We recently published a blog post titled "The Job Seeker Side of the Social Media Equation for Hiring." So it makes sense that we would also address the employer side of the equation.
The reason is simple: social media is an unavoidable part of the employment marketplace. The younger a person is, the more ingrained social media is in their personal and professional life. Even older workers have multiple social media accounts and use them to a considerable extent.
So the conclusion is this: from an employer's perspective, social media can NOT be ignored.
With job seekers, it doesn't matter if they're looking for a new position or not. Social media can and does have an effect on their current job and their career. Conversely, with employers, it doesn't matter if they're looking for new employees or not. Social media can and does have an effect on their organization.
Let's take a look at those two scenarios separately: when an employer is looking for new employees and when they're not.
When they're NOT looking for new employees
This is when an organization might be tempted to ignore social media, but that would be a mistake. This speaks to the topic of employer branding. Not only do job seekers expect a company to have a presence on social media, but so do that company's employees.
Speaking of which, a company's employees represent a great way to leverage the power of social media. That's because they all have accounts, as well, and could do quite a lot to brand the organization through the various channels. When a company's employees use social media to say positive things about their employer, that's a powerful branding message that's difficult to ignore.
When they ARE looking for new employees
This is when a company can really leverage the power of social media, and it can do so in a couple of different ways. The first way is proactive, while the second way is more passive.
That first way is to actively promote job openings through social media channels. This can be done more effectively with LinkedIn, the professional social media network. However, it can also be done to varying degrees of success with some of the other popular platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Not only can company officials get more exposure for their open positions, but they can also direct job seekers to the place on the company website where they can apply for those positions.
The second way is to promote the company itself through social media channels. That's because, from an employer's perspective, if you're not "selling" an open position to job seekers, then you're "selling" the organization. Company culture is extremely important in this day and age, and social media is an effective tool for promoting that culture.
It doesn't matter what kind of organization you are. It doesn't matter what kind of employees you hire. The fact of the matter is that you can NOT simply ignore social media.
There is no "neutral branding" with social media in regards to employers. If you don't participate, it reflects poorly on your organization and its attempts to hire.
It should come as no surprise to you, but social media is not going away. It’s here to stay, and it affects every area of our lives—including our work life.
You might not be a banker or a lawyer, so you may be tempted to think that social media doesn’t matter that much to your career. But that would be a mistaken assumption. Social media plays a central role in your work life, no matter if you’re actively looking for a new job or not.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that you are looking. Or at the very least, you’d be open to the possibility of seeking out a new opportunity, regardless of whether it’s a direct or contract position.
Taking a page from the medical field, the first rule when it comes to social media in regards to your job and your career is “Do no harm.” There are two sides to that reference:
“Do no harm” at your current employer with the job that you have right now.
“Do no harm” in terms of damaging you chances of landing a new job with another employer
There are two sides because social media has the power to influence your career both in terms of your current job and any future opportunities. That reality underscores the importance of taking social media seriously and recognizing that social media is not just “social.”
Social media is also “professional.” Whether you like it or not.
That’s because a potential employer can search for you on the various social media platforms. And before you ask the question, it doesn’t matter if you’re connected with them, are “friends” with them, or you follow them or they follow you. They can still, to a large extent, see the type of information that you post.
AND they can use that information to make an informed decision about whether or not you would be a good employee for their organization. That’s why it’s in your best interests to ensure that what they see leaves them with a positive impression. (Or at the very least, not a negative one.)
With all of that mind, below are four simple steps for making sure that your social media accounts don’t cost you a job:
#1—Use an appropriate profile photo.
This is perhaps the easiest step. Common sense should tell you what is appropriate and what is not. You certainly do not need a professional head shot, but one from your buddy’s bachelor party is a no-go.
#2—Be sensible about your profile information.
Take the same approach as you do with your photo. It doesn’t have to be uber-professional, especially for sites like Facebook and Instagram. However, you should strive to achieve some balance. Words of wisdom: err on the side of caution.
#3—Be careful of what you post.
Yes, it’s easy to get carried away on social media, especially during an election year or if you like to discuss politics. You should also resist the urge to post anything that might be in overall poor taste. Funny is funny, but funny won’t get you hired.
#4—Be careful of how you comment/respond.
The same rules apply here. Comment in a respectful fashion, even if you disagree with the person. This is the Internet. A tirade of profanities can and will damage your personal brand . . . which in turn can damage your professional brand.
If you have a Twitter account, we invite you to follow Time Staffing. We also encourage you to check us out on LinkedIn.
Time Staffing Inc.