Facing up to Facebook

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Social networking is all the rage, but will it really help you land a job in investment banking?

A quick look on the ever-growing Linked In and Facebook websites shows listings of managing directors, vice-presidents, and bankers at all conceivable levels of seniority, in all conceivable business areas, and from all conceivable countries.

For recruitment firms it looks a bit like a dream come true - once they've managed to penetrate the network there's all that talent there for the picking. Unsurprisingly, some have latched on.

Michael Markiewicz, of Carmichael Fisher, says both Linked In and Facebook are becoming increasingly popular as networking tools for recruiters.

"These sites are being used big time by some of my people," Markiewicz says. "Our business is all about networking, and if another tool comes along we'll give it a go."

Approaching candidates via the likes of Facebook involves trying to search through members of specific groups on the site to target industry professionals.

The downside of Facebook in particular, however, is that recruiters and potential employers may also be treated to photographs of people on the beach or looking the worse for wear after a night out.

For this reason, it may be better to stick to professionally-oriented networks like Linked In, which are designed for business rather than social acquaintances.

Eleanor Slack of Carmichael Fisher says she much prefers Linked In as a recruitment tool because it can be used to email people directly or to search up individuals who can be contacted by phone.

Some recruiters prefer to steer clear of social networking, period. Adam Kolokotsas, segment manager, accounting, banking and finance at Tanner Menzies, says other recruiters are definitely at it, but using all the info people post online to source candidates seems "a little bit cheap" and ethically dubious: "For us, as an executive recruitment business, we wouldn't think to use something like that. I guess we're a bit old-fashioned and staid."

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