"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% 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% 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%) 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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