Some people may dismiss Facebook as an idle chat room for teens, but according to recent statistics, the average Facebook user is 33, with over half of all users over the age of 35. Facebook is growing up and people are now turning to the social networking site for more than just gossip and photo sharing. They’re using it for business.
A recent post by Facebook user Jennifer Labit asked her 12,218 followers if they knew of a person she was looking for, a man that used to manage a now closed Starbucks. She had a name, but no contact information. She also had a job she wanted to offer him, if she could just find him.
Labit is the owner of Cotton Babies, a St. Louis company that’s an industry leader in cloth diapers and green baby products. Her newest location is in Town and Country Crossings and her diapers are sold worldwide.
“Mario helped me find coffee one morning a few years ago. His kindness made an impression. Now he's on my radar for an open position we have at Cotton Babies. Does anybody know him?” Labit posted on her wall among musings on chocolate, the diaper industry and a how she enjoys cuddle time with her children.
Labit’s original post drew 151 “likes” and 35 people shared the plea on their own Facebook walls, extending her search to their own friends. Commenters offered up leads and soon Labit found her new employee. He was hired six days later. Labit is declining to reveal details on her job offer.
“He will have significant responsibility and I don't want to put him under any extra pressure,” Labit said.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has turned networking friends into employees. 18.4 million people in the United States gave Facebook credit for helping them land a job, according to a press release from Jobvite, a maker of recruiting software.
Facebook, which has over 800 million users, is starting to attract third-party software developers to mine profiles for recruiters and job seekers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Recruiting apps like BranchOut can separate a job seeker’s personal information from his or her work history, hiding it from the eyes of potential bosses. This can be especially useful for those who have shared spring break photos, gossip or colorful rants with their friends.
Jobvite’s survey also showed that 89 percent of businesses are planning to use social media in 2012 to fill job openings. 63 percent of those surveyed said they successfully hired someone through social media and 45 percent said they always search for a candidate’s profile online before hiring.
All this means that job seekers who use Facebook should think carefully about how they appear online, even if they don’t actively use social networks in their job hunt. A report from U.S. News and World Report suggests that college seniors should be especially cautious during the last six months of school and tighten their security settings so only basic information is made public.
Job seekers should also give their profile photos some attention. They should expect potential employers to search for them on Google, Twitter and Facebook, not just LinkedIn. It’s not necessary to wear business attire in all your profile photos, but a current, well-focused photo in a neutral location should be used.
On the Horizon:
Signs of Economic Recovery: Bloomburg is reporting that confidence is rising in the home building industry, a sign of stabilization in the housing market. The Wall Street Journal also reports that optimism in the small businesses is rising to its highest levels since February.
Book of Lists Gala: January 5, at the Peabody Opera House. The St. Louis Business Journal will congratulate the city’s Most Valuable Players in the business community. David Freese will be a guest speaker. $125 with an person early-bird reservation.
Startup Weekend St. Louis: January 27-29 at the IT at the Railway Exchange in Downtown. The event is to help entrepreneurs find out if startup ideas are viable by bringing together developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts. Cost: $49.