A social network is a societal structure that comprises of people or organizations that are linked by either one or several interdependencies for example ideas, financial exchange, friendship, visions, sexual relationships, dislike, conflict, trade or kinship. Analysis of social networking involves the study of the social relationships that exist in terms of the ties and the nodes in the network. The ties are the relationships between the main characters in the social network while the nodes are the individual characters within the network.
Social network analysis uses an open approach without the assumption that groups are the only components of a society and analyses social systems that are less-linked like the links that exist in websites. Social network analysis focuses on the effects of the structure of ties on the individuals and their relationships instead of treating the organizations, persons or states as discreet components of the analysis.
Social network analysis aims at assessing the effects of the composition and structure of the ties on the norms unlike analyses that assume behavior is determined by the socialization into norms. The shape of a social network is what determines the usefulness of the network to its users. Small networks that are often tighter are less useful to their users than networks that have a lot of external ties to individuals outside the network (Linton, 2006). Social networking is the combination of individuals into specific groups like a neighborhood subdivision.
Social networking is possible in schools, universities and also in the workplace but it is more popular online. This is so because the internet is filled with millions of people who are out to find new friends, find first hand information or even looking for real life experiences in different life conditions. In online social networking websites known as social sites are used. Apart from providing an interaction media, social networks are also used to asses how organizations relate and interact with each other.
Social networks also play an important role in business success, job performance and also in recruitments in most organizations. Social networks provide organizations with a way of avoiding competition, gathering information and coming up with policies and prices to improve their performance (Barry, Wenhong and Dong, 2002). Social networks can be traced back to the late 1800s, but during this time the pioneers of social networks did not think directly in terms related to the social networks.
Between 1930 and 1950 the first social groups were formed and since then social groups have continued to develop with time and technology. The WELL was one of the early social networks and it began in 1985, Theglobe. com was then started in 1994 followed by Tripod in 1995, all these online social networks were aimed at grouping people to interact and share information through chatting. Other social networks were then developed like the SixDegrees. com which was formed in 1997 and was focused on linking up ties between former school mates.
Although the SixDegrees. com came with very many features all in one package it was later seen as a non-profitable website and these led to its closure. In 1999 another trust-based social network was developed by Epinions. com and had more features than the previous ones (Peter, John and Stanley, 2005). Between the years 2002 and 2004 there was the emergence of three social networking sites which were the most popular in the world, these were, Friendster, Myspace and Bebo.
In the year 2004 Facebook was started which has now become the largest social networking service in the world. Since the development of social networks they have been used in many areas such as; in epidemiology social networks have been used to study the different forms of human contacts and how they enhance or inhibit the spread of diseases in a community and in politics social networks have been used in the United States of America to assess the political the political threat posed by the U. S citizens.
Social networks offer services to its users that are focused on developing online communities of people with common activities and interests or people who are interested in learning the activities and interests of other people. Due to the fact that most social networks are web-based they encourage the interaction of their users through services like e-mail and chatting services or instant messaging. New ways of communication and sharing of information have developed with social network services and this has resulted to millions of people using the services currently.
Most of the social network services have an option for all the users to create a profile; which may contain the categories like high school attended and former classmates, social networks also provide a means for their users to connect with friends and relatives. The most widely used social network service in the world is Facebook. In North America the most used social networks are; Twitter, Myspace and Linkedln while in Central and South America the Hi5 and Orkut are commonly used. Social networking can be grouped into two major categories: external social networking (ESN) and internal social networking (ISN).
The external social networks include sites like Facebook, Myspace, Bebo and Twitter. The internal social networking consists of a private group of people or organizations that have similar interests, for someone to join this type of a social network he or she must be known to the other people or organizations. Because this type of social network is not open to the public they therefore cannot serve as a way of increasing recruitment in an organization. The external social networks are open to the public and they are available to any web user.
This type of social network gains through advertisers who purchase rights in the network so as to advertise their products and services. External social networks do very well in recruitment services of most organizations. The other important factor that makes the ESN very useful in recruitment is that they can compose of a smaller specialized group of people that are connected by a common interest for example, the SocialGolfer. com or the GreatCooks. com and this would make it easier for organizations to advertise their recruitment in the website that they feel has a majority of potential trainees.
The other type of ESN is the large and generic social networks like the Facebook and Myspace, these social networks have millions of users of different personalities and qualifications and therefore they can serve as recruitment basis for many organizations. It has been seen clearly that social networks are no longer for socializing only and organizations are no longer ignoring the potential audience that is provided by networking mediums, for example Face book has more than 66 million active users and 250,000 people have been registering daily for the last two years (Facebook. om, 2009).
The traditional media has ceased being as healthy as they were before because the scope of their coverage as decreased from what it used to be and as a result most organizations are unable to reach their audiences in the same way they used to do earlier. Ignoring the social networks would cause the non-profit organizations miss that chance of nurturing interactive conversations with their potential trainees.
Social networks like Facebook provide the ability of organizations to target their recruiting efforts more specifically, for example if an organization requires people from a certain University it should go to a social network like facebook and it is likely to find a group of people who studied in their university of interest. A group like this would be very hard to find by running an advertisement on the local media and this shows the importance of social networks in recruitment (Sun Inner Circle, April, 2008).
According to the ‘Aquent Orange Book of 2008 to 2009’ the survey found out that around 4. % of the UK employers make use of the current social networks in their recruitment exercises. In France, Poland, Germany and Netherlands around 32% of the recruitment candidates said that social networking should be used as the preferred way of seeking for jobs but on the other side about 15% of the employers chose social networking as their preferred way of recruiting candidates (Jacquie, July, 2008). Social networking is a new tool for talent acquisition but according to the director of Aquent the method has to be fully tested to find its merits and demerits in recruitment.
For most of the employers social networking has proved to be very much labor intensive, posses a threat to brand damage, can lead to internal misuse and at times it can be frustrating. On the side of the candidates the social networks expose the candidates to potential discrimination and it may also harm their employment predictions because the way the candidates bring out their figure online may not be in a very favorable manner. In order for non-profit organizations to stay viable they have to deal with technological, cultural and economic changes that are taking place currently.
Many of these organizations have found out that the only way to viability is having a pool of flexible and well trained employees who can respond accordingly to the rapidly changing environment, although this has not worked because most non-profit organizations’ recruiters have found it difficult to get and be able to retain these types of employees. The other problem facing non-profit organizations is that these organizations must find employees who have the volunteer attitude so as to enable them carry out their activities which include fundraisings, operations and financial management.
Therefore the non-profit organizations do not only need employees who are proficient in their areas of work but they should also have the motivation required to work in a non-profit organization (Dwiggins, Spitzberg and Roesch, 2009). Due to the effectiveness of online communities in passing information social networking websites have currently become quite important for human resource professionals in non-profit organizations.
These social networks can be used by the human resource professionals in monitoring of employees, recruitment of employees, increasing retention of employees and employee engagement. The human resource (HR) professionals are using the same guidelines that advertisers and marketers are using so as to attract a certain group of individuals and therefore given the right strategies non-profit organizations can increase the number of recruitments in their organizations by the use of social networks. The following guidelines should be considered by recruiters of non-profit organizations so as to increase the number of recruitments:
Visit the appropriate networks; this means that the non-profit organizations should visit those social media sites that meet their targeted demographic. For example if a non-profit organization wants to recruit people for an exercise of blood donation, the recruiters should visit or advertise in those social network sites that may have a lot of young energetic people, it would not make sense for the organization to advertise its recruitment exercise in a social network site meant for the old or pregnant.
Take time to search; the organizations should ensure that they take time in searching through the numerous profiles in the recommended site so as to recruit the best candidates. At first it is going to take time before the recruiters can learn the tactics of searching through social networks but afterwards the recruiters develop very good techniques of finding the right character for any position.
Act fast or lose; it is also very important fir the recruiters to note that their organization is not the only organization recruiting candidates through the site and therefore they should act quite fast once they find appropriate candidate(s). Have a certain degree of professionalism; appearance is an important issue even in the social environment and therefore the recruiters of these non-profit organizations should put a certain degree of professionalism on the recruitment profile that they create on the social networks site.
The recruiters who come up with a recruiting profile on any social network site should treat their applicants in a nice manner to avoid being the subject of a blog post circulating information on how a certain applicant was treated unprofessionally. Use the social networks as a way of nurturing employee engagement; when the employees of any organization feel contented by the organization’s activities they become more actively involved in the organization and this leads to an increase in the productivity of the organization.
The social networks can have a great effect on the employees’ engagement and therefore the recruiters should ensure that the profiles created on the social networks are meant to increase the involvement of the employees (Thomas, June, 2009). There are a many benefits that come with recruiting candidates by the use of social networks which include: Diversity; this is because the internet provides chances to all individuals all over the world to assess the social network sites.
This means that although a certain organization is located in the United States of America it is quite possible for it to recruit individuals from other parts of the world. This aspect of diversity also helps in eliminating monotony in the organizations by having people from different parts of the world which encourages learning of new cultures and languages in the organization. Specific; because social networks involve the grouping of people into groups with common interests, then it becomes easier for organizations to find the kind of individuals they want through the social networks.
Cost effective; the candidates that are available for recruitment from social networks are cost effective in that the organizations do not incur the cost of advertising on the job boards and other traditional media services. Most organizations are also satisfied with the quality of employees from social networks. Publicity; recruiting candidates over the social networks makes the non-profit organization become known to a large population and this may help increase its activities like fundraising.
Social networking enables the recruiters find individuals who have not applied of any other openings in the organization, or individuals who are not familiar with the organization or at times get individuals who may not even be interested in another opportunity. Social networks give the recruiters a chance to start a private conversation with the potential candidates and this conversation is aimed at the recruiter convincing the candidate to join the non-profit organization.
The other benefit of social networks is that the organizations are likely to find the best talents. This is so because it has been revealed that the best talents like strutting their stuff and they also like hanging out with their friends and the only place they can do these is on the social networks. In social networks most individuals will tend to reveal their social status unlike during face to face interviews. This helps organizations to recruit candidates that are socially upright.
Organizations that use the social networks for recruitments are likely to hire younger people as compared to those that use the traditional networking media, therefore for a non-profit organization aiming to recruit young people they should do this through the social networks. Social networks are only applicable to non-profit organizations that are fully utilizing their potential of the electronic recruitment and because most organizations find it difficult to fully use electronic recruitments hence they do not adopt the social networks.
Most of the social networks have very large groups of individuals with common interests hence it becomes difficult for organizations to clearly pick the best individuals. Data theft; most of the non-profit organizations fear that they might lose some of their important data on the social networks due to online predators and other online individuals who claim to be someone else whom they are not. Non-profit organizations are advised to be more cautious when recruiting over the social networks.
Most non-profit organizations fear recruiting candidates from social networks because they think that once in the job the candidates will spend a lot of time on the social network sites and this could make the organization not meet its goal. Most of the potential employees always tend to question the authenticity of the organization posting the recruitment and this makes them end up not applying for the recruitment exercise.
For non-profit organizations to increase their recruitments they need to make use of the social networks although this should be done cautiously to avoid the problems that arise with online recruitments as discussed above. Due to the fact that non-profit organizations do not have a lot of cash there is need for them to carry out recruitments through the social networks which is cheaper than using recruitment agencies or job boards. Social networks are the best tool to recruit young and qualified individuals into the non-profit organizations.