We all have heard the stats – the use of social media has only increased since the days of MySpace back in the early 2000′s. But what caused the dramatic up-turn in the use of social media as a talent management tool?
Now we have literally hundreds of social media and networking sites with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn being the dominant sites. All three are being used to varying degrees of effectiveness by companies seeking to find and retain talented employees and by job seekers looking for their next role as well.
Posting a job and finding qualified candidates is now easier than ever because of social networking. While traditional resumes and employee-employer interviews still stand, both sides are making use of the Internet to do their homework before they get to that point.
Gone are the days of sifting through the seemingly endless and anonymous stack of resumes that cross your desk. Instead, you can view a candidate’s profile online and make the determination if they are worthy of an interview and get a better feel for them before they even set foot in the office.
Facebook as a Business Promotion Tool
Facebook originally started out as a social media site for college students. If you didn’t have a college-based email address, you couldn’t even sign up. Now, however, all of that has changed; it has become an effective business tool for those looking to promote their businesses and even as a networking tool for companies seeking to hire reputable employees. Employment postings on Facebook are increasingly more successful, with talent scouts being able to search out their next employees with relative ease.
However, the downside to Facebook, from an employee’s perspective, is that if your presence on the social networking site is one of a very personal nature, it can actually hurt your chances of landing that dream job rather than help you.
Employers do not need your permission to view your Facebook page. If you provide them with your email address, they can simply look you up (granted, your profile is made public, of course). This is why it is important to keep your profile as clean as possible or to make it 100% private.
Twitter – Newer, but Just as Effective?
Twitter is newer than Facebook, but is gaining ground on Facebook from a user count perspective. Millions of people – celebrities and companies – are available to follow online.
Does ready access to thousands of companies on Twitter mean that finding that dream job is simpler? Not necessarily.
It’s not as simple as having a candidate search for and follow the companies they want to work for and finding employment. Businesses and talent scouts can use Twitter as an effective tool, too, but the effectiveness of finding employment or quality employees 140 characters at a time hasn’t proven completely true just yet. They can advertise openings and post links to blogs or articles that may prove to be helpful for those looking for work, but in-depth searching and screening often has to be done elsewhere on both sides of the hiring fence.
LinkedIn – The Emerging Employment Social Star
LinkedIn – once an emerging social network with no clear identity has now turned into THE place to be when it comes to social networking for your career. Creating a company profile on LinkedIn is beneficial to both the company and the talent they seek. It is actually a more professionally oriented social media platform that Twitter and Facebook combined. I’d venture to say all other social platforms combined as well.
On LinkedIn, candidates looking for jobs are able to “connect” with professionals, including human resources and recruiting personnel that are scouting for employees for new positions. LinkedIn has proven to be an effective networking and employment tool for candidates and companies alike.
Why the Increase in Popularity?
What has caused the increase in popularity among employers and prospective employees in seeking their next employment opportunity on a social media site? In a word – connections.
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow a direct connection to take place between a candidate and employer. This direct connection is more personal than a boring old resume and often more effective for both parties as well. Candidates are able to relate to companies much more effectively because social media sites provide an interactivity factor not available in a paper resume while employers are able to get a better feel for a candidate through those same interactions, often times before the first interview even takes place.
The bottom line is that the same factors that attracted people and businesses to social networking sites for other purposes have attracted employers and employees to them as well. Taking advantage of available social media outlets creates a dynamic environment in which many people come together and form connections that would not otherwise have been made.