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How Recruiters Use Social Media – Secrets Every Job Hunter Should Know


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How Recruiters Use Social Media – Secrets Every Job Hunter Should Know

Forward thinking companies are adopting social media into their recruitment process. Using tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, recruiters can both headhunt ideal candidates and vet job applicants. If you’re ready to leverage your job hunting efforts with social media, you need to understand what recruiters are looking for.

How Recruiters Use Social Media

When researching prospective employees, recruiters are using social media information to:

  • Confirm an applicant’s internet profile supports claims made in their resume
  • Compare similar applicants to assess who is the better recruit
  • Check for red flags that may disqualify an applicant
  • Evaluate an applicant’s professional image, experience and circle of influence

With these things in mind, it is clear you should ensure your social media profiles are truthful, comprehensive and business-focused. Remember, recruiters are looking everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Linked In – in fact, any site that appears in Google’s search results. Let’s take a closer look at what recruiters want to see when reading your social media profile.

Survive the Background Checks

What will your prospective employer discover when they Google your name? It’s no secret that employers conduct background checks on job applicants. Using social media, recruiters are able to investigate you with a simple internet search. Survive these background checks with the following guidelines:

  1. Make personal profiles private. Most people use at least one social network, typically Facebook or MySpace, to connect with friends and family. Fun conversations, personal photos and unprofessional comments have no place in your job search. A single inappropriate comment or photo, no matter how trivial, can raise a red flag with recruiters. Make it a priority to lock down your privacy settings, preventing recruiters from entering your personal network, viewing your personal photos and reading personal conversations.
  2. Avoid making controversial comments. Never voice your opinion on religion, sexual preference, politics or other people on your public business profile. Keep your conversation strictly professional, only discussing subjects relating to your field of expertise.
  3. Keep your online resume up-to-date. The resume you provide online, e.g. LinkedIn profile, should accurately reflect the resume you submit with your job applications. Missing information or exaggerated claims will leave recruiters doubting your honesty.
  4. Remove unfavourable information. Google your own name on a regular basis. If you find unfavourable information in Google’s search results – such as negative comments made about you, or comments you have made about others – make every attempt to remove it from the Internet.

Trump the Headhunt

Before social media, recruiters conducted time consuming research to headhunt desirable candidates. Only after significant effort, might they be lucky enough to discover one or two ideal prospects. With the advent of social media, headhunters are spoilt for choice. A simple internet search can retrieve a long list of qualified candidates.

For job hunters, this is both good and bad news. The good news is you have the opportunity to be headhunted and discovered. The bad news is you must invest more effort to build an impressive, professional image that stands out from the crowd. For maximum impact, follow these tips when creating your social media presence.

  1. Complete your full profile. Social media websites give you the opportunity to provide in-depth information about your qualifications and work history. If your job application is ever compared with another applicant’s, an incomplete profile may let you down. Flesh out your profile with as much detail as possible, listing your qualifications, work history, portfolio, resume, referrals, website links and more.
  2. Build a strong network. Focus on connections with industry peers who are seen to be active in your online community.
  3. Maintain a healthy balance of personal and business status updates. Employers want staff who are well rounded individuals. Intersperse your status updates and tweets with the occasional personal update. You might like to comment on the weather, your football team or your favorite restaurant. Remember to keep comments non-controversial and don’t mention names of friends and family.
  4. Be active in your online business community. Join forums and become a member of discussion groups in your field. Contribute regularly by asking and answering questions. Update your status often.
  5. Recommend and link to other people. Recommending your colleagues and linking to peers’ websites indicates you are a team player. Be selective with who you recommend, but be generous in helping others.
  6. Link to interesting information and respected industry websites. Demonstrate that you take interest in your profession and keep up-to-date with current news and trends. Link to interesting articles and resources, making insightful comments where possible.
  7. Seek genuine recommendations. One or two genuine recommendations from respected peers and colleagues is worth more than a hundred flippant recommendations from unknown people.
  8. Demonstrate your experience and expertise. You can do this by writing articles relating to your field and posting them online, or blogging about current industry trends
  9. List your involvement in non-paid projects. Whether it’s volunteer work or development of open source resources, enthusiasm for non-paid projects is bound to impress recruiters.

Give Recruiters What They Want

Now that you understand how recruiters use social media, you are well equipped to begin your job hunting campaign. Use social media to your advantage and don’t let it intimidate you. Simply give recruiters what they want. Showcase a well rounded business image and keep your personal life private.

Visit our Careers Resources section for articles related to your job search.

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