Musings on

Culture

By August 19, 2009

Online Marketing: Employers Using Social Media to Screen and Recruit

Using Social Media to Hire Top Talent

I want to highlight a very important issue for the future of a company – hiring the brightest talent. Positioning your company to recruit the best new hires is a crucial aspect of your marketing. In fact, many businesses are creating sections of their websites or entirely separate websites just to promote the quality of their working environment.

Many of our clients are becoming more and more aware of the power of the Internet for this purpose. Accounting Firm Delap, and IT Specialists Marquam Group, both have excellent careers section in their Web sites that Kinesis created for them.

Now let’s take a look at social media. This is the next piece to online marketing for recruits. It is increasingly becoming an important way to search for new applicants. Companies are running ads on Facebook and MySpace, and they are on Twitter. It’s also a way to keep track of your applicants and employees who may not be up to par.

Fired Because of Facebook Photo

In fact, screening employees and applicants on a regular basis has become so commonplace, that there is a even a term known as “Facebook Fired,” which describes getting canned because of something you posted on your Facebook page.

My favorite story is of Kevin Colvin, who lied to his boss about a family emergency, and then posted an incriminating picture of himself on his Facebook page wearing his costume at a Halloween party that he apparently ditched work to attend (see photo, his e-mail and his boss’s response below).

 

facebook-fired-1

colvinemail1a

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 No surprise, when his boss saw the pics on Facebook, Colvin was fired and the pic was cc’d to all of the other employees to boot.

Trouble on Twitter: Never Tweet This

Twitter brings this phenom to a whole other level of excitement when you can get fired (or not hired) in 140 characters or less.

A recent story on MSNBC.com describes the story of a Cisco applicant who tweeted:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

To which, Tim Levad, a channel partner advocate for Cisco Alert Tweeted back:

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Ooops. You can read the entire story here.

In todays’ Portland Business Journal, there is an article called Job Hunting, Watch What You Tweet! You’ll notice that more and more HR departments are screening applicants online.

From the article:

“The number of companies using social networking Web sites to screen potential employees has doubled in the last year, and what they have found has killed the hire for more than a third of candidates, according to a CareerBuilder report.

Its survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers found that 45 percent are searching for information on job candidates, up from 22 percent a year ago. Another 11 percent say they plan to start using social networking sites for screening.

Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace are the top sites being screened, but 11 percent of hirers are searching blogs and 7 percent are following job applicants Twitter postings.

Thirty-five percent of employers decided not to hire someone because of what they found out about them on these sites.

Top reasons for choosing not to hire a candidate based on their social networking content include posting inappropriate photographs, content about them drinking or using drugs, bad-mouthing previous employers or clients and showing poor communications skills.

Resume Bear ran a simple online search and easily found hundreds of examples of things that people have said that could keep them from getting fired or prevent them from getting a job in the future. The blogger writes, “Many people don’t realize that even if you go back and later protect your updates or even go as far as deleting your Twitter account that your prior comments can still be seen.”

Some examples that Resume Bear found include:

Goofing off at work.

Ugh! I hate my job and very strongly dislike my bosses! Thank goodness im quitting in may!

bored…So bored. I hate my job.

I tricked my boss into agreeing to pay me more money! hee hee He is no match for this sales person 🙂 I am a pro.

Top Talent is Using Social Media Smartly

On the flip side of this, more top talent are using Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to promote themselves. Here is a description of one man who used Twitter to obtain a new job, as well as the response to him from his current boss:

Kyle really took an out of the box approach using Twitter. He had already informed his employer that he wanted to make a career move and made a list of the exact opportunity he was looking for, so he posted an announcement to his 700+ Twitter followers and described that role. So, between the agency referral, Kyle’s use of Twitter and the insights he’d posted on his blog, I knew he would be a great addition to the team. I emailed him immediately.

Once Kyle and I connected, we communicated throughout the interview process via Twitter. I followed his Twitter updates and sent him regular updates on what was going on at BreakingPoint and in the industry. I could also tell the other companies he was talking to in Austin so I knew my competition. It was also a good way to get to know each others’ interests and philosophy about the role prior to closing the deal.

I believe that Social Media will become essential to recruiting in the next few years. What does this mean for your business? It means that you should:

1) Make sure that your Web site has a section that promotes your company to new hires.

2) Have a presence on LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter that drives people to your Web site. Some new talent may think your company is old and stodgy if you don’t have a presence on these sites (remember, people in their 20s have grown up with the Internet and social media).

3) Begin to develop a social media strategy to entice quality talent and to screen applicants.

Be patient and stick with it. Online marketing and recruiting can take some time to see results. But, by doing these things, your company will be positioned miles ahead of your competition in finding the highest-quality talent. It will ensure that your business will thrive well into the future.

ABOUT Wendy Maynard

Wendy Maynard is the Strategic Director and co-founder of Kinesis, an award-winning marketing firm and business consultancy. She has over two decades of experience as a marketing strategist, business consultant, and executive coach. You can find her on Twitter and

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