Back in the day, companies posted jobs in the newspaper, on job boards and spread them by word of mouth. All of those methods still exist today and continue to have a certain level of success.
But in today’s fast paced and competitive business market, companies are learning that using social media allows them to cast a wide net. And recruiting is no exception. So, if job seekers want new opportunities, they will eventually have to learn where companies are posting positions. Then follow.
If the future of recruiting is social, then job seekers need to get social. Read below for a look at some social media success strategies for conquering your next job search.
Add your own thoughts on how job seekers will use social media in the future in the comments below.
Going Where the Recruiters Are
To stay in the job search game, job seekers should make an effort to learn how companies in their desired industries are posting job openings, and then peruse those areas often. Ever more often, social media is playing a part in the recruiting process. So, job seekers, keep your eyes on your dream employer’s tweets, posts and updates.
Jason Mitchell, owner of Movement Strategy, a digital marketing agency that helps brands such as the New York Knicks and Whole Foods with their social media strategies, explains how social media is his first stop when trying to recruit:
“We have everyone in the company post on their Facebook and Twitter accounts that we are hiring. Pretty much every time we do this there are multiple friends or a friend of a friend who sees the post and is very interested in the position, or who knows someone that would be a great fit.
“We always prefer to hire people that are somehow connected to our personal networks, because they tend to be more reliably good employees than people who we find on job posting websites. Often this is because they had one of our friends vouch for them or they are one of their friends and so they want to prove themselves or not make their friend look bad.”
Another company that agrees with getting out on social media is the accounting firm, Grant Thornton. Paul Peterson, national talent resource manager, shares the company’s tactic. “One of our key strategies is simply to engage more. Our people are playing an active role in using social media for recruiting, which I think is fantastic. When everyone gets involved, it seems like we have hundreds of part-time recruiters working across the country,” he says.
Getting Better at Search
There are more than 200 active social networking sites, according to Wikipedia. That number might not seem very high, but from a job search perspective, that’s 200 places a company could share a job opening.Gina Kleinworth, social media coordinator at HireBetter, a talent assessment solutions company, says her firm “currently utilizes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Skype along with the usual job boards and groups, like Yahoo Groups, to post jobs and network with potential candidates. Since we work with clients in a variety of areas, it is incredibly beneficial to have a network that reaches well beyond our immediate circle.” She adds that as the firm grows, it might begin to leverage Foursquare, Habbo, Bebo and Ning.
This means there’s a vast amount of information available. Job seekers will have to learn how to find the data they are looking for… and fast. While Boolean search (using phrases that limit search results, such as AND, OR, NOW and NEAR) is a very good technique to know, it might not be practical for everyone. If you need some help refining searches, check out the Search on the Go iPhone app and About.com’s series of articles on web search, which can be of assistance. While the Search on the Go app is marketed to recruiters, anyone needing help with search can benefit from using it.
Use of Non-Traditional Resumes
Once a job opening is identified, having a ready-to-go resume will be key. It only seems logical, if more and more organizations are going online with their job openings, that having a digital resume will be equally important for job seekers. Not only does it make sending an online resume easier, a digital profile allows companies to find job seekers. So, optimizing online profiles for search will need to be part of the development.
Cathy Nemser, a recruiter with Blue Fountain Media, a website design and online marketing company, shares how recruiters are taking advantage of the various ways candidates can present themselves to employers. “We are able to get fuller pictures of candidates by searching not only for a candidate’s LinkedIn profile and online portfolios to learn about work history and accomplishments, but also by viewing Facebook accounts, personal blogs, and — if they even have them — YouTube accounts, to get a feel for a candidate’s personality. It has become much easier to get a broader sense of an applicant and cross reference any information that they highlight on their resume.”
Enhancing a job seeker’s online presence with a VisualCV or social resume has its advantages but can also be a double-edged sword. Nemser cautions, “While you can create an in-depth portrait of yourself, you have to be very careful about the type of information you are sharing. Off-color comments and drunken party pictures of yourself may just be raising eyes out there instead of thumbs ups.”
Pamela Slim, author of the blog Escape from Cubicle Nation, talks about the concept of the side hustle. These are secondary jobs used to try new business ideas, or they’re the backup plan if a person loses their job. If the world becomes a place where everyone will be looking for multiple opportunities (a.k.a. their side hustle), this changes how individuals approach the job search. Traditionally, there used to be two kinds of job seekers: active (“I’m looking for a job.”) and passive (“If someone calls me, I’ll listen.”). In this opportunity economy, we all become active job seekers.
Mitchell’s company is focusing more on interacting with potential hires even before it’s actively hiring. “That way we can get a great sense of a person and build a relationship with them and then when we want to hire we will know exactly who to go after,” he says.
Carolyn Goodwin, president of Cake Communications, an online branding and communications agency, offers advice on how any of us can start building those relationships:
“Position yourself as an expert. Be really proactive about what you want and reach out to the decision makers at those companies with helpful suggestions and constructive information. Support their work, and if you impress them, they’ll find a spot for you. Use things like blogs, websites, and social media campaigns to show that you are someone who believes in a cause, and utilize the skills and traits that make you an attractive candidate. Don’t be afraid to send results and proof of your accomplishments to top executives, and work to develop a relationship with them, both online and offline.”
We all know that we can use our phones to connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Kleinworth mentioned that some of HireBetter’s clients are creating YouTube videos for their job descriptions. “I love this idea because it gives a good sense of the culture of the company before you even get your foot in the door for the face-to-face interview,” she says.
There’s a variety of job board apps available including Monster, CareerBuilder and Adecco Jobs. Companies like AT&T are developing their own mobile careers apps, as well. Organizations are using Skype to conduct interviews. And this week, Starbucks made its first hire via its iPhone app.
When the statistics show mobile use is on the rise and smartphone use is increasing, it’s only a matter of time before apps will allow us to take more of the hiring process online. Kleinworth points out, “It allows for real-time updates on positions and increased capabilities like scheduling interviews. As more people turn to social sites for the latest job postings, I expect to see an increase in referral candidates. The likelihood of someone seeing a posting that fits with a connection they already have is high. Already I see the decrease in the length of time it takes from the time we post jobs to the time we are scheduling interviews with candidates. Social media is certainly streamlining the processes and cutting lag time out.”
The future of work is very fluid. As such, companies and job seekers alike need to rise to the changes in recruiting, or they’ll drown in the sea of competition. New tools and updated strategies will help organizations fill positions quickly and with new employees who are a good fit for their corporate culture. Job seekers need to identify these new strategies and adapt their approach to take advantage of good opportunities.
Series supported by Gist
The Future of Social Media Series is supported by Gist. Gist keeps you better informed with less effort by giving you a full view of your professional network in one place bringing together information from across the web for all your contacts giving you the right information at the right moment to get a meeting, deliver an amazing pitch, or just find a better way to make a connection.