Rhonda S. Hughes

Remodelers who have found reasons to hire lately are finding that the usual methods — newspaper ads and job-search websites such as Monster and Career Builder — lead to dozens of unqualified job seekers. An alternative hiring strategy is through social media sites such as Plaxo, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Spoke.

When Steven Whitlock, vice president of human resources and marketing at Hubert Whitlock Builders, in Charlotte, N.C., was seeking a project manager, he went to LinkedIn. At a cost of $200, he posted the open position on the site for a month. “We’d used other online sources and got a lot of extraneous applicants that would have to stretch up for the position,” he says. “We wanted to restrict our recruiting to someone who was Internet savvy.” Whitlock quickly got a reference for a qualified applicant, who turned out to be a great hire.

Social networking sites are not just for finding qualified applicants. Patrick Kennedy, vice president of Superior Woodcraft, in Philadelphia, looks at such sites “to get the general characteristics and personality of [someone]” as well as to gather information to supplement criminal background checks.

Information flows both ways. While you’re checking on them, prospective hires are checking on you. Many younger people live in the social media world, and if you’re not relevant to their world, they may be less inclined to consider employment with you.

--Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.