Going Social: The Role of Social Media in Hiring

July 9th, 2012 | Hiring Resources | No Comments »

You can’t get online anymore without seeing at least a handful of references to some miscellaneous social media platform. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter… These are the top three of what appear to be thousands of social networks through which people are interacting each and every day. And with millions of users worldwide, chances are likely that you’re pretty familiar with at least one of them.

Yet despite social media’s growing prevalence, the extent to which companies are using social media in their daily business routine is still surprisingly low. There are definitely businesses out there that stand at the forefront of technological trends and already have a strong social media presence – and you may even be one of them – but it’s still widely misunderstood just how social media plays a role in the hiring process.

Branding vs. Gathering
It’s important to realize that there’s a difference between using social media to build your image as an employer and using it to gather information on a candidate. When talking about the role of social media in hiring, many people are referring to the latter. By this, they mean checking out a candidate’s online presence at some point during the hiring process, maybe to find out how tech savvy they are, what their interests are, or how their communication skills are.

No matter why hiring managers are checking out this information, it’s essential to understand that there may be legal implications, not all of which are clearly defined. For example, looking into this information may provide hints into a candidate’s religious and political views, sexual orientation, and more, all of which is information that can clearly not be used in the hiring decision.

However, beyond this, social media is an excellent tool to establish a strong employer brand that attracts candidates to your company. It’s a platform to make people understand and get excited about what it’s like to work for you. The bigger the following you attract to your career related social media accounts, the larger the network of potential candidates you will have at your fingertips.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is by far the biggest social network in regards to hiring. It puts a professional spin onto the social media world, allowing candidates to present their resumes within their profiles, follow employers, and search jobs.

LinkedIn presents employers with just as many options for building their brands as it gives to jobseekers. First, if your company doesn’t already have a general company profile page, this can be a useful resource to get basic information out there. The company page includes a business overview, summary of services, and a careers section.

Secondly, a company group is very valuable, as it not only has the option to posts jobs, but also opens the stage for high-level interaction with other LinkedIn users. It is here where you can put a face on your company, by posting interesting discussions that create engagement between your group members. Also bear in mind that you can always create a Company Careers group separate from your company’s main group, if you have enough people to administer each one.

To attract job seekers, post discussions that include insight into current employment rates, advice and tips for the job search, and interesting links about industry news and trends. The stronger your group presence is on LinkedIn, the more response you’ll get to jobs you post. Plus, you’ll often find that candidates you find through this medium are of much higher caliber than those who saturate job boards.

Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter are two of the largest social networks out there, and both offer an excellent platform to present your company as more than just a business, but also an employer.

Both operate on a more personal, informal level than LinkedIn, which makes it easier to really engage users as well as show off your work culture. You have a couple of options as to how you go about using Facebook and Twitter in hiring. You can either use your company’s main account or you can create a separate account focused on careers. The choice here will probably rely on the size of your company and how often you’re hiring.

As with LinkedIn, the goal is to create high levels of engagement in order to increase the response you’ll get when you come to actually post jobs. Though you’ll want to create some variety between the two platforms, you can post discussions, questions, interesting links, pictures, and more to help encourage conversation.

To help promote your employer brand, you can also have some fun by offering sneak peaks into your company’s work culture. Post pictures of company events, have employees contribute to the conversation, and share insightful resources for growing careers.

Bottom Line
No matter which platform you choose, you have to recognize that it will take time and consistent effort to reach impressive results. But the results that you do get once you’ve established a solid social media presence will be more than worth the effort.

Be as transparent about your company and its work culture as you can. Employer branding, especially on online platforms, is about being realistic. If you brand yourself as something you’re not, you won’t attract the kind of candidate who will work out as an employee.

Ultimately, the use of social media in hiring is about creating an image that attracts and builds relationships with potential candidates. It’s an interactive tool that can play a huge role in the hiring process, provided significant time and effort are appropriated.

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