Social media is a double edged sword for job seekers. It could be the one thing that can land you your dream job or bar you from ever getting employed (just kidding). I’m not talking about seeking for jobs by following potential employers on twitter neither am I referring to befriending them on Facebook. No, it’s not sending applications to all the job alerts that come from recruiting agencies via social media neither is networking with twitter followership or Facebook’s friendships to get you the dream job. Okay it is all these plus one important thing that you must do.
A survey by Jobvite reported that 94% of recruiters rely on applicants’ information on social media to sieve applicants. Further, Jobvite claims that candidates hired based on information retrieved from social media profiles have better job qualities and qualifications. The information retrieved from social media sites is not limited to the information provided on users’ profiles. Recruiters are profiling candidates based on the conversations the candidates are having on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and related social sites. A person’s character, they say, is revealed by the numerous conversations they have had over a period of time and not just the well chosen wording made available on resumes and profile sections.
So this is what the recruiters do:
1. They may chose to source for candidates by a simple tweet to get response. For example The Nailab has a vacancy for Incubation Manager and is sourcing for applicants via twitter:
2. They may also chose, and they usually do, to dig more on applicants by following them on twitter, befriending them on Facebook or connecting with on LinkedIn…
3. Whether they source for applicants via social media or decide to use the traditional methods for vacancy advertisement, they will resort to getting information relevant for the vacancy from the conversations you make on the social media platforms.
How you can take advantage of the new recruitment trend
1. It is important for every job seeker to be active online. If I were a recruiter but I could not get enough information about you on social media, I won’t bother calling you for interviews. There was this one time that I was hiring sales representatives and from the many applications I received, I only called the few individuals who could hold a conversation with me either via back and forth email exchanges or via an online chat platform. This to me defines a candidate as up to date with modern technology and its use. Candidates who detest the Internet, social media and technology in general are considered as unable to spearhead the company into the next breakthrough.
2. For your other side, create an alias account. Yes I know that everyone will be worried about the nature and quality of conversations they must maintain in social media just in case the potential employer snoops into twitter or Facebook timelines. The account that bears your official names probably as they appear on your national ID card should be active, yes and its mandatory. If the account is found to be idle then the employer might consider you technologically or socially inept. But this account must reflect the real you. In your tweets, status updates, comments, pages liked and other likes, you must portray who you are as known by your classmates, churchmates, lecturers, parents and official friends. But many a times we want to use the social media to vent, talk vulgar, cheat, become whores, post pictures of the drunk and naughty us (no I’m not naughty and I don’t drink), and just become freaks. You may do all these but please use a fake account for these other you characters while praying to your *god that the account is never linked back to the real you. I say, if it is something you could not do in public, don’t do it on social media.
3. Don’t forget the traditional methods. Your potential employer may not just come looking for you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. After you are sure that your profile as posted on your social media account reflects the ordinary real you, and that the conversations you hold are reflective of your persona, you will need to befriend some of the potential employers, network with contacts that can connect you with your dream job, and maximize on the job alerts advertised by the recruiting agencies. Send applications the traditional way, and be mentally ready that the recruiters would sneak into your Facebook and Twitter timelines to have additional information about your personality.
4. Build your online presence. This is a summary to everything I have just said. Present yourself online as you would present yourself respectfully to everyone else. Don’t be shy to share some controversial views but do not over do it. Don’t stalk employers, but be confident as you interact with friends and tweeps. Share some expert opinions on trending topics regarding matters that interest you especially those related to the career you are pursuing. Offer mature advice to friends whenever possible, and ask for assistance through your updates that would attract mature response. Well, just balance between your interesting, entertaining and official self in your interaction online. Let social media be an extension of who you really are but at the back of your mind you know that it is a platform potential employers can and will use to sieve the wheat from the chaff.