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Social Media and a Job Search

April 16, 2009

This week we’ve been talking a lot about monitoring reputation of brands. However, building and monitoring your personal brand is no less important. Personal branding… your online identity… your social footprint. What’s all the buzz about? How does social media change the rules of the job search game?

A couple of weeks ago I got an invitation to join a webinar called Incorporating Social Media in Your Job Search. Since the day of graduation is rapidly approaching, that webinar was right on target… I joined. During these couple of weeks as I was thinking of this post I came across tons of articles on what you could do to build your online brand and how to use it for your job search, instead of reiterating them and creating another list I’ll share some links first.

Career Truth #1 Brand or Be Branded

7 secrets to getting your next job using social media

Using social media for a job search

The 20 best Facebook apps for job search

Five tips for using Twitter in your job search

To my luck, there was a big Career Fair on campus this week. I’m an MBA student, but after taking classes with journalism students I got into the mood and decided to go interview a bunch of recruiters to ask them directly how they use social media when screening candidates.

Brand or Be Branded post said that 4 out of 5 hiring managers complete an Internet search on candidates. Testing this notion, I asked recruiters whether they’ve ever googled candidates and how it impacted their decision. Generally, it was interesting how uncomfortable the majority of employers were when talking about the social media they use at work. Restricted by the company’s policies, unsure about the privacy issues, and the fairness of googling and “Facebooking” candidates, most of recruiters said that they don’t practice “anything like that.”  The concerns were the following: “we don’t want to have biased opinions”, “it’s unprofessional”, “we stick to the facts”, “our screening processes are good enough, we don’t need to check Facebook profiles.” “We don’t want some people to be at a disadvantage because they either have a Facebook profile or not, this is our company policy, we are discouraged to use those practices,” – shared one recruiter.

There were several recruiters who had Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and were encouraging candidates to contact them there. Only two recruiters admitted to googling candidates, many more said: “Oh! I never thought about it, but sounds like a good idea!” “I don’t see any ethical problems with it,” and “I should be doing it more often.”

Wow! This turned out to be an ethical dilemma post rather than “how to”… I’m wondering what you think about the ethics of looking up candidates’ social media profiles in making an employment decision.

While the majority of the recruiters I talked to said they wouldn’t check your Facebook profile, better safe than sorry… See if you pass the social media recruitment test HERE

by Elena Golovchanskaya

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