To Be or Not To Be Linked on LinkedIn: Job Search Using Online Social Networks

Thursday, January 17, 2013 ( 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm )

Location: Babbio 430

Howe School Talk

Rajiv Garg, Ph.D. candidate Carnegie Mellon University



Prior research suggests that social connections like friends and family – usually categorized as strong- and weak-ties – are valuable in a job search process. Nevertheless, the size of an average job seeker’s network was limited because of constraints posed by the available modes of communication and costs associated with maintaining those connections. The recent growth of online social networks has enabled job seekers to stay connected with all of their acquaintances, peers, friends, and family. Thus the number of online connections – weak or strong – that an individual is able to manage has increased significantly. In this paper, we first examine if an individual’s social network still plays a role in driving his/her job search behavior not only on the social network but also on other modes. Second, we examine how the ties (weak and strong) and search intensity affect the job outcomes (which we model sequentially as job leads, interviews and offers) from online social networks and compare it to job outcomes from traditional job search modes like career fairs and employment agencies, newspaper and magazine ads, Internet postings, and close friends and family (offline). We first built an economic model of search behavior with cost and benefit functions and then estimated the model to recover some key estimates and structural parameters using a survey data. We found that users with more weak-ties search more and users with more strong-ties search less. We also find that weak-ties are especially helpful in generating job leads, but it is the strong-ties that play an important role in generating job interviews and job offers.


RAJIV GARG is a doctoral candidate at the School of Information Systems and Management at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. He received graduate degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, both from University of Southern California and an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology. His research interests are on the intersection of economics, marketing, and information systems with a focus on digital, social and mobile platforms. Rajiv is a senior member of IEEE and has been serving on the board of various IEEE sections and several organizations during the past decade. Rajiv’s research work has been selected for publication in the MIS Quarterly, Journal of Management Information Systems and various peer reviewed conference proceedings like International Conference on Information Systems. Rajiv has reviewed articles for academic journals like Management Science, Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, and other peer reviewed journals and conferences. He has also chaired sessions at INFORMS Annual Meeting and served on the program committee for Conference on Information Systems and Technology.


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