Corporate Eye

Using Networking to Target Graduates

Are you looking forward to the milkround again?

Here’s a different approach to targeting particular students at particular universities that might just be what you’re looking for …

Web Worker Daily recently described a new tool (from Affinity Circles) to help Fortune 500 companies target specific graduates – down to particular universities, educational background, year groups or work experience – and communicate directly with their targets about job opportunities.

This works by harnessing the power of social networks. Members send messages about jobs or other opportunities to their peers, universities send announcements to members, and outside companies like pay to send job postings to potential candidates.

Why is this news? Surely graduates use Facebook and LinkedIn?

Affinity Circles say that an online community sanctioned by a university promotes a higher degree of trust than an open community such as Facebook or LinkedIn; and that because it is members-only, there has been an element of preselection by the university; and that because it is members-only there is more privacy for the candidate. No candidate is identifiable by the recruiter until they identify themselves as interested.

From the candidate’s point of view, it’s the online version of the old boy (and girl) network for getting a foot in the door to places that don’t need to advertise and to talk to other alumni at that company to find out what it is really like to work there.

For the companies who participate, it’s a way to find potential recruits who may not be actively looking for a job, or simply to tap into a group of preselected candidates, thus reducing recruitment time and costs.

So should you seriously consider this?

It looks as though the only universities that Affinity Circles have access to at the moment are US-based, so this won’t be useful for everyone.

And I wonder why Affinity Circles are promoting this to Fortune 500 companies; I would have thought that this kind of advertising could be useful to many other, smaller, companies as well.

Nevertheless, I think that this is potentially a very useful way forward, and I think that Affinity Circles have astutely identified the current problems with online recruitment: that there are too many job boards with too little preselection of candidates and that the current set of wellknown networks offer too little by way of targeting and privacy.

Their solution, to use existing private networking circles, is a good one. I wonder what private networks currently exist in British universities …

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