Recruiting the right person for the right job can become a real headache for HR departments and CEOs when the skills you need are in short supply. These rare skills can sometimes be found a long way from the job market, which is where recruiters normally look. This can be the case, for example with high potential recruits or highly technical posts. To find exactly the right person, sometimes you need to use your network.
What makes a good network?
You can understand a network by looking at the strength of its ties. “The strength of a tie is a (probably linear) combination of the amount of time, the emotional intensity, the intimacy (mutual confiding), and the reciprocal services which characterize the tie” (Granovetter, 1973, p. 46). Diagrammatically, a weak tie would be a connector between different social groups and therefore between different sources of recruitment opportunities.
Granovetter puts forward an empirical test of the hypothesis of the strength of weak ties carried out on 300 people who had recently found a job. He showed how strong ties can cause social fragmentation, i.e. individuals breaking up into cliques. These cliques communicate little with the outside world and therefore cannot exchange information with other groups.
Weak ties, on the other hand, enable individuals to seize certain opportunities, e.g. introductions to other cliques and therefore, in our scenario, to other information about potential recruitment. In other works, weak ties give greater access to unknown contacts and new information. Consequently, you should never overlook your weak ties because they could be an important way of finding exactly the person you’re looking for.
Article written by Maryline BOURDIL and Mickael GERAUDEL, both researchers and educators at Montpellier Business School, France.
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