Eat your heart out LinkedIn. It could be that it’s all about who you know after all. In fact a recent study done by Facebook and CMU suggests that finding a job could all be about the strong social ties that we have after all rather than the sometimes weak ties that we fall upon to help us find work.
Moira Burke (a data scientist) from the social giant Facebook, surveyed about 3,000 Facebook users and asked them about life events, stress levels, and support from friends and family. After three months of the study, they arrived at some interesting conclusions. In principle as we’ll get on to, we’ll realise that stronger ties can lead to a much better chance of getting a job: “People who talked more with strong ties were twice as likely to find a new job within three months”.
What are strong/weak ties?
These are nothing new to researchers who have been studying the closeness of our connected-ness The conventional view of weak ties, is that they are useful for developing and cultivating opportunities that we might not ordinarily come across Strong ties are the closer friends, family and more active social connections that we often exploit.
However the new study seems to put paid to some of these more traditional views of the friend database, namely:
- People do not learn about job openings from weak links on Facebook. Simple, are you likely to share your job loss (and job finding) quandaries with people you don’t that well?
- Motivation plays the important role, not just the information. Strong ties would be more willing to help with the challenge of sending queries into their networks, forwarding CV, interview practice etc.
LinkedIn worried about Job hunters move to Facebook?
So therefore perhaps we should be making better use of the closer and stronger ties that we have on Facebook and Social Networks. What does that mean for sites such as LinkedIn, where we often see recruiters try to link to as many people as possible such they can find more vacancies and it’s often job hunters who take this approach. But will these weak ties, actually help us get the job, when there is little motivation? Whilst Facebook is not very jobs orientated at the moment, there are services such as Branch-Out and Career Friend. So expect some new entrants in Facebook market to be buoyed this research.
Perhaps if Facebook made it easier to have a multiple profiles it might attract more of the old school job hunters? It would seem that many users want to keep work/play in two separate domains. I know Marc Zuckerberg wants users to be more open, but this is something that many of the older generation find more troubling. LinkedIn is the socialnetwork of choice for job hunters or those who are not Gen Y (or millenials) and want to preserve work/life into two camps.