Social Media and Recruitment
Over the past decade, little has affected society more than social media. Its rapid uptake has seen the world shrink before our eyes, and communication is now more immediate and far reaching than anyone could have imagined. In the early days it was seen as a simple personal function, now it is deeply entrenched in our professional lives. Having a successful professional social media strategy is becoming vital for both employers and employees alike.
As someone who considers themselves a non-tech savvy individual who shudders at the thought of “tweeting”, adapting to the avalanche of social media options has not been easy. I still do not yet consider myself an expert on professional social media, but I notice a number of common mistakes made and missed opportunities. Here are a few lessons I have learned along the way to creating my online professional profile.
Professional Profiles – All in or not at all
Like all things in business, if you are going to do something do it well or not at all. This rule applies to online profiles for forums such as LinkedIn. Online networks have made the world a much smaller space easily aiding network creation on a global scale. Once you are out there you never know who could be sizing you up for your next possible dream job. Therefore, it is hugely important to put together a quality profile, free of spelling mistakes, with a professional photo along with a concise executive summary. In a world where first impressions are key, a half completed profile can do more damage than good.
This point works both ways. If you are a hiring manager prospective candidates will research your profile prior to an interview or sometimes even before choosing whether to apply for a role. What do the rest of your team’s professional profiles look like? Are you / they marketing your division how you would like it to be viewed?
Building an Online Network
When looking to build any kind of network the early days are always difficult. “Who should I connect with?” “I would like to connect with that person but do not wish to be a nuisance”. When starting out I always look to those I know first, then expand from there, keep to “warmer” introductions. Others are far more likely to connect with you if you have a mutual connection or some common ground. When making the connection a note to accompanying it explaining why is always good practice. It is important to acknowledge that on LinkedIn your network is notified of your new connections. Keep you connections relevant to your professional aspirations.
It is possible to reach out to a large audience of your professional peers at extremely short notice through social media. This can be used to build up credibility, attract interest in a service offering or gauge public opinion on a project or topic. Always remember that once it is out there, it’s out there. As someone who spends a lot of time using LinkedIn, I get to see a great deal of content posted by my connections. LinkedIn is not Facebook, know your audience. The amount of cringe-worthy posts I see about “thank god it’s Friday” or a funny picture of an elephant amazes me.
Messaging Connections / Building relationships
So you’ve built a good network, posted some relevant insightful articles but still no dream job in your inbox. Maybe you would like to be a little proactive and start messaging contacts about employment within their business? Before you do this, consider your personal brand. Any quality candidate should be in demand and thus not out in the market for all to see. A proactive search should be conductive with an air of exclusivity otherwise it is easy to come across as desperate. This is where an experienced 3rd party consultant can add value. If you do choose to contact connections proactively use friendly, open but professional language, explaining a small amount of flattering information as to why you would like to network with an individual. Do not send them a 1000 word essay about your life and why you were destined to meet as this can come across desperate.
It is important to recognise that no matter your profession there is no substitute for human contact. Just because you have X amount of online connections or Y amount of likes does not mean your online persona will create you then next opportunity. There is no substitute for getting out there and meeting people. Social media presents us with some excellent access to networking opportunities, but that’s all they are…. Opportunities.