PanamaTimes

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

The whisper networks helping workers get jobs

The whisper networks helping workers get jobs

Private online communities for like-minded professionals are growing in popularity – and they’re being used by employees to land their next role.

In 2015, David Feinman joined a new community of digital marketers on Skype. “It was 200 people bouncing ideas off one another,” explains the Pennsylvania-based video-advertising agency owner. “The founder had originally wanted to figure out an SEO [search] problem, so he brought a bunch of SEO workers into one group and had them work on it. After they solved the issue, people brought up other problems to fix; before you knew it, it was a superpower group.”

The community switched to messaging platform Slack. Membership soon swelled: thousands of workers began joining. Today, Online Geniuses has 40,000 digital marketers from all over the world. “We have different Slack channels for any type of digital marketing topic,” says Feinman, now a partner and moderator of the group. “Every day, people will share their questions, ideas and projects they’re working on; if you have a problem, you can be unstuck in minutes.”

Online Geniuses also acts as a job board, with a dedicated hiring channel. “Yesterday, we had six vacancies posted,” says Feinman. He estimates up to 40 roles are shared on the network every week, with members giving one another a “heads-up” on the latest opportunities at their companies. Contract work is also available. “It can be task-based, where someone is looking for a specific expert to run analytics, and the person who’s done it 200 times before replies and gets the work.”

Being part of the group can give candidates an edge when it comes to hiring: job-seekers can effectively receive an employee recommendation from within their network or have a head start in the hiring process based on their post history. “Members can make a name for themselves in front of thousands of people, just by helping others out,” says Feinman. “We have digital marketers from some of the biggest companies in the world as the peer group.”

Personal referrals resulting from networking are often more likely to be hired - Lauren Thomas


Today, there is a growing number of private channels like this that enable professionals to network, problem solve and enhance their careers. Many of these are on Slack, with tech workers particularly utilising the collaboration tool they use every day at work to form online communities. Employees in these networks may increase their chances of landing their next role by forming connections that could potentially fast-track their application, rather than applying via a more traditional recruitment process or platform.

The benefits for these workers seem obvious. But access to closed groups, and their job-seeking opportunities, is ultimately decided by those who control them. As technology’s role in recruitment thrives, and demand for employees in certain sectors continues to flourish, these private networks are set to become a more ingrained component of the labour market going forward – with wider implications for the workforce writ large.

‘The hidden job market’


Networking and fostering professional relationships have long been key components of a career. So, in some ways, private job networks are nothing new.

Lauren Thomas, European economist at company-reviews website Glassdoor, based in London, says these types of communities have existed in previous guises. “These groups for people with similar professional backgrounds and interests are the online equivalent of inviting your acquaintances to the pub to discuss job opportunities: they’re like virtual networking sessions.”

Employers have also long taken advantage of these evolving communities, continues Thomas, as it allows them to widen the search for their ideal candidate. “From the classified section in newspapers, to websites and now social media to promote opportunities: every time a technological advance in communication has happened, employers have made use of it.”

However, these efforts may have ramped up following the hiring crisis, leading to a spike in vacancies being shared on private networks by employees and hiring managers. “Personal referrals resulting from networking are often more likely to be hired,” adds Thomas. “And with current labour shortages, employers are desperate to hire and are looking for any edge they can.”

Recruiters move with the times - and will tap into whatever technological or communications advances occur


Kathy Gardner, of remote job-site FlexJobs, based in New York City, describes these closed groups as part of a new “hidden job market”: a career opportunity not always posted across job boards, social media or company websites. “While this market once heavily relied on employee connections at a given company or word of mouth,” she adds, “advancements in tech and virtual tools have helped create new ways of carrying on the same concept.”

The rise of remote working has also boosted the growth of membership-based online groups. Feinman says with fewer opportunities to network in person, employees are looking to do so online instead. “Those that work remotely have lost that ability to have co-workers in their workspace. So, these communities are a super-powerful way of seamlessly connecting over a workday.”

For workers granted access to these communities, they not only have a network they can leverage to chat with peers and share knowledge – they also have a job-seeking tool they can utilise at will. “People will look for different specialties within our channel, freelance out work or offer a full-time job,” says Feinman. “Tons and tons of jobs have been exchanged within our community.”

The wider implications


Thomas believes these private online communities will continue to flourish and become a more ingrained part of job seeking. She says it speaks to a wider trend in how technology is being used in hiring. “It allows both sides of the market to evaluate more potential matches.”

While employee referrals have always been a way for candidates to fast-track their job applications, closed groups may have unintended consequences. “Although these online communities are being utilised by some workers, many others don’t know these groups exist,” says Carly Mednick, chief operating officer at New York-based recruiting company Monday Talent. “There can be a general lack of awareness.”

Tons and tons of jobs have been exchanged within our community - David Feinman


Increasingly, recruiters may tap into these networks as a hiring resource. "It's something we’d absolutely consider,” says Mednick. “That said, there can be questions around diversity with invite-only channels. There can be a barrier for people who aren’t able to get into these communities because although they may be qualified, they may lack the connections to get into the group if it's ‘exclusive’.”

A closed group means membership ultimately falls under the control of its moderators: the gatekeepers who decide whether an employee can be in a network. Online Geniuses has a 15-person team that runs its community. Feinman says while there is a mix of junior- and senior-level employees, around 25% of applications to the group end up rejected on the basis they don’t work within digital marketing. “We have a three-week manual vetting process with a waitlist of a thousand people at any given time. We constantly review profiles to ensure the group has a high quality. If anyone spams or doesn’t provide value, they’re removed.”

However, Feinman adds that access to the community is relatively straightforward and not exclusive. “If you’re in digital marketing, it’s not that hard to get in. It’s important to have people within that discipline and career so you end up with a group of people doing work that you can learn from. We want it to be the future of education for digital marketers: having a strong job network is simply a bonus.”

Bonus or not, the hiring crisis has shown workers will always be looking for better ways to find jobs – and that employers will always be looking for better ways to find good candidates. With the labour market still tight, these 'whisper networks' are likely to prove advantageous to both sides going forward.

“The use of these types of platforms for job postings speaks to how the market is shifting from more formal to more casual modes of communication,” says Thomas. “It’s no surprise both employers and employees see this as a complement to their current job search portfolio.”

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×