Social Media – use it, don’t abuse it

So. There’s this thing out there now called ‘Social Media’ – anyone heard of it???

On a serious note we all have Social Media (in various forms) coming out of our ears! According to industry experts if you’re not active on the social media scene then you’ll be in the minority now as 60% (2015) of the UK’s population have active Social Media accounts. e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Tinder etc. say no more….

Having just returned from LinkedIn’s 2015 Social RecruitIn event in London last week and listening to key notes from thought leaders such as James Caan CBE (pic below), Peter Cosgrove of CPL and Lou Adler I am optimistic about the balance that Social Media can play in the Recruitment world – the balance between Art & Science as they cleverly described it. And yes, it’s not lost on me that LinkedIn needs buy in from us Recruiters/ Employers in order for them to succeed.

James Caan CBE @ LinkedIn Social RecruitIn event London (Oct 2015)

A word of caution though. Whilst SM poses an interesting opportunity it doesn’t come without its potential pitfalls…..

For many (me included) Social Media at times has seemed like something to get involved with because you have to. Something you get involved with because you don’t want to be seen as a Dinosaur, old fashioned or outdated. SM, in a professional/ work sense has never struck me as a natural evolution to good old fashion techniques such as picking up the Telephone and talking! However, when it comes to the Recruitment game, harnessing the power of Social Media can be truly amazing – allowing you to reach greater numbers of people faster and to communicate in a less intrusive way that candidates sometimes prefer.  In many respects through the technology available today, the visibility on talent has never been greater. Due to this greater visibility however, no longer is there a mystic or mystery about someone’s network or contact book which they may have taken years even decades building. Through free tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc. anyone can pretty much find anyone these days and therefore on the face of it, its incredible easy to reach out to people. Almost 80% of companies are actively using Social Media to recruit for their own organisation and this is of course good for those companies – reducing cost per hire, building employer branding etc.

Well, as good recruiters will know the identifying of people, whilst not easy, has never really been the hard bit. It’s that initial engagement with the candidate, understanding their situation, carefully managing them through the many stages of making life changing career decisions that will affect various things including their career, family, work-life balance etc. It’s the ‘Human’ parts of the process that an email, DM, Tweet can’t impact and hence why the more experienced a recruiter, the more in demand their services. Anyway I digress – I, like many others are learning to harness SM to our benefit and for the benefit of candidates and clients alike.

My advice to job seekers/ toe-tippers/ anyone who is considering a career move is in the same way that organisations can leverage Social Media to give them more available reach/ choice when recruiting candidates, you can also leverage Social Media to build your own brand. Give yourself a platform for prospective employers and recruiters to identify you and bring you greater choice when scouring the job markets. Harnessing tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter etc. can give you more insight into brands and organisations and therefore you can make more informed decisions about how you feel about them before you even meet them. It’s not a 1 way street.

A word of caution though, it’s widely accepted that ‘you are what you post online’ and with more and more employers and staffing agencies utilising SM to conduct (off the record) background checks its worth checking you’ve deleted those embarrassing drunken photos from last weekend’s Stag party before you apply for that dream job! No one wants to see that. A good rule of thumb I was once told was to ask yourself would you be happy for your Grandparents to see it?

In summary, Social Media can be brilliant for many people for many different reasons – I can only speak from the Recruitment and Staffing perspective however in the future it will play a bigger part of our daily routine, an intrinsic part of everyday life so embrace it. Use it to your advantage – reach out to lost contacts, keep more informed of daily news, industry trends, get the latest advice from industry experts and perhaps get yourself that next promotion as a result.  You have to view Social Media as just another form of communication. Another form of communication alongside the Telephone, the Fax, the Email and the Letter (for all those born pre 1997 I have a picture of a Letter below for illustration purposes).

A hand written letter – I know, amazing!

But remember, treat it with the same respect you would in other forms of communications.

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