Which Connections Really Help You Find a Job?

Article by Iavor Bojinov, Karthik Rajkumar, Guillaume Saint-Jacques, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Sinan Aral: “Whom should you connect with the next time you’re looking for a job? To answer this question, we analyzed data from multiple large-scale randomized experiments involving 20 million people to measure how different types of connections impact job mobility. Our results, published recently in Science Magazine, show that your strongest ties — namely your connections to immediate coworkers, close friends, and family — were actually the least helpful for finding new opportunities and securing a job. You’ll have better luck with your weak ties: the more infrequent, arm’s-length relationships with acquaintances.

To be more specific, the ties that are most helpful for finding new jobs tend to be moderately weak: They strike a balance between exposing you to new social circles and information and having enough familiarity and overlapping interests so that the information is useful. Our findings uncovered the relationship between the strength of the connection (as measured by the number of mutual connections prior to connecting) and the likelihood that a job seeker transitions to a new role within the organization of a connection.The observation that weak ties are more beneficial for finding a job is not new. Sociologist Mark Granovetter first laid out this idea in a seminal 1973 paper that described how a person’s network affects their job prospects. Since then, the theory, known as the “strength of weak ties,” has become one of the most influential in the social sciences — underpinning network theories of information diffusion, industry structure, and human cooperation….(More)”.