checkThere are lots of companies springing up in the general area of social recruiting. Many of them leverage your social networking connections to create recommendations for jobs and job referrals. It’s a very interesting area of recruiting technology right now. One of the companies to watch is Top Prospect. However, you also have to ask if Top Prospect and other job referral systems are actually competing with recruiters.

Top Prospect, launched late last year with the backing of the most prestigious investors in Silicon Valley. The interest from these top investors is obvious – the market for direct-hire recruiting fees is massive. The site leverages a user’s social connections and then cross-references that information with open jobs, which then creates automated suggestions for referrals. It’s a very smart and targeted way to analyze your connections in relation to open positions.

Top Prospect works by generating bonuses for users who refer prospects, which is similar to well known systems such as BountyJobs. By making job referrals from their social connections, users of Top Prospect can generate fees somewhat equivalent to that of a regular recruiting placement. Top Prospect lists fees of up to $20,000 and as of April 13th, they claim 336 jobs available at 75 different companies.

Lots of companies have tried without success to revolutionize the job referral and recruitment marketplace. The recruiting market tends towards great specialization and localization, which technology often does little to address. When using Top Prospect, however, you might pause a bit – if this technology is not a revolution, it is certainly an interesting iteration of job referral technology. One cannot hope but wonder if the job referral riddle may be close to being cracked.

The natural question then is whether or not Top Prospect and other social recruiting technology competes with recruiters. It does, in a sense, provide yet another reason to not use an agency recruiter. The technology suggests a distributed, mass-market approach to job referrals and recruitment that is quite different from the close relationship between a company and an agency recruiter.

A few thoughts:

  • Recruiters can use Top Prospect and other tools like any other user. Because recruiters have broad networks and highly specialized niche expertise, they stand a much better chance to actually fill the positions.
  • Recruiters can use these tools for additional market data about what companies are hiring and paying fees.
  • Social recruiting and social job referral systems are plentiful – no player has yet emerged with any kind of market share and most of these companies tend to fail.
  • Social recruiting technology and social networks like Linkedin tend to start their approach by competing (in a sense) with recruiters, but then cater to recruiters as recruiters become their primary revenue base.

The social job referral space is an interesting technology group to watch. Technology is getting better and better at identifying possible connections between users. However, even though Top Prospect appears to be an exciting new technology, chances are that we are very far from the “holy grail” of job referral technology.

For now, it’s probably best to keep up with the exciting companies in the space and perhaps try to use them as an additional revenue source. One thing is for sure, however – recruitment technology is increasingly using social connections to power functionality. Recruiters should be sure to keep growing their social networks as they make real-life relationships and be sure to keep up with trends in recruiting technology.

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