State spends $23K on networking site to fill vacant positions

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The state is turning to the Internet in hopes of landing qualified workers for highly skilled, high-paying jobs.

Traditional methods have fallen short, so they’re using your money to launch a pilot project in hopes of targeting, and landing, the best and the brightest.

With unemployment near an all-time low, the state is among those having a difficult time hiring the right person for the right job.

So it’s turning to LinkedIn, a social media networking site for professionals, in hopes of opening the door to a new pool of applicants.

“This is the first time that the state is using this type of tool to recruit new employees,” said Todd Nacapuy, chief information officer for the state’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services.

Nacapuy says his office has tried on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to attract new employees, but all without success.

So the Office of Enterprise Technology Services is spending nearly $23,000 to create a personalized employer LinkedIn page to market themselves as an “employer of choice.”

“What is different about the way you’re going to be able to access LinkedIn versus the way everybody else who doesn’t pay to be part of the process?” KHON2 asked.

“Right now, you can do a search for someone’s name or email address, but this gives us the ability to search different functions that people make available for that feature, like what their specific skill sets are,” Nacapuy said. “So if we’re looking for somebody who is an environmental engineer that lives in Hawaii or has indicated they want to move back here, we’re able to find that in our search string.”

Nacapuy says the platform that they’re gaining access to is also a two-way street.

“That’s really the key to it,” he said. “With this account, we’re able to throw up all of our jobs on LinkedIn and thus they are able to find us a lot easier than the traditional website route.”

As for some of the positions available, Nacapuy noted that “some of them pay $100,000, so some of them are very high-paying jobs… We’re having a very difficult time finding candidates that meet the specific requirements for those jobs.”

At the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, there’s a handful of high-paying jobs open, including one for a senior systems engineer with the starting pay of around $96,000 a year.

We checked other departments too. There’s an opening at Hawaii State Hospital for a registered nurse and house supervisor with starting pay at around $103,000, and a business management officer position paying about $82,000.

There are dozens of jobs waiting to be filled at the state, but is this LinkedIn feature really worth all our tax dollars? We turned to the head of a local human resources company that’s used LinkedIn.

Ben Godsey says it was successful for his company, and he’s happy to see the state thinking progressively.

“It’s extremely challenging to find good employees right now, so to have the state doing innovative things to fill certain roles will for us be a good thing for the state to reap the benefits of better employees,” he said.

Although Nacapuy is hoping to recruit for his enterprise technology services division, he says every other state department that is looking to fill jobs will also have access to the platform

He says they’ll evaluate the return on their investment after six months and decide if they want to extend the program.

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