Hiring Pros Share Insights About Social Networking Sites

The Recruiter Roundtable is a recurring feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the United States. The question we put before our panel this month is:

Are you using social networking sites as part of your recruiting — either for finding and/or vetting candidates? What are your observations and tips about how candidates can use these sites effectively as part of a job search?
Leverage the Opportunity

Currently, we are using social networking sites — mostly LinkеdIn. Where we use Facebook is more in the groups section. I have joined a few alumni groups and have posted a position there.

More than 75% of companies in the U.S. were polled and agreed that utilizing social media was a necessary outlet for recruiting.

I would recommend that if you are actively interviewing, keep your profile clean. No profanity (this goes without saying), no inappropriate photos or negative comments. Be smart — use it as a tool — add your awards, accomplishments, professional goals. With more and more employers turning to this inexpensive tool, leverage this opportunity.
— Carolyn Dougherty, owner of IntelliSource Inc.

Don’t Ditch the Fundamentals

We have found that the most effective ways to vet applicants are meeting with them in person and speaking directly with their references, approaches that cannot be duplicated or replaced by social networking.

Job seekers should combine personal and social networking activities, while also focusing on tried-and-true techniques such as developing targeted resumes, preparing thoroughly for interviews, and working with specialized recruiters. When tapping social networks, candidates need to dedicate the same care to crafting their profiles as they do to the content in their resumes. These sites also can be great sources of recommendations and referrals, and professionals need to promptly thank those who help them in their search.
— Andy Denka, executive director of Accountemps

Keep It Current

I’ve worked with companies who have used social networking sites as a means to post jobs and track candidates, and although the value of these sites remains to be seen, the immediate impact of people following the job was positive. If used correctly, these sites can be an easy, fast, innovative, and fun way to advertise current and potential opportunities.

My advice to candidates: Keep your profiles and activity current.
— Bob Hancock, senior staffing consultant

It’s Easy Public Research

We currently do not use social networking sites as part of our established sourcing or screening process. However, many hiring managers are becoming savvy with these online communities and may visit them on their own initiative, developing impressions about candidates from the results of their research.

I would advise all job seekers to maintain a professional public appearance online. Even if researching these sites is not part of a formal process, any information a hiring manager gains about a candidate can play a part in their hiring decision. It’s wise to learn how to effectively use the privacy features of social networking sites to ensure that you can manage what information is available to the public.

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