Job Seekers Need to Be on Social Media

It’s practically mandatory for job seekers to have a presence online.

By Jen Schramm Jan 11, 2016
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HR Magazine December 2015Do you have a LinkedIn account, Twitter handle or blog? If not, you’re probably not likely to land a new job anytime soon. That’s because most HR professionals think it’s important for job seekers to have an online presence, according to a new study from the Society for Human Resource Management and Ascendo Resources, a staffing company.

What’s the top online channel job seekers should use? Nine out of 10 HR professionals say it’s LinkedIn. Meanwhile, more than 8 out of 10 believe it’s important to be on relevant professional or association networking sites. Recruiters consider Facebook and blogs to be less important.

The value of a social media presence also differs depending on the type of job being filled. Not surprisingly, more than three-quarters of recruiters deemed it very important for those seeking jobs in communications, media and public relations; marketing and sales; and advertising. Meanwhile, more than half said it was very important for IT/computer specialists, HR staff and executives.

But even for jobs not typically associated with social media, such as manufacturing, construction and transportation positions, about one-fifth still view having a social media presence as critical.

Looking at where recruiters sourced their recent hires underscores the value of a healthy social (media) life. About two-thirds of organizations found new employees through social media sites in the past year, mainly LinkedIn and professional or association networking channels.

Despite the benefits of using social media for recruiting, there are several caveats to keep in mind. Employers face some legal risk for the actual or perceived use of the information gleaned from a job seeker’s profile, especially if it reveals information about whether the person is in a protected class. In addition, HR shouldn’t try to connect to candidates whose profiles aren’t open because that could be seen as an invasion of privacy. Organizations also run the risk of relying too heavily on online channels in their recruiting efforts when they should seek out applicants through an array of sources. But when used correctly, there’s a lot to gain from being social.

Jen Schramm is manager of the Workforce Trends program at SHRM.

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