Facebook has over 750 million users; Twitter has about 200 million and 100 million on LinkedIn! What are we doing just making friends, following each other and people or institutions we admire or update our professional profile just to let people know? Here we are, at a point in time where these social networks are being exploited for recruitment purposes. And not just for doing background checks on applicants but companies are utilizing these virtual spaces to establish themselves, create positive brand image, post about job openings, and search for relevant candidates and of course, to finally take a look at their profiles before processing the applications.
When using social networks for recruiting, information asymmetry exists between employers and prospective employees. It is important for candidates to take a step forward and bridge this gap. Apart from following/becoming a fan of all the companies that are on the list and applying whenever a relevant job posting come your way, there are some more things that can be done.
The first and foremost important thing is that being a potential candidate, you need to know your future employer better and also give him a chance to understand you. Begin with getting as much information about the companies as you can. And not just about the role and the salary but also understand what the philosophy of the company is, what are the work ethics like, the hierarchical nature. While finding out what the employees think about their company and taking interview tips from them, try and also find out what the customers of the company think about their product/services. Are they satisfied? Do they have any trouble? If so, has the company taken due cognisance and improved their customer relations?
In the sector that you might be looking at entering, it will also be interesting to observe closely the social network presence of competitors. On the outset all of them might be big companies but understanding the intrinsic differences in functioning can help a candidate carve out his/her own preferences better and understand where he/she can fit the best.
All the three social networks function fundamentally differently. It can be helpful to understand that as well. Each of them has pros and cons. Facebook might not be the best place for indiscretion but it is the best for mass recruitment. LinkedIn might be the best network while searching for a person to work in one particular role but the power of community is non-existent on LinkedIn reducing its utility if next year some company wants to employ a handful of HR professionals. Twitter’s most constraining feature is the 140 characters limitation but on the brighter side, it allows connect on on-on-one basis.
The essence is that one must become knowledgeable. And only holistic information can lead to such knowledge. Gathering information from all possible sources about every little thing matters is a must! It is not enough to only have the details that immediately matter in the recruitment process. Clear understanding of what one is getting into will maximize the benefits of this process for both the parties.
This is only one side of the story! Alongside these efforts, it is obviously important to create a strong brand and make yourself sellable. Candidates should carefully put down their profile details. If you are looking at getting a job through a social network, it is essential to put in as much effort as it is required to prepare a good CV. Past experiences and learning need to be concise but put down in a way such that it would appeal to all the prospective employers; across industries and companies. No scope to customize it for every placement! It is also important that the profile comprise of the most important keywords that would be potentially ‘searched’ for. If you are linking this to your blogs, articles or any other mention of you on the worldwide web, make it a point not to let it put you in any dimmer light than it should! Also be careful as to where that particular link might lead them. Google works in amazing ways! So do not try to hide anything.
But do not show too much also. Yes there still a bit more to do! Don’t overdo it. Too much noise and not sufficient substance can kill it for sure. But even if you do have the substance, don’t make it obvious and overtly visible. On the technical end; just a tip! The Corporate Recruiter Tool of LinkedIn favours the passive jobseekers over the desperate ones. And otherwise, it creates a very strong impression. You do not want the recruiters making judgements such as you are a show-off, even before they interview you. Right?
Yes, it is more difficult to know how much to balance out, even more than actually balancing the information. You never know if the company will appreciate your openness and frankness or think of you as careless and show-off. And therefore another suggestion, if you are looking for a job real bad, you might have to take more efforts than just putting all your hopes into the social networks. As mentioned above, the LinkedIn tool while selling information to employers, actually puts you down in the list.
Too much pressure is being built. The social recruiting methods build some amount of pressure on the candidates. I might not be an alcoholic, but a few photos here and there of my socially taken drinks can potentially tick me off the list. Ideally, the companies must make a fair judgement by looking at the photos carefully and making fair decisions. But really, the world is not ideal and the HR people have enough work to do. So what? Social network is about being the way I would be with my friends; I am myself there to the degree of introversion/extroversion that I am in the real life. It is not easy to behave on social networks the manner in which I would present myself in the workplace (Except on LinkedIn may be!). Alas! Given that this process is meant to be beneficial to both parties, the best we can do is to hope that in the long-run it will be all well.