What I find interesting in the intersection of social networks and jobs is that there is a third party that seems to be completely missed. Specifically, the party that pays the bills the companies.
At the job level the equation gets easier. Use the network for find the right person for the job. Unfortunately, these networks keep on rolling even after the job is filled, and the hired candidate keeps on networking by definition. Two gaping holes:
+ Free-form networking (liked LinkedIn) actually encourages working around the company approved process, and
+ employees could be “networked” out of their new job in a relatively short period.
The solutions that “giveth and taketh away” will be fired in short order once the companies figure it out, which is a material obstacle to the theories of social networking and recruiting.
Responding to John’s point: I’ve heard through the grapevine that both Linkedin and OpenBC have been blocked at certain companies, for the same reason that many companies won’t let their employees surf Monster/HotJobs/Careerbuilder on company time.
Of course, the power of LinkedIn, OpenBC, and like companies is that they provide a motivation for people to maintain their public professional profile on an ongoing basis. By contrast, Monster/HotJobs/Careerbuilder have a relationship of “punctuated equilibrium”: a job-seeker uses them heavily for 2 months, and then doesnt visit the site for 4 years until they start looking for a new job again.
The average American has been employed at his/her job for only 4.0 years. You cannot rely on your employer’s network or your father’s network; you have to build your own flexible, lifetime community to land your next job. When you’re currently employed, you’re only between job searches.