James Mayes

Guest Blog: A candidate’s view of Social Media

In Blogging, Guest post, LinkedIn, Recruitment, Social Media on March 22, 2011 at 6:19 am

I have a guest post for you today.  This comes from a candidate active in the jobs market now, just starting to understand how Social Media can aid a job search.  I really appreciate the time Beki took to write this, and I’d ask all readers to try to do three things:

  1. If you think there’s an angle she should try next in her search, let her know in the comments
  2. Consider her experience so far, and what it means for candidates coming into contact with your business
  3. Share either this post or her LinkedIn profile with other contacts you may have and help her on her way. Her profile is listed as Sweden, but she’s focussed on a UK job search.

Over to Beki….

LinkedIn Profile pictureI was fortunate to come across James’ blog and made a comment on one of his posts. I was extremely surprised by the response & it really started me thinking about social media and jobs & how it is under-utilised in the recruitment industry.

Please bear in mind as you read through this that I am new to social media and still incredibly naïve as to its power and application, I find myself learning new things everyday, which is incredibly motivational and is making a positive impact on how I view the world of social networking.

My career has taken me into all sorts of industries and all sorts of roles, please do look at my LinkedIn profile if you are interested. I am a people person, thriving off the energy of others and relishing in working with people to make the most of who they are and the subsequent benefit that always brings to the business. My networking skills, I thought, were pretty good. I have met a large number or recruiters (from the large to the small) throughout my career as both an employer and a potential candidate. Quite often great relationships built up as a candidate have led to very fruitful relationships as an employer. However until I really started to understand social networking and media I didn’t realise quite how far behind I was.

These are my tips and views so far – I still have a long way to go and will continue on this great learning journey, particularly once I am in a new role.

Candidates

  1. Get yourself properly represented on the right sites. By this I mean that you have to make sure that you are showing the right information on the right networking sites. For example – I do not link my twitter account to my LinkedIn account. Twitter is for my personal use, I don’t say anything outrageous on it, but having an update that says “son decided to tell the world my legs needed waxing today” is not something you want prospective recruiters or employers reading!
  2. Make sure the information is up to date and relevant. If you have a profile that you want people to respond to, or read further, then it has to push them to click through. Make sure you use phases that catch the eye on a skim read – the best way to do this is read other peoples’ profiles & note what makes you stop and think. Just with a CV, recruiters / employers are only skim reading initially, you have to catch their eye.
  3. Use a photograph – it just makes it more personal.
  4. Follow up leads. I was astounded at the number of people who read my profile on LinkedIn once I had commented on the blog. I spent time looking at who they were and contacting them direct or asking for recommendations from my contacts, once they had taken the time to read my profile. This is incredibly positive for your own ego, but it also strengthens your network and further opportunities.
  5. Blogs are an amazing source of information. Set some time aside to go through and read as many blogs as you can that are relevant to your job search. Don’t just focus on your industry though – think laterally – HR have a huge blogging population that tell you about all sorts of things that they are discussing, looking for, struggling with. For example I picked up that there was a shortage of maternity leave cover within a particular industry, it didn’t apply to me, but I passed it to a recruiter I know & he has already made 1 placement.  Make sure you get regular updates emailed to you from those blogs, and more importantly comment on them. You will be amazed at how responsive people will be that you have taken the time to read and comment on their blog.
  6. Don’t start and then stop
    This way of networking doesn’t stop. I was quite used to having someone as a contact in my phone and only calling on them every now and then. If you decide to utilise this market place, you have to commit to it. If your circumstances change, then that is great, but don’t lose momentum on what you have built up. This media moves on quickly and you have to move with it. Once you have your links, emails updates set up, keep following them up, maybe not as often by keep moving it forwards.
  7. Talk to other candidates. In the same way that you are presenting yourself of recruiters and companies, support other people who are out there doing the same as you. If you see their comment on a blog, offer your support or any ideas you may have. It will be reciprocated and appreciated.
  8. Saying thank you in the right way. This really is a helpful community – people genuinely want to help, even if there is not any real perceived benefit for them. That is a big difference to what I was used to previously, with phone, email, coffee and meetings. Please and thank you go a long way, however make sure you do it in the right way for that recipient – “retweeting”, referencing in your comments, “DMs” etc. Takes some getting used to, but it is the right thing to do.
  9. Keep it all in perspective: there will be peaks and troughs of interest in you as candidate. Keep level throughout. It is easy to get swept away with a huge surge of initial interest and then nothing or very little. Also bear in mind that this medium is very instant. So timing does become very important. Sending out a message first thing on a Monday morning, might not get the best response as everyone is catching up from the weekend; however it could be the best time for that industry, makes sure you know which it is.

Recruiters

I have learnt a lot about being a recruiter, it is a tough industry but there are some real benefits to be had from utilising social media in the right way. There are also a couple of points in here about treating people as people not as a commission payment, which will always benefit you longer term!

  1. Make sure you are up to date with what is happening in the social media for the industry that you are recruiting in. Trending on different topics at the moment, should be something you have linked to your email account daily and take the time to read about it. Comment on it too – it widens your network and your appeal. Candidates should be up to date on this information as well. For example I was interviewed by someone a couple of weeks ago about a role, I asked her what the impact of the Middle East was having on this business (it was entirely relevant). Her response was, “Oh I hadn’t thought of that, Ill see what the company …… has to say”. I had read that morning the latest updates & there was huge concern trending on the logistical side of this business about that exact issues. She was representing an international brand to me as a candidate – I am not so keen on that opportunity anymore, but will also not be picking up the phone to her company when I need a recruiter.
  2. What are the current trends in your market place? I’ve read some fantastic statistics and blogs on the recruitment industry recently. There are some really important and long-term implications that recruiters should be aware of and responding to now, particularly with regard to building long-term relationships with clients. Social media is such an easy form of capturing this information, it should be something you are doing regularly. However I have spoken to 2 of the major players, who have no contribution to any of the debates or seem aware of how the market is currently performing or not.
  3. Use different ways of approaching candidates. I have been contacted by several really good head hunters through different social media recently. James blog being a great example. They have done their research on me and presented themselves brilliantly. They have also followed up with what they said they would, emails or another phone call etc. By understanding my current position, they have flexed their approach, which means I am on board and working with them with minimal fuss or effort. Win for both sides, which has to be a more fruitful way to start this kind of working relationship.
  4. Really good candidates are already doing this – those candidates that you want working with you should already be utilising social media to their best advantage. If you’re not then it doesn’t show you as being up to date within their industry. You should know where the key links are and what the latest topics link to.
  5. Candidates talk to each other: not only about roles but also the most reliable and trustworthy recruiters that are out there. I have had several recommendations from others that I have followed up on, these are not people I have met in my actual career, but people I have come across through blogs and other profiles. All of which have proved really beneficial. I have also de-listed quite a few contacts that I have been discouraged by, both personally and by others comments.
  6. Your website has to be better! As I said in point 4, really good candidates are already utilising social networking. Your website must be up to date, easy to use, interactive and relevant. It can no longer just be about pictures and nice comments from candidates / clients.
  7. Not only are you representing your company, but also the one you are recruiting for. I was recently asked to an interview, through a recruitment agency, for a large high street brand. The recruiter was very keen for me to meet these people as they were to meet me. I arranged flights over and extended my stay to accommodate their diary. The recruiter was upbeat about my application and how well my values round people met those of his client. I was let down at interview twice by them, appointments and locations moved several times at my expense. However I was told, that whatever the outcome was I would be given constructive and helpful feedback every step of the way.  After my final interview, I was told, after going back to the recruiter several times, that they didn’t think I would fit. That was all, nothing since, despite a couple of requests from me for more information. I wont be using that agency again, I wont recommend them nor will I do the same for the company concerned. In this new social media world that could snowball quite quickly.

To both parties I would stress the following 2 points that you should always remember:

1. This is a fast paced medium that doesn’t rest. This works positively in that it doesn’t take up much of your time on a daily or weekly basis (once you have done your research); but it also means that you can quickly get left behind

2. This is an incredibly powerful medium, more so than I think we currently give it credit for. On the plus side you can really make it work for you, on the downside if you set yourself up within it and make an error of judgement or treat someone unfairly or poorly the repercussions are quick and difficult to recover from.

And so the statistics – from one comment on one blog (albeit a really good one, blog that is) I have had 19 recruiters look at my profile and 12 HR directors on LinkedIn. I have followed up on all of them and had phone conversations with 7 recruiters and email responses from 3 HR directors. All of whom have now linked with me. I have started to follow 4 more blogs both in HR arena and social media and am actively looking for more.

thank you for reading

My search for a new role continues, which has been boosted significantly, but I am more confident that once I find my new role I will have an even better resource to call upon for recruiting within my new company.

  1. Becki,

    It sounds like you would make a great recruiter to me!
    🙂

    Very best of luck in your search.

    Katharine

  2. Thank you Katharine – great idea!

  3. One day, all good Directors will be like you.

    Beki, all the best in your search.

  4. Thank you Charles, I certainly dont have all the answers but will keep trying!

  5. Excellent blog! Thanks Beki. Extremely interesting and inspiring – especially to an inquisitive and fast learning social media virgin like me!

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