Southwest Airlines Blog Taps Best of Web 2.0

Just when it seems that recruiters are shunning the power of Web 2.0, along comes perennial hot employer Southwest Airlines.

The company is chatting with you, your neighbor, and your potential next star candidate about lots of Southwest-related things in a new blog, aptly titled “Nuts About Southwest.”

On the blog, the company notes that “we want to build a personal relationship between our team and you, and we need your participation. Everyone is encouraged to join in, and you don’t need to register to read, watch, or comment. However, if you would like to share photos or videos or rate a post, among other things, you will need to complete a profile.”

The JobsinPods.com team calls it “probably the best employment branding site we’ve ever seen,” noting its use of a blog; photos via Flickr; YouTube-hosted videos; polls; RSS feeds; and podcasts.

So if you’re contemplating a career in the airline industry, let’s compare Southwest to how other airlines are communicating with an audience full of potential applicants: Delta Airlines has a few creative things but is mostly ignoring any use of interactivity anywhere on its site. The same goes for the websites for American Airlines and Continental Airlines, both drastically devoid of any human-esque interaction, though they tie for having the most boring and static career sites. Even JetBlue Airlines, considered one of the more “inspiring” airlines, has a rather flat, “log-in required” website that isn’t much higher of the cool scale.

What About Me?

Well, if you’re like most other companies, you’re not as cool as Southwest. (But you might not be as bad as some of Southwest’s competitors though.)

ERE’s recent webinar pointed out that social networking tools allows personalization and control; is fun and engaging; has global reach; and provides for in-depth customization.

Also, a study conducted recently in the United Kingdom shows that only 10% of recruiters use social networking sites and only a small minority use blogs, videos, or other Web 2.0 technology for recruitment. The research suggests that one of the reasons why social networks have been slow to take off as a recruitment tool is because recruiters do not consider them a credible way to communicate, despite large numbers of their target labor market using them regularly.

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“Recruiters may be missing a trick by not adopting Web 2.0 technology. They need to engage with job seekers to encourage them to apply for jobs. Text-heavy recruitment pages with no interactivity will not win the hearts and minds of the Web 2.0 generation,” said Cranfield University research fellow Emma Parry, in the study.

What to Do

You can do it yourself, finally tapping into the power of MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., or you can pay someone for help.

SuccessFactors, for one, has a new “Web 2.0-based collaborative network,” a solution that helps you learn about tagging, social networking, and other tools.

Kevin Wheeler wrote a whole column about this, said it’s here to stay, and shared tips on how to gain a competitive edge.

In reality, Web 2.0 is so here to stay it’s practically over. So what is your company waiting for?

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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