Social Networking your way to a job

August 18, 2011
Sharon Williams

26/11/09: 'Social Networking your way to a job' - Networking is a term I loathe but new networking tools are becoming more important than ever when it comes to finding the right person for your business.

Following last week’s War for Talent – and watching the signs of improvement in the financial climate - I thought it interesting to look at some of the ways to find talent through networking, particularly with the new wave of social networking sites.

Where are you placed right now with recruitment - are you looking for people? How are you finding them?

I just looked at the LinkedIn site – currently ‘over 50 million professionals’ compared with February 2008's 19 million users – will social networking sites become a base from which we as employers can select the best of the pack?

I’ve always been an avid believer in the seven degrees of separation and the fact that those we are linked to, can help in business.

When I watch my 14 year old multi-tasking on her social media sites I realise the face of networking is changing forever and it’s likely to become more significant over the next few years as today’s teenagers enter the workforce.

I notice their extraordinary ability to do several things at once, and network furiously through mobiles, myspace, instant messaging, SMS, web and social media.

Looking at the impact of Generation Y and now Z it is easy to see how they promise to impact the business world.

We are moving towards an environment where it is not enough to have a CV and practical experience, you also need to have a blog and a profile on Twitter!

Young people in today's workforce tend to want immediate access to information and this includes information about potential job opportunities.

Take a look at your connected Facebook profiles - many corporate contacts of mine have taken advantage of the advertising opportunities offered through Facebook and LinkedIn.

Watch: Tips on how to use social media to get a job

Use these sites well and you have access to a range of services, skills and applicants.

Karen Morath, managing director of M Power, defines networking as being about "doing good work and consciously making an effort to ensure that people who are like-minded, or have the potential to influence your future career, know who you are and what you can do."

Meanwhile, Vinita Gupta writes: “The growth of social networking sites is getting wider. Social networking sites are a good tool to tap passive candidates who are not actively looking for a job opportunity."

Do you really believe that social networking sites are relevant enough to cater to the ever growing needs of the job market?

Are they capable enough to provide quality manpower to organizations?

The future seems more and more commercial for social networking sites. When I Googled myself the other day – my LinkedIn profile came very near the top in the Google search pages.

It struck me that the social networking sites are moving beyond social chatter and becoming part of corporate life in a very big way. Both a worry, and an opportunity.

The trend of recruiting from social media sites is here to stay and it's free.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Plaxo Pulse provide you with information far deeper and wider than is contained in the average resume.

The sites contain referrals, comments from friends, and give you a really 360 view of an individual.

We live in a world becoming more dominated by the Internet and digital technology. As employers, we need to embrace the evolving tools and customs of today's generation rather than creating barriers against them. So look at this closely.

There's nothing wrong with change if it moves us, as business owners, in the right direction.

Top tips:

• Use language that attracts your target age group eg a more relaxed grammar for the younger audiences, more formal for the mature

• Make your social profile employer and employee friendly

• Adapt your company’s corporate messages to the personal atmosphere of social networking sites

• Use social media sites to your advantage as a manager, employer and employee

• Establish guidelines for conducting social network screenings

• Document everything to prevent issues that may arise throughout the hiring process

• Notify candidates that social networking sites may be screened as part of a background check

• As is the norm, be careful that you get across all the necessary references before finally deciding upon candidates.

• Hiring through social networks is still in infancy but thanks to Web2.0 and other technologies, it is really starting to happen.

• Don’t forget like most things in our business world, when in doubt, use basic common sense

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