Businesses have adopted Slack to speed up office communication. Now, workers are using the messaging tool to speed up job searches.
Soft allows teams and the entire workforce to exchange information instantly, one of the reasons why its use has exploded with the rise of remote working. Slack also hosts freelancing channels for people who don’t work together, and over the past couple of years Slack-based networking groups have grown, giving distant members a way to exchange career advice and tips. .
Many job seekers say they turn to these invitation-only networking forums to land new roles, often much faster than they would with traditional application methods.
“It was crazy,” Clark Barron says of how quickly he found a new job in marketing this month after joining the Cybersecurity Marketing Society, a Slack group started in March 2020.
He submitted a request to join the Slack channel after business contacts introduced him there. Before being admitted, one of the band members bragged about his experience on the channel and reported that he was looking for a job.
Less than a week after joining the Slack channel, Mr. Barron, who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, estimates he’s taken about 20 calls for interviews and introductory conversations.
One was with an employee of the cybersecurity company Nisos, who put him in touch with other people who worked there. A few days after his first conversation with the company, he says he received a job offer.
“I usually ghost or wait around 17 days,” says Barron, who starts this week with the Alexandria, Va.-based company.
Slack Technologies, which is owned by Salesforce.com Inc., says it doesn’t know how many networking groups exist on its platform, but a search found networking channels for professionals in technology, human resources , sales, recruitment and other fields. They range from the MKTG WMN for women in marketing to the Customer Education Org for product instruction specialists, and many say their memberships have grown during the pandemic.
One Slack group, Blacks in Technology, estimates it has amassed nearly 8,000 members since its inception about seven years ago, including about 3,000 in the past two years, according to group founder Greg Greenlee.
Job matches often come from employees sharing opportunities at their company. For groups dedicated to professionals from underrepresented backgrounds, peer endorsements of companies and their cultures are powerful, some members say.
“If you have a person who vouches for a company, that’s going to speak a lot louder than a recruiter who comes in and posts a job ad and says, ‘We’re looking for diverse talent,'” says Greenlee.
Workplace and industry forums also exist on Reddit, Fishbowl, and Discord, but their users tend to post messages anonymously. Many Slack forums include members’ real names and places of work, and archives of public group conversations are available and searchable by all users. Members can send each other private messages.
According to Stephanie Ciccone-Nascimento, a career coach who also trains recruiters, job applicants who contact hiring managers through Slack can be fast-tracked through the application process because they have a personal connection to the groups. She belongs to seven such Slack communities, she says. They’re especially useful for people who are moving into new areas, she says.
“You can be anywhere and still have conversations and connect,” says Ciccone-Nascimento.
Maria Velasquez, who co-founded and helps administer the Cybersecurity Marketing Society, landed a new job through the group this year. She met her future boss, Chris Kolling of Feroot Security, last fall when he asked the Slack group for advice on translating data and she told him about a tool she had used.
Later that year when he posted a job offer for the band. Ms. Velasquez responded quickly and was hired. She started at the Toronto security software provider in February.
“I’m just a resume on the pile,” she says. “The community knows me on a personal level.”
The Cybersecurity Marketing Society also hosts virtual events, a pet photo collection, and a “beers and tears” forum, where members share their professional accomplishments and disappointments. Users also often report other professionals looking for work to the Slack group.
When Colorado cybersecurity startup Automox announced layoffs in April, one member shared a spreadsheet of affected employees, leading to at least one hiring elsewhere, according to Gianna Whitver, another of the group’s co-founders.
People’s interactions in Slack groups also give recruiters clues about who workers really are.
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When Hannah O’Toole, a recruiter in California, was looking for a job at the start of the pandemic, she messaged Char Delapena, co-founder of URx, a Slack community for early career talent scouts. She asked if Robinhood Markets Inc..
the investment platform and employer of Ms. Delapena at the time, had no opening.
Because Slack group chats have been visible for weeks and months, Ms. Delapena says she watched Ms. O’Toole’s chats on the Slack group to get an idea of how she approached her job, and then messaged Ms. O’Toole’s colleagues on the referrals platform. Ms. O’Toole got the job.
Earlier this year, Ms O’Toole landed another job after receiving a direct Slack message from a colleague from a previous job. The colleague had since joined Figma, a collaborative design software company, and told her about a position on the team, she says.
“Everyone in the industry is basically into it,” she says of the Slack group.
Write to Lindsay Ellis at [email protected]
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