a referral has at least one acquaintance in the company and might have an easier time adjusting to the new workplace.

  3. Definitely the incarnate of the saying: It’s not what you know but who you knows that counts.It is unmistakable that connections/networking are massively important during the job search.

    I would wonder however if this importance has increase over time or just remain relatively static with just an over exaggerated emphasis on this detail. I would hypothesize that relationships/networks have always been an extremely important aspect in the hiring process with no big swing for relative importance.

    However, when it comes to the job hunt you must leave no stone unturned and maximize the utilization of all your resources to get the job.

Comments are closed.