Companies are increasingly using new platforms to identify potential employees.
Bao Guoying, a human resources officer at ENN Group, a company in Langfang, Hebei province, that specializes in the exploitation of clean energy, was looking for technical talent in nuclear fusion, new energy storage technology and the use of a form of carbon called graphene.
She realized that North America boasts a high number of such talents, so instead of organizing campus recruitment drives or approaching an influential figure in the industry to set up a team - as she had done many times since 2007 - she turned to a professional networking website as a new talent-spotting channel.
"Almost all the technical talents in North America have accounts on LinkedIn, and we believe the platform can help us reach a wider range of candidates in a more efficient way," she said.
The company and the platform began to collaborate and through the data provided by the website's users they were able to precisely locate particular people and communicate with them online. Late last month, ENN held two seminars in the United States to meet the candidates in person, and the efforts, both on and offline, eventually unearthed 10 potential candidates, according to Bao.
As social media develops, human resources executives are increasingly turning to online platforms during the different stages of recruitment: looking for candidates from both home and abroad; setting up accounts on social media to target likely job candidates; and using the platforms to conduct background checks on potential employees.
"The workplace is a network of connections, like those between an employer and an employee, a boss and their subordinates, and between a team of colleagues. A person's connections on social media platforms are a reflection of those in their real lives," said Zhou Xiaolin, head of recruitment at Home Credit Group, a global provider of consumer finance based in the northern port city of Tianjin.
"These networking media enable us to easily reach people worldwide, and see clearly who they interact with, which topics they pay attention to, their interests and hobbies. which help recruiters to make wiser, informed decisions."
Bao said this new way of searching for talent is radically different from the methods employed in the past.
Traditional recruitment channels do not allow companies to reach people who are looking for jobs, but now human resources workers can distribute information to all users of specific social media platforms, including those who want to build a career profile but rarely take the initiative to look for a new job.
"These people are precious to 'talent sourcers' because they are usually influential figures in the industry or they play a big role in their current positions," she said.
Recruitment experts believe that hiring via social media will become an important trend because it combines people's everyday need for communication and their expectations for career development.
Wang Huan, head of customer success at LinkedIn China, said the platform can provide companies with some of the information they require, such as identifying the cities in which experts in a particular field gather - especially Chinese people who are usually favored by Chinese companies because of their linguistic and cultural backgrounds - and make them aware of rivals who are also competing to hire those talent.