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IT Recruiters Mine Social Media for Hidden Tech Talent

By Sharon Florentine
September 25, 2013 03:53 PM ET

CIO - Like most Internet-savvy folks, IT professionals leave bits and pieces of their personal information and professional history scattered across many different social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, not to mention dedicated job search sites like Dice.com.

It's a trail of valuable information for IT recruiters, but it's not an easy one to follow. That's where Dice's new Open Web tool comes in. Open Web, which is still in beta, pulls a candidate's information together in one place, making it easy to for recruiters and IT hiring managers to find and organize information and streamlines the recruiting process.

"One of the things recruiters have told us is they want the same granular search functionality we use in our resume database, but they want to be able to use that more broadly," says Jennifer Bewley, Dice.com's vice president of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications.

"They want more consistency of information; a much deeper, broader look at a candidate over and above what people tend to include on a generic resume or cover letter, and that's what Open Web can give them," she says.

Behind Dice.com's Open Web

Howard Lee, the architect behind Open Web, explains that the tool is "a searchable index of individuals and their profiles based on aggregate data from across the spectrum of social media sites, both personal and professional."

In layman's terms, Open Web gathers and standardizes information about people from nearly 50 social media sites to give recruiters and hiring managers a 360-degree view of that individual and their relevant activity - whether they have an active resume on a site like Dice.com, or are currently employed and answering questions on a technical forum site, blogging or posting about their hobbies on Facebook, Lee says.

"Instead of waiting for qualified, experienced candidates to come to you, you can search for and contact these folks where they are, which drives greater efficiency," Lee says. And using Open Web can gain recruiters access to "passive" IT talent that may already be employed, might not actively be looking for a new position, but who may be open to an opportunity nonetheless, he says.

"Hiring managers visit many places in their search for candidates with the right skills and experience for their open positions. In today's social grid, that's a big dig - consuming a lot of time putting together disparate pieces of information from across the web," said Scot Melland, chairman, president and CEO of Dice.com, in a statement announcing the tool's release in January 2013.

"Open Web makes it easy by consolidating all kinds of valuable, public information about technology candidates in one place. In a few seconds, employers get unique profiles with real depth allowing both an understanding of the candidates' qualifications and how to approach tech professionals on a more personal, direct level," Melland says.

Finding Hidden (or Passive) IT Talent

Open Web is currently in beta while Dice gathers feedback from users, Bewley says, and about 1,200 Dice customers are currently using Open Web on a monthly basis. Because Open Web creates a complete picture of professional tech talent using a number of sources, it simplifies the search for recruiters and hiring managers, and gives them access even to those 'hidden gems' that might otherwise be inaccessible, she says.

"Not only is there a different, deeper level of information about a candidate, but recruiters can customize their pitch to the candidates," she says. "Even if talent's currently employed, if you show people their 'dream job,' they are going to jump at the chance," she says.

Lee agrees. "The people that are in high demand will already be employed, so it's a sourcing product as opposed to just a resume database. Many of these folks always are open to new and better opportunities."

One of the benefits in being able to pull information from across a user's entire Internet presence is giving employers, hiring managers and recruiters a much broader and deeper view of candidates as a whole person, says Bewley.

That depth can help ensure the right hiring decision is made, and that the candidate is the right fit for not just the position, but the company's culture and work environment.

"I always say that the closer you can get to the core of the person, the better hiring decision you'll be able to make," Bewley says.

Sharon Florentine covers IT careers and data center topics for CIO.com. Follow Sharon on Twitter @MyShar0na. Email her at sflorentine@cio.com Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook.

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This story is reprinted from CIO.com, an online resource for information executives. Story Copyright CXO Media Inc., 2012. All rights reserved.
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