Recruitment Through Social Media – What You Should Know

Social media are on the rise, that much is for sure. But lately, employers (ranging from private companies and big multinationals to temporary work agencies) have picked up this trend and are using social media as a tool for recruitment and selection. And why not? If it helps them find the most suited person for a job opening it’s all good right? But what does that mean for you and your presence on social networks? Here’s what you should know.

First of all, social media encompasses a lot more than just Facebook and Twitter. Social media is everything from social networks such as Facebook to blogs, podcasts, video’s (YouTube for example). It’s a lot more than you’d expect, and just about everyone with an internet connection in the western world of connected to some kind of social media platform.

Recent studies have shown that 45% of employers screen their prospects and applicants through social media. It’s not hard at all to find someone on the internet once you have a name. Just head over to Pipl.com and type in your own name and see what comes up. I was surprised how much information I shared and still share on the internet. Now, 35% of employers who screen using social media reports that they refrained from hiring someone based on their findings. That’s a huge amount of people being turned down by something on their public profiles.

Going even further, people even got fired because of something they posted on Facebook or Twitter. Just look at this image or this video. Best advice here? Don’t add your boss or colleagues on Facebook/Twitter or make sure they can’t see what you write.

Now, before you go deleting all your accounts on whatever website you registered at, relax. Studies have shown that most employers only look at LinkedIn (95%), Facebook (58%) and Twitter (42%). So be careful what you post on there, keep private things private, adjust your privacy settings accordingly, sort colleagues in lists with limited access to your profile and whatnot. More on that later.

Employers don’t just use social media to ‘spy’ on applicants. Yes, I put that between brackets because once you post something on the internet it’s basically public knowledge and you can’t take it back. You can select all the privacy settings you want on social networking sites, but the fact is, if you post it, it has the potential to be seen by someone you don’t want seeing it. Employers also use social media to find new contacts, searching specific hard to find competences, headhunting and looking for passive candidates. Social media turns out to be a tremendous asset to businesses, and not just from an HR perspective. Think about all the marketing possibilities too.

Let’s circle back to recruitment for a minute. The types of people attracted through social media are mostly middle managers, senior managers and entry-level employees. The last category makes a lot of sense, because people using all kinds of social media are young people around 20 – 25 years old. Middle managers and senior managers often get headhunted through websites such as LinkedIn where they often have extensive profiles that details their education and experience (if you’re a professional of any kind you should be on LinkedIn).

There’s plenty of social media strategies for HR purposes and how it’s connected to other business units such as marketing and finance, but that’s not the side we want to look at (nor is it what you want to know, I’m sure). You want to know what all this means for you right? Well, quite a few things actually:

First of all, it means that you’re being looked at from various angles during the recruitment process. Whereas it used to be just interviews and resumes it’s now so much more. Employers have the chance to look into your private life and they might not like what they see there.

Secondly, this also means that you have to be very mindful about what you write on your wall and what you tweet. The best advice here would be to separate your private activities from your professional life. For example, don’t add colleagues or superiors on Facebook but add them on LinkedIn, a platform you use solely for professional purposes. Furthermore, adjust privacy settings to keep your profiles public. This is especially important for Facebook, as they tend to change stuff around without telling anyone so be sure to check your privacy settings regularly (Now, for example, as they recently overhauled it).

Even when you did all these things, there’s still stuff you DO NOT post about. EVER.

  • Personal conversations (Private messaging is there for a reason)
  • Social plans (Posting ‘Gonna get drunk tonight’ will not help you in any way)
  • Don’t link social networks to each other. As I said, keep private and professional lives separate.
  • (Sensitive) Company information
  • Address and/or phone numbers
  • Anything else you don’t want shared (Passwords, answers to secret questions, …)

Thirdly, be mindful of what e-mail address you use for which account. Again, the rule of thumb is use one for private purposes and one for professional goals (a recruiter does look at your e-mail so don’t use hawtgurl69@hotmail.com).

Next, be careful what apps you give access to. Often people find that apps have a lot more access to their information than they thought. Be especially wary of third-party applications as you have no idea what they do with your information or who they’re selling it to (Personal information is among the highest valued resources these days and companies will pay top dollar for it).

Furthermore, untag every single photo of yourself in potentially negative situations. You have a photo where you’re lying on the ground in your own vomit with a bottle of vodka nearby? Untag! You don’t want to find your photo on Fail Blog’s ‘After 12’ section  in a couple of years.

In regards to recruitment: don’t show a outspoken bias to any single company, it might prevent their immediate competition from even considering you as an employee.

And finally, don’t connect with everyone. This is true for professional purposes but also for private goals. Don’t add people you don’t know (it’s not the same for Twitter). Having 1245 Facebook friends doesn’t make you popular or interesting. It’s just more people that have access to more information than you could possibly want. Clean out your friend list regularly, that means either unfriending some people or putting them in lists with limited access.

There, that’s about all I can come up with right now. Please remember that you will make mistakes to these rules of thumb, I know I have … there’s no shame in it, just be mindful about what you do from now on. I hope I at least made you see the impact of social media on searching for a job nowadays. Don’t hesitate to share your comments in the comment section. Now, go untag those drunken photos!

/Niels

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Unraveling the Facebook Timeline Launch Mystery

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Timeline at the F8 event last month, the social media world has been busy trying to guess when the new profile layout — which focuses on users’ entire lives rather than their most recent updates — will launch for all Facebook users.

Would it be Septembre 29? Obviously not, since that date came and went. Octobre 6? Nope, same story. How about Octobre 19? Probably not.

Here’s why: When users activate the Timeline feature, Facebook gives them a date when their personal profiles will publish. It does not necessarily refer to the date when all users will receive the feature, and varies from user to user. For example, mine was released a couple of days ago (I think).

Apparently, the date when Timeline profiles go live seems to relate to when the profile was activated. Someone who activates today, for instance, receives a later date than someone who activated a couple of days ago.

Some sources have interpreted the multiple dates as evidence that Facebook has pushed back its public launch of Timelines, perhaps as a result of a the lawsuit that was filed by Timelines.com (nothing in the legal filing indicates that Facebook changed its Timeline launch date). It is more likely that the feature is intended to launch gradually rather than all at once. We haven’t heard news of a launch date, because there isn’t just one. A Facebook representative said that the new feature will be ‘rolled out in the coming weeks’, he did not say ‘launch’

So yeah, it’s different for every one of us. I’d recommend getting it as quickly as possible, because it really is a great feature that opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of design and job recruitment. Other than that, I don’t really believe that it poses a more severe privacy threat than Facebook already does.

What do you think about the Facebook Timeline? Let me know in the comments!

/Niels

First Look At The Facebook Timeline

Just recently Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s new Timeline profile pages at the F8 event. Today we’re taking a first look at the new features of these Timeline profile pages, and boy will your profile change. I can already hear the incessant whining of people who are too lazy or unable to learn the new system. Just imagine the hundreds of fan pages that go viral and get thousands of likes crying to go back to the earlier profile pages.

Zuckerberg announces ‘Timeline’

Now, let’s take a look shall we.

The goal of this new profile page setup is to create a Facebook experience where one can go on the profile of the friend and go back and see what they did today, yesterday, last month and back when they signed up to Facebook. It’s a moving collage of photos, videos, status updates, new friends that give you a clear picture of someone’s life and personality.

I had the chance to try out Timeline already by a method I found on Mashable.com. The following is my first impression of the new feature, paired with a couple of screenshots.

Alright, let’s talk design and look first. The interface looks amazing and is appealing to the eye. The cover photo option gives an extra dimension to the whole and another opportunity to personalize your timeline. It will take some time to get used to the new lay-out, even for Facebook savvy people. Once you get used to it though it gets really easy to navigate, I might even go as far as saying that it’s easier than before. Obviously a lot of thought was put into this.

The system runs smoothly with a couple of hiccups here and there but that’s to be expected as it’s a developer preview, and not the actual system to be released on 30 September. The only beef I have with it is that you can’t choose specific points on your timeline to watch, in much the same way as scrolling down your news feed for a while.

The new photo page is pretty nice as well, moving your photos closer together and more easily accessible and arranged by date.

The Timeline itself a wonderful new feature, but it can be a bit confusing to find specific dates or posts. It’s a really powerful way to get to know your friends and I imagine it’ll be quite the recruitment tool as well. It’s an in-depth glimpse into someone’s life. For the Facebook users of the first hour, however, the Timeline won’t be as complete as new members who have a much more complete profile than us already. So it’s more catered towards the newer members.

Next to that, it’s pretty time consuming if you want to sort it out properly and delete and/or hide certain posts that have no meaning or relevance whatsoever. I’d advise you to sort through ALL your posts to avoid any awkward situations (I look forward to seeing plenty of those on lamebook.com).

There’s also a new box for updating your status that I’d like to say a few words about. The publishing box has been made more versatile. On top of adding your status update you can know also add a job, milestones, health, relationships, education, family and living. You can now tell your friends EVERYTHING you do or experience, no idea why anyone would care if I broke a nail though.

In summary, the new Facebook Timeline is a neat and pretty feature that will help personalize your profile, together with apps that will be playing a more important role in the future. I do think there is some things that can be done to make it better though, such as making it easier to go back to certain dates and getting rid of all the social game posts. This will help to lower the time spent on getting your Timeline trimmed to your liking. Again, be wary of awkward situations as a result of poorly chosen status updates from times past.

Users will no doubt spend a lot of time on each other’s Timelines and I have no doubt that it will be a new way to kill time in class. Rejoice!

Check out this introduction video to Facebook’s Timeline.

PS: I know the screenshots are in Dutch, because I am from Belgium and I was too lazy to change it. Also, blurred the faces with my awesome Paint skills.

/Niels

Facebook gets a facelift

Facebook is busy putting out some rather large updates of their social network. Just this week we saw the implementation of the ‘smart lists’. More updates and changes will follow in the next week.

The biggest social network of them all is busy changing the very foundations of the entire website. Facebook is with 750 million users still the biggest social network out there, but has received a lot of criticism over the last few years. Mark Zuckerberg and co are now responding to all the critics by releasing a couple of new features. The other new features and updates to the website will most likely be announced at the F8 fair. Not surprisingly, the new features resemble those of other social networks.

For instance, the so-called ‘smart lists’ that automatically bundles friends based on interests, work, school and numerous other categories. Personally I find this feature quite useful as it’s the ideal way to keep track of friends that share a common history with you. Though it can make for some awkward situations, so the best advice I can give you is to manage those lists by yourself instead of letting Facebook do it for you. If you’re familiar with Google+ you probably know this feature as well as it resembles Google+’s ‘circles’. Integrating one of the main selling points of the competition is a pretty smart move for Facebook, especially since Google+ seems to have stagnated regarding the number of new users.

Even though Google+ went public (instead of on invite only) the hype seems to have died a quick and quiet death. This is due in part to counter actions by Facebook.

Zuckerberg has a couple more tricks up his sleeve however. According to anonymous sources Facebook is working on implementing a music platform in cooperation with streaming services such as Spotify. Next to that there are also rumours of an app-store.

Furthermore, the Facebook homepage might also get a make-over so that you can monitor what your friends are doing in real-time. Moar Facebook stalking lulz!

And last but not least, rumours have been circulating on new buttons next to the existing ‘Like’ button. Rumour has it there will be buttons to indicate that you listened to something, read something or watched something. Maybe we can also hope for a dislike button? Can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for one of those!

/Niels

Social media and its impact on the world

Social media, we all come in contact with it these days. In fact, this whole blog can be counted as social media as you can communicate, i.e. bein socially active, with other people. I’m sure you all have Facebook and maybe Twitter where you share all you ever wanted with half the world.

Social media has become increasingly popular in the last few years and has anchored in today’s society. But what exactly are social media? Well, the explanation is in the name itself, it’s an environment for people to meet and chat about topics of their liking. Several social media websites have spawned into existence in the recent years, most of which you already know. For example there is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Myspace. It’s safe to say that these are the most known with Facebook and Twitter right at the head of this list. Currently, Facebook is on 500 million users. To put that into perspective, that is 1/12 of the world’s population registered on the same website. That’s a massive amount of people that you can instantly connect to! So naturally that brings a lot of opportunities and threats (Starting to sound like a SWOT-analysis here). Continue reading “Social media and its impact on the world”