Competition for tech talent in Silicon Valley is particularly keen among companies that produce electronic games. The need for workers with software programming skills is so acute that gaming companies have taken to the Web, producing recruiting videos that showcase corporate culture and the products they make -- and sometimes also take aim at the competition.
One example is Kixeye, a fast-growing maker of "hard-core" social games. The San Francisco-based company, which has about 250 employees and is reportedly adding about 20 more each month, has unleashed a recruiting video that appears to target rivals Zynga and Electronic Arts, though not by name.
The video, which has been viewed about 250,000 times, pans Kixeye's rivals for producing lame products in its efforts to recruit developers who want to make "kick ass" games. (The video contains language too graphic for us to include here, but it can be watched on YouTube.)
As VentureBeat reports, Kixeye, which has a fairly small fan base of 4.8 million users monthly, is one of the most profitable game companies on Facebook. Its free-to-play hard-core games make a lot money, and it's using that money to recruit the best talent available.
Another high-tech company, Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics, takes a different approach in attracting engineers, using an intriguing video (see below) to demonstrate a future world in which robots possess human-like athleticism and agility. On its careers website, Aldebaran says that it's looking for engineers who can "be creative, be different, be humble and ambitious ... [and] if on top of that you are a funny geek, come join us!"
Of course, companies' online recruiting efforts aren't limited to video. Many have set up Facebook and Twitter accounts in the hope of engaging job seekers with in-demand skills through social networks.
Starbucks Corp. began its social-media recruitment program nearly three years ago by establishing a Starbucks' Jobs account on Twitter. Within five months, the page had 34,000 "engaged" followers, according to Jeremy Laghans, who began and managed the initiative, prior to his departure last March.
Langhans told The Network that prospective employees were thrilled to be able to talk with a Starbucks representative one-on-one, rather than submitting employment inquiries to a black hole.
"When I actually replied to people who sent me tweets and direct messages, it took off like wildfire," Langhans told the technology-news site. "People loved that there was a real person there to address their queries."
So are social media and viral videos as a recruitment tool here to stay or just a fad? A recent poll by Jobvite showed that 92 percent of more than 1,000 human-resource professionals and recruiters worldwide now use social media as a way to find talent, up from 78 percent in 2008.
The survey found that LinkedIn, which is focused on building career networks, was the most heavily used social network among recruiters -- 93 percent said they used it -- though Facebook and Twitter saw greater growth in the past year.
Among other findings, the survey showed:
- Two-thirds of recruiters now use Facebook, a jump of 11 points from 55 percent last year. With more than 900 million users, employers clearly want to tap this huge talent pool.
- For the first time, more than half (54 percent) of recruiters now use Twitter for their talent search, indicating that job seekers should be judicious in deciding what to tweet.
As Starbucks' experience suggests, social networks can be potentially powerful and useful tool for job seekers. But, says Josh Tolan, CEO at Spark Hire Inc., a company that promotes using video for job seeking and recruiting, applicants need to use them strategically.
Don't use a company's -- or a recruiter's -- Facebook and Twitter pages to glean basic information, such as job openings or what the company does, Tolan told AOL Jobs in an interview. Instead, dig deeper. For example, you might ask a specific question about a particular job opening that you're aware of.
Companies won't always respond but if they do, be spare in any follow-up questions and use your time effectively, Tolan says. Also, don't assume that social media is a shortcut to getting hired. Most online job listings provide step-by-step directions on how to apply and it's important to follow them.
According to Tolan, "They're telling you the way to apply for a certain reason."
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