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Mumbai: Can 140 characters land you a job? Most definitely, says 27-year-old Dharmesh Gandhi, a content strategist on the programming team at Star TV India Ltd. Because that’s how he got hired—thanks to his tweets.

“Almost 80% of my tweets were about TV shows and movies," he says. That came to the attention of his current boss, who was setting up a team. Gandhi was called for an interview, and hired.

It’s not just tweets that employers are seeking out. Companies are increasingly using social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Hangouts, too, to reach out to the larger talent pool, say experts.

Naveen Narayanan, global head of talent acquisition at HCL Technologies Ltd, said, “If a company today is not using social media to hire, they are missing out on a huge database of talent. We at HCL use social media for candidate consideration, talent scouting and building of our brand. We use a combination of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to hire."

According to a February report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, of the 80 million active Internet users in urban India, 72% use some form of social networking, making it the second-most used activity after email at 80% in terms of usage.

Irfan Abdulla, director (talent solutions) at LinkedIn India, said the company has three revenue streams in India—talent, marketing and subscription “and more than half of our revenue is coming from talent".

He added: “While hiring, any CEO will look at three matrices: the time to hire, the quality to hire and the cost of hiring, and social media is a unique and huge platform for getting good quality candidates."

Social recruiting for mid-level and starting positions happens through Facebook and senior and higher-level hiring happens primarily through LinkedIn, according to Adhvith Dhuddu, chief executive officer of AliveNow, a social media management company.

Twitter is used mostly as a tool to spread awareness through regular tweets and retweets from corporate HR (human resources) accounts and team members.

Social media helps companies reach out to a large talent pool that has skills and is interested, but may not be aware about openings, said Gautam Ghosh, HR expert and blogger. “Both the employer and the employee get to showcase themselves better through this medium. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter—all three can be used effectively to showcase work," he said. Reducing headhunter costs is an added advantage.

Traditional hiring techniques involve a lot of time and company resources in screening the pool of applicants/job seekers when it comes to recruiting high-quality talent, said Manish Madan, head of talent acquisition at Ingersoll-Rand (India) Ltd, a diversified engineering company.

“Utilizing common social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn eliminates the need to employ techniques such as newspaper ads, employment agencies and job fairs, which require a lot of financial support as well," Madan said.

Not everything on a social media website needs to be genuine, said some experts. But it can be used as a reference checkpoint and for employee screening, said Suveer Bajaj, founding partner and director at FoxyMoron, a brand strategy consulting firm. On the other hand, saying the wrong thing on a social media site will be punished.

“There are a lot of cases where people have lost jobs due to inappropriate content," Bajaj said. Some use alternative handles on social media sites to avoid falling into this trap, he said.

Some experts say social media isn’t the right avenue for hiring senior-level talent. The hype around social media is way ahead of its time, said Manish Sabharwal, chairman of TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd.

“And if technology was a game changer, unemployment rates would have been lower. Social media only works for middle-level management, while bulk of hiring happens at top and bottom level, and social media has still not reached that stage," he said.

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