Social networking: A candidate’s best friend (or worst enemy)

As I’m sure you are all aware, this is the age of social networking.

using social media for your own benefit

There has never been a better time to use various social media platforms to give yourself a little boost in sealing the deal with your next employer!
Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn and even rising stars such as Pinterest are amongst the most important social networks around that millions of us use everyday.

But have you ever thought, who else is?

Your next or current employer and most recruitment or HR departments are. This means they are always ready to view every opinion, picture and conversation, that you have made available to the online world.

Eric Schmidt: “If you have something [to hide], maybe you shouldn’t be doing it”

For many of you this probably rings alarm bells in your head, as it rightly should. Employers can make drastic hiring decisions over what they have seen on an individual’s Twitter Feed or Facebook Timeline. In 2010 Microsoft Research released the fact that “70% of recruiters said they’d rejected applicants based on info they found online.”

If you’re guilty of constantly posting updates about your drunken weekend, or inappropriate messages and pictures, then you can probably guarantee that your ‘new’ employer probably won’t be your ‘new’ employer for much longer. So, if you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to give your profile a spring-clean and make sure your social network becomes your professional network.
A solid social networking profile with a professional look and a mature nature, can show your next employer that you are the correct individual for the role in question. You should (if you don’t already) have a presence on social networks such as LinkedIn and Pinterest as these give you a chance to show off your professional portfolio, regardless of your industry. They also allow you to show off any personal projects or hobbies that your next employer might not otherwise get a chance to see.
Ryan Holmes, the CEO of Hoot Suite, said that the candidates whom really stand out are the ones that know how to use social media. Here are a couple of things that you can do in order to stand out from the crowd:

  • Referrals and recommendations: Within LinkedIn, previous colleagues and employers can post recommendations that can later be viewed by future employers, make sure you ask for these in your current role.
  • Contact companies and follow up what may otherwise be an unseen email, creating a social point of contact before they have even started the process of recruiting, the HR department will always pick up on this and see it as a strong, positive, quality.

All of what has been said above, however, is not a guarantee that you will win or lose that role of your dreams; it is just a suggestion that may help. It also demonstrates the ever stronger link between recruitment and social media in today’s industry.
By all means keep your original networks alongside your new, professional ones, just keep them private, and make sure you use social networks to your advantage.