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In the immediate panic of a recession, most companies try to save money by reducing their labor force. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate remained steady at about 9.4% throughout June and July. This suggests that the most drastic cuts are done and perhaps, even more promising, that companies are becoming ready to move forward by reinvesting in quality employees. Are you one of these companies? Be creative in your new hire search by leveraging the power of social networking., a website geared toward management teams, recently posted a great case study on how a San Francisco PR company used social media to find the perfect staffer—who otherwise would not have found the company. LaunchSquad, the PR firm, began its search by "…looking for people who were commenting on our client companies or things related to public relations," said partner and company cofounder Jason Throckmorton.

Through Twitter, the company found Megan Soto, who was then a senior at the University of Oregon. Soto had Tweeted about Vivaty, a virtual community and LaunchSquad client. Interested in learning more about Soto, the company Googled her and found her blog. They liked what they saw, contacted her, interviewed her, and eventually offered her a position. A perfect example of how companies should go beyond posting job ads and instead aggressively search out qualified—and well-suited—individuals via social networking. It’s today’s free, savvy, and innovative way to once again build up your company’s most important assets: its people.