SmartRecruiters Blog

Social Footprint: A New Way To Recruit

Resumes are dead. People don’t see it yet, but it’s clearly there. There is no sense of having a resume, because what’s a resume? It’s a piece of paper that has no interactivity, no history, no context,” said Jerome Ternynck, CEO of SmartRecruiters (Video Below).

Recruiters are not just relying on a simple paper cover letter and resume today. Resumes, limited to one page, simply don’t paint your professional picture. At SmartUp: Big Data Recruiting, Peter Kazanjy, Founder of TalentBin stressed the need to look deeper into candidates, farther than just a resume.

With the Resume “you’re talking about thousand characters of content to make a judgment about somebody, its more like ten thousand or one hundred thousand characters of professionally relevant content that describe a human.” (Video Below)

Technological developments in candidate management softwares and sourcing systems, as well as, online social media profiles have changed the game for both employers and job seekers. Recruiters are moving more and more towards the web to source candidates, but they aren’t just clicking through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles. They don’t just want to hear what you’re good at, they want to see it. And what shows them this?

Your social footprint.


Any programmer can say they’re good at something. They can list their certifications, experience, and degrees on their resume. But finding out how good they actually are is a challenge that recruiters face when sourcing programmers and developers. The recruiter’s need to look deeper into a candidate’s job history and experience has led to the development of databases that rank developers and programmers based on their social footprint.

So what is a social footprint? It’s a person’s presence and impact on the internet. When looking at someone’s social footprint, you are measuring what and how well they have done anything online. Kazanjy explained on Quora how you look at a developer’s social footprint, and why you should recruit using it:

“The belief is that using implicit professional information that is visible on the web, properly interpreted (e.g., “This person is a member of these professionally relelvant Meetups, does this on Quora, tweets about these things, and does this on Github, thus they’re into Java, Ruby, Objective-C, and mobile.”) is a better way of finding people who have the requisite skills for roles you’re recruiting for.”

The social footprint gives you an idea of what they’ve done, both professionally and independently.  It gives you an actual idea of their skills and interests, and some companies and recruiting softwares even developed a system to rank candidates. It’s about looking at more than just bullet points on a resume.

Because skills and qualifications of programmers and developers are harder to measure, the social footprint gives a recruiter a better overall profile of a candidate.  Not only does it paint a better picture, social footprints are also more efficient for recruiting both active job seekers and passive candidates. Referring to the current inefficiencies of recruiting, Entelo founder Jon Bischke said on Quora:

“They carpet bomb everyone who looks even remotely like a fit in the hopes of hitting the needle in the haystack and finding the candidate who is actually looking for something new. And that’s horribly inefficient.” 

Instead of spraying and praying for candidates, recruiters can use a social footprint to get a better idea of not only who would make a good fit, but also source passive candidates who are actually looking to move. These databases use an algorithm to track candidates that might be looking for a change in career. For example, the algorithm will take into account a company’s large drop in stock, layoffs, or executives leaving the company.

The social footprint will have a major impact on recruiting in the future, especially for programmers and developers. Companies not only will be able to see concrete evidence of a programmers work. Recruiters will also be able to source passive candidates who are actually interested in a career move, as while as job seekers actively searching for work.

At SmartRecruiters’ SmartUp: Beyond the Resume, Bischke summed up the power of the social footprint, and its impact on future recruiting.

“We believe that when people hire in the future, they’ll hire on the basis of what people do, not what people say about themselves.”


SmartRecruiters is the free hiring platform.


From our SmartUp Events, learn more from TalentBin‘s Pete Kazanjy:

From our SmartUp Events, learn more from Entelo’s Job Bischke:

And SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck on the Death of Resume:

Joe Hanson

Joe strongly believes that content is king, and that consistently creating and publishing remarkable content is the best way to market a product. Former Blogging Intern at SmartRecruiters, and current Social/Content Marketing Manager at PubNub.