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Web posts can make or break your career

Web posts can make or break your career

Recruiters are increasingly gauging the suitability of candidates by looking up their posts on social media

Suparna Goswami Bhattacharya

May 7, 2015: That LinkedIn and Facebook are used by companies to hunt for the right candidate is well known. But now more and more firms are going beyond and using other social media platforms, like Quora or/and Hacker News, to zero in on the right person for their company. Hacker News is a social news website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship while Quora is question-answer website where questions are created and answered by a community of users.

“Just like Facebook, social platforms like Quora and Hacker News are not specifically meant for recruitment purpose. However, these sites provide an insight into a person’s domain knowledge and field expertise,” remarks Madhur Ramani, co-founder and Managing Partner, Stratum Consulting, a business innovation firm. A recruiter typically looks into how articulate and in-depth are answers given by people. “Typically, a good answer can catch the attention of many recruiters,” says Ramani.

Ganesh S, who runs a startup called FexiGen, uses Quora to interact with students who can be prospective hires. “Being a startup, we are a small team. But I am constantly on the lookout for good engineering and technical talent. LinkedIn usually has people with experience. Since I mostly look for freshers, I find Quora helpful,” he remarks.

As of 2014, around a third of employers in the USA and the UK have posted jobs on social networking sites like Facebook, Quora and Twitter, and 22 percent of these employers have hired a candidate they found on a social networking site. Additionally, 43 percent of employers have used these social networking sites to research job candidates. “LinkedIn can be good for certain types of jobs, but its user base is a small portion of the total employable workforce. Therefore, other networks and methods are crucial in a social recruitment strategy,” says Chirag Nangia, CEO, Reppify, a San Francisco-based business that uses integrated social media data to help companies find the right hires.

An employer typically looks at a candidate’s personality and sees if they fit well with the company’s culture. “They also look whether a candidate's background information supported their professional qualifications for the job. Also, these platforms are a great way to know somebody’s interest areas outside of work,” says Mary Lorenz, corporate communications manager, CareerBuilder.

In fact, recruiters are also extending their search to sites where one would least expect -- Pinterest and Instagram. “Instagram and Pinterest can be great to drive engagement and brand recognition. Our research shows that the majority of candidates - 62 percent - research companies on social networking sites to evaluate them before applying. So it’s important for companies to have a presence on these channels,” says Lorenz.

For job seekers

There is a lot that you can do with your profile to attract the right attention. Start by evaluating your own social media profile to make sure they are employer friendly. “Provide a link from your resume to your online portfolio, blog or Twitter account so that employers can easily find and learn about you,” says Lorenz.

In fact, since many companies have social media pages dedicated solely to recruitment, one can even reach out to these companies via this channel.

The CEO’s life

Though nobody ever said that a CEO’s life is easy, it seems to be tougher in the age of social networking. Not only is it tough for CEOs to put up personal pictures of them holidaying with their family, it is difficult to express personal opinions on sensitive topics as well.

According to Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) Research Spotlight, CEOs are seldom active on social media platforms. Only 15% CEOs use LinkedIn to build relationships with external audiences while many blog about recent company developments. Organisations seldom use social media to track a CEO’s personal or professional life, the research stated.  

“We do not usually find a CEO very active on social media nor is social media often used by companies to track a prospective CEO’s personal life,” remarks Ramani.

Qais al Khonji, who runs Genesis Projects and Investments in Oman, is not very active on Facebook or Twitter. “I am on WhatsApp and Instagram. On Instagram, I post both my personal as well as professional pictures, like events that I am attending or planning to attend. I usually express my views if I have to convey a message to my followers,” says Khonji adding that he refrains from commenting on any person or group of any kind. He actively posts news about his company on social networking platforms.

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