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Recruiting Employees 2.0

When it comes to finding the best employees, technology can put you on a level playing field with the big guys.
November 1, 2007

When Kelly Cutler researched job applicants for a recent opening at Marcel Media, her Chicago search engine marketing company, she didn't stick just to the information they provided. She and co-founder Ben Swartz, both 33, checked out prospects on social networking site LinkedIn. "You get recommendations from their colleagues and customers and see their entire network of people," says Cutler.

Hiring has changed from the days when resumes, interviews and reference checks were an employer's sole means of screening candidates. Technology is opening up more possibilities to compete with larger companies for the best hires, says David Nour, managing partner of Relationship Economics LLP, who coaches clients on using technology to acquire top talent. Take networking sites, for example. "Traditional resumes tell you what you want to hear," Nour says. "I'm looking for different perspectives on this person. LinkedIn shows you guilt by association." Entrepreneurs can contact the candidate's associates to learn more about the person. Other networking sites include ZoomInfo and Spoke, but that's only the start.

If you're wondering why you should bother with all this, Cutler points out the appeal of a cutting-edge workplace. "What's the cost of not doing it?" Nour asks. Large companies have deeper pockets and more perks to offer. Why not showcase what makes you distinct? And these tools can reduce the risk of a bad hire. After all, says Nour, "you don't want to go in the wrong direction with gusto."