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Social Media For the Job Seeker

Social Media For the Job Seeker – A Primer

By Ralph Haas

For those of us whose roots were planted in Boomer soil, this whole “job search via social media” development is a bit unsettling. Yet, since the folks at Jobvite suggest that over 90% of the firms they surveyed will use social networks as a part of their hiring plans this year, it is important for those in an active search to get at least a bit more comfortable with this new technology.  A few nuggets gleaned Jobvite’s new report might help:   

1. When hiring officials say that they’re using “social media” (or “social networks”), the majority of them are simply saying that they have incorporated three websites into their strategy: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. OK, a few of them are using YouTube, MySpace and various blogging sites, but not very many.

3. When respondents report using “social media to support their recruiting effort,” sometimes they mean that they are simply using these channels to “promote their brand.” When they are merely “promoting their brand,” they mean they are putting videos up on YouTube, essentially running free advertisements. This doesn’t have much to do with hiring/recruiting, so job seekers can worry less about YouTube (until it’s interview prep time). That takes some of the edge off that 92%, as only 58% of the respondents in this study actually made a hire via social networks last year. Still a big number, but less daunting.

4. When hiring managers actually want to post a job opening, LinkedIn and Twitter get the lion’s share, with nearly 70% of respondents indicating that these will be the two likeliest channels they’ll turn to for posting new positions. They also used LinkedIn to seek referrals to qualified potential candidates, to identify and contact passive candidates who might not be in an active search, and to research candidates (i.e., read their profile) they might have come across during an active search process. 

Additional conclusions from the study:

  • Staffing departments, who have less money to spend on recruiting due to the economy, still plan to increase spending on social media strategy and corporate career sites, and to decrease spending on external (third-party) recruiters and on-campus recruiting.
  • After all the candidates for the year of the study had been hired, some familiar tunes surfaced again: The highest quality candidates came–still and always–from personal/professional referrals. Conversely, the lowest quality of candidates came from those who applied for the job via the job boards. 

Incorporating social media and into a job search isn’t quite as complicated as you may have feared. A solid search strategy today will include posting your profile on LinkedIn, checking the job postings that may turn up on LinkedIn and Twitter, and incorporating YouTube into the research component of your search. There’s a bit more to it, but–Boomers: don’t be put off by the new vocabulary. We can do this.