Monster's BeKnown Disrupts: Meet New School Social Networking

Weekends aren’t the usual time for companies to drop market-making news, but it happened this weekend, when Monster announced the launch of BeKnown, a networking application which marries the social-media savvy and vast audience of Facebook (more than 750 million users) with the track record and recruiting muscle of Monster

I was prepared in briefings last week so it was not a complete surprise to me. I’m still pondering the ramifications of this shiny tool. But it happened, and in the reporting that accompanied the announcement, one observation went unsaid.

Old School, Meet New School

For recruiters and talent management pros everywhere, it’s an announcement that’s been a long time coming. I’ve known the team at Monster for many years and through many of it’s revisions. As one of our #TChat media partners I offer Monster a huge congratulations and am very pleased about the news. And while some companies may feel a bit threatened or fear disintermediation, it is a good thing for our industry. Time will tell how quickly people and companies can adopt the new technology in a way that is useful.

For job seekers, it’s a revolution that continues to unfold. Revolutions change things, and people have to figure out how to use the change to their advantage – and do it quickly. Does this mean no more need for recruiters? Absolutely not, and more on that later too.

With BeKnown, job searchers – passive or active – have a new tool with which to create professional networks. Users can construct an old-school presentation of their accomplishments – a social resume – and float it out, while keeping their personal and professional networks separate, into the powerful, new school Facebook stream.

There are other real contenders in this game – LinkedIn, with ~100 million users, and an early innovator giant kudos goes to BranchOut, a Facebook application created by a bunch of smart, Silicon Valley VC-backed entrepreneurs. There is zero question they are early adopters in this space. Both are excellent tools, but neither has the recruiting backbone of Monster. I wonder how this will play out in the marketplace. Will be interesting to watch the developments.

What does this mean for recruiters?

We will have to be smarter and work harder for clients to prove our value. But I’d argue that the vastness that is Facebook will turn out to be a great thing for recruiters who continue to pivot quickly to offer services to help clients bridge the worlds of social interaction and job search. I’ve been to Leadership and HR conferences and talked to lots of recruiters in the past few years, and most of them have been looking for something like BeKnown. Why? Because most recruiters are already social media-savvy, but most companies don’t have the bandwidth to construct social communities to attract prime recruits. BeKnown could be a/the invaluable bridge.

What does it mean for job seekers?

More access. A new channel, in a familiar Facebook form. More than 700 million other users, loosely-connected into a huge job-sharing and job-hunting network. What BeKnown doesn’t have that recruiters offer: a tight, focused relationship, built on trust, with a professional who knows the ins and outs of job hunting, personal branding, talent management and career-building.

BeKnown will create disruption, but it also will create opportunity for job seekers and recruiters. What it won’t do? Replace relationships.

The loose bonds many of us have with Facebook friends are fragile, transient things, made more transient by frequent, subtle tweaks to Facebook’s algorithms which create a social filter many users barely notice. Facebook’s privacy issues and lack of transparency are real concerns that will continue to be managed. Nevertheless, BeKnown is a step forward for job seekers at a time when many need the extra help and visibility. And for recruiters, it’s a missing piece – a social edge, a new channel, a new way to add and prove the value of relationships.

Please see more thoughtful analysis of this news from Josh Bersin.

It’s old school meets new school. And I could not be happier.

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