Archives for the month of: May, 2011

The volume and constant flow of today’s online information can make it difficult to stand out in the sea of resumes and profiles, often making it difficult for recruiters to pinpoint the right candidates. The applicants who possess qualities suited for the company may not put as much time into polishing their personal profiles as they do their resumes and cover letters.

Trufflepig Search sees social networking sites as a hub of opportunities for people to not only stay connected, but also a place for prospects to market themselves as potential employees. The search power that comes with being part of a social network—because it is social—creates more chances for recruiters to recognize a candidate with a history of engagement in industries relevant to the hiring company. Sites like LinkedIn, in particular, are especially useful for showcasing accumulated experience in the workforce because of its professional focus on networking.

In her article, “Everybody’s Business,” Margaret Milkint of Best’s Review advises jobseekers to become proactive in the virtual world so that employers can spot a prospective candidate: “Merely joining a social network is equivalent to hiding in the corner at a networking event. With your original goal in mind, participate! Search for and link to, friends or follow people who can add value. Join relevant groups; monitor or post jobs; and share interesting links and insightful remarks. … demonstrate a willingness to act … by participating in the conversation.”

LinkedIn even provides its users with a profile-building checklist to maximize their exposure to recruiters. Use it!

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Social networking gave more access to employers and employees alike, connecting people more easily and faster than ever. Social sites like LinkedIn can provide job seekers with any company’s listings instantly and give employers access to jobseekers quickly.  Although there are obvious negative effects of such transparency, the benefits of using social networking sites as a hiring tool outweigh its risks. Recruiters should continue utilizing the sites, they should also be careful in selecting the criteria they use to review candidates.

The American Journal of Business Education explains that the top three reasons employers reject candidates after online screenings are because they posted “provocative or inappropriate photos or information… content regarding use of drinking or drugs, and because they bad mouthed a previous employer, co-worker, or client” (Vicknair, 2010). Companies can use social networking sites before hiring to avoid candidates with poor work ethic, lack of professionalism, or who engage in illicit activities—details that no applicant would willingly disclose in an interview. Donald Kluemper of Louisiana State University and Peter Rosen of the University of Evansville in Indiana say personal pages on Facebook and similar social networking sites can be used to predict the personality of a job candidate, much like a personality test (HR Magazine, 2010).

Many people searching for jobs fear that recruiters might use social networking sites to invade their privacy or discriminate based on inappropriate criteria. While this is a valid concern, applicants always have the option of keeping their information private; it is the responsibility of the candidate to know the consequences of self-presentation and to employ censorship if necessary. Only if an employer somehow gains access to private information (only accessible to “friends” or a customizable list), would the candidate have a legal claim against the employer for invasion of privacy (Practical Lawyer, Martucci, 2010).

Employers must also be aware that visiting a candidate’s profile could result in finding information that would otherwise be off-limits for employers to inquire about. Basing hiring decisions on attributes such as disability, race, religion, and age could result in unlawful discrimination against the potential employee. To avoid liability, it is crucial that all searches and sites visited be well documented. That said, the value of engaging on social sites is still growing and candidates should keep an updated professional profile on LinkedIn, complete with recommendations, descriptions, keywords, and groups. This is fast becoming a valuable source for recruiters, including ours at Trufflepig Search.

References

 

Martucci, W., Oldvader, J., & Smith, J.. (2010, October). Hiring And Firing In The Facebook Age (With Sample Provisions). Practical Lawyer. Retrieved from Law Module. (Document ID: 2186179701).

Society for Human Resource Management. (2010, February). The other face of Facebook.

HR Magazine. Retrieved from:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3495/is_2_55/ai_n52359315/

Vicknair, J., Elkersh, D., Yancey, K., & Budden, M.. (2010). The use of social networking websites as a recruiting tool for employers. American Journal of Business Education, 3(11), 7-12.  Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2216409391).

 

Social media presents new options for recruiters to find candidate background but the traditional methods of researching potential employees are still essential. According to HR Magazine, many corporate attorneys limit what its employees can say about past employees, even employees who could benefit from compliments on good work ethic (Meinert, 2011).

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll on background checks taken in 2010 revealed that most information provided by former employers gives limited help in deciding whether a candidate is a good company match. Of the 433 responding organizations, 98% said they would verify the dates of employment for current or former employees. More than two-thirds said they would not discuss work performance, and over 80% said they would neither discuss character and personality nor any disciplinary actions taken while the candidate was employed (Meinert, 2011). Because references are not always a reliable source of useful information, companies are turning to social networking sites to aid in background checks.

Of course, phone calls and profile research are still essential to the hiring process. Screening through social networking sites is much more cost-effective than traditional phone interviews. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter all provide free services where companies can post career opportunities that gain exposure to consumers as well. However, Trufflepig Search understands that nothing can take the place of first hand interaction. Interviews offer a better chance to interpret the candidate’s tone and indicate certain personality traits.

It’s still time consuming but important to contact phone references. Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster, a background-screening company, states that, for a traditional reference check by phone, it takes 76 minutes to try to contact three references and reach two (Meinert, 2011).

Trufflepig Search uses social networking sites to find candidates who are Internet-savvy and know about LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Applicants who are familiar with these social networking sites are especially valuable.

Especially in tough economic times, we at Trufflepig Search know the value of incorporating social media into our recruiting efforts.

References

Meinert, D.. (2011, February). SEEING BEHIND THE MASK. HR Magazine, 56(2), 31-32,34,36-37.  Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2251277611).

Weinstein, M.. (2010, September). Are You LinkedIn? Training, 47(5), 30-33.  Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2250060131).

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