“Crowdsourcing” seems to be the new buzzword in everyone’s mouth these days. Inventors are using this social networking technique to raise funds to build a prototype. Famous authors are inviting audience participation in the writing of their newest novels. Businesses are bringing customers on board to create new marketing ideas.
Now, even job seekers are crowdsourcing aspects of their employment search. For example, Josh Tolan at Spark Hire recently wrote a great article about how to use crowdsourcing to help you prep for an interview with the company of your dreams. He suggests using sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to provide insights into the culture and recruitment process at major corporations. There a few considerations to think about before embarking on a crowdsourced job hunting campaign, so it’s important to be clear if this is a method that will work for you.
Crowdsourcing vs. Networking
What’s the difference? Aren’t you crowdsourcing your job search when you post on Facebook or LinkedIn that you are looking for a job? Is emailing friends and family with a request for their assistance a form of crowdsourcing? Not really. Social networking and crowdsourcing have a lot of overlap. But crowdsourcing tends to be more impersonal. Networking is asking a bunch of people you know to help you find a job. Crowdsourcing is asking a bunch of strangers for help finding a job and often these are almost all people you don't know. Like with crowdfunding capital for a new business venture, you have to provide people with a reason to engage and help you. You need to market yourself and your brand in a very unique way so that people pay attention.
Give & Take
One aspect of crowdsourcing that’s interesting is the occasional incentives involved. For example, Brian McCullough started a crowdsourcing Twitter feed in 2008 called @jobeachday. Brian started by selecting a random job seeker and tweeting their search to his followers. The person who offered the most helpful advice or job lead in response (as determined by the job seeker) got their own job hunt tweeted next.
JobMento takes things a step further by letting job seekers post a “bounty” for crowdsourcers who can help them find a job. In fact, cash rewards are not uncommon. For some job seekers, it’s just another expense like paying for career coaching or resume writing. However, this monetary angle is one reason to be cautious with crowdsourcing and keep it very well separated from networking.
Quality vs. Quantity
With crowdsourcing, you aren’t really trying to build a relationship or establish credibility like you would with a professional network. This means there may be less time and energy involved compared to networking. You widen your reach, but there is a good chance that you won’t get any leads that are even close to being a good fit. That’s because the crowd doesn’t know you. If that’s a risk you’re willing to take, crowdsourcing may be worth a try.
With any new trend you need to research the potential benefit. When video resumes came out people thought this was the next best way to find a better connection between employers and applicants. It turns out that the results have been mixed and many people (due to poor video and on camera abilities) actually soured their odds of getting a job.
There is no doubt in our global technologically advancing culture that leveraging the power of the masses will make a difference in a job search. Take the recent video of the ‘quitting dancing girl” who posted a video of her disdain over her job and after millions of views, job offers came in. This is probably an ultimate un-intentional result of crowdsourcing but it worked.