'I'm your social media guru'

by CynthiaYockey on October 25, 2009

H/T Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason magazine’s Hit-and-Run blog.

In August The Bloggess, whom I love pure and chaste from afar, wrote “How not to get fired for using social networking” — speaking of which, while you’re in the neighborhood, I also recommend her post, “Get my husband off Facebook” — I adore her husband, Victor, too. Where was I? Oh, right — the link from The Bloggess’s social networking post led me to the following two pieces at Mashable, which I found sobering because blogging is about as much obsession as I can handle right now, although I love how Facebook is giving Gov. Sarah Palin access to the marketplace of ideas whenever she wants it, and while I seldom tweet, Dooce (via Instapundit) recently made the power of Twitter electrifyingly clear to me — which I also experienced, come to think of it, when I was part of The Bloggess’s Twitter army — see The Bloggess Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four — which besieged William Shatner until he unblocked The Bloggess. (We tweeted absurd accusations against William Shatner marked #unblockthebloggess for a week before he and/or his Twitter amanuensis/proxy figured out that that army was only going to keep growing and yet would be satisfied and call truce with one simple click.)

Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable (boldfacing mine) writes that new research shows 45 percent of employers check out prospective employees on social media sites to screen candidates:

This according to research firm Harris Interactive, who was commissioned by CareerBuilder.com and surveyed 2,667 HR professionals, finding that 45% of them use social networking sites to research job candidates, with an additional 11% planning to implement social media screening in the very near future.

According to the study, “thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate.” The big lessons you can learn are quite obvious, but bear repeating. Provocative photos and info are a bad idea (53% of employers won’t hire you), shared content with booze and drugs is also highly dangerous (44% dismissed candidates for this reason), and bad-mouthing former employers is very risky behavior (35% reported this a the main reason they didn’t hire a candidate).

We also think it interesting that emoticons, those friendly smiley faces you see everywhere, are actually big no-nos in direct communication. 14% of surveyed employers disregard candidates for that single lapse in judgment alone.

[However] there’s still opportunity to use your social presence to land that job. The survey also found that, “eighteen percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate.”

If that freaks you out, here’s advice at Mashable from on how to pass the social media recruitment test:

So in today’s world of information overload where talent is literally available by the truckloads, I thought it would be relevant to write a post about how we evaluate a candidate’s social media footprint to determine (when all else is equal) which candidates we would contact and which ones get left by the wayside. I posed the following question to make it simple:

If all else were equal, like education, work history and general skill set, and I had to evaluate the social media footprints of two candidates to determine which one of them I would contact, which one would I contact and why? In my experience, I would contact the one who:

On Linked In

  1. Has genuine recommendations from peers, managers and colleagues
  2. Has the more complete profile
  3. Is a member of more groups pertaining to their respective field
  4. Has a picture
  5. Lists interests, hobbies and other information related to their life outside of work
  6. Participates and highlights their involvement in non-paid projects related to their field (open-source, community, volunteer, conference)
  7. Updates their status more often
  8. Asks and answers more questions
  9. Links to their employer, blog and other projects of interest
  10. Has the larger network

On their blog

  1. Has interesting things to say about their respective profession and industry
  2. Provides glimpses into their life outside of work – family, friends, hobbies, etc.
  3. Does not bad-mouth their current or previous employer
  4. Provides links to their other social networking profiles
  5. Includes a link to their current resume
  6. Updates with new posts regularly
  7. Keeps it non-controversial – minimal discussion of sex, politics, religion and other such controversial topics.
  8. Is more genuine and honest
  9. Has a blogroll with link to other interesting blogs

On Facebook

  1. Respects the overlap between their personal and professional lives
  2. Updates often
  3. Posts pictures of friends and family but keeps them pg-13
  4. Keeps it non-controversial – doesn’t take extreme positions on sex, drugs, religion, politics or other topics that could cause an employer to be wary of hiring
  5. Is a member of groups relevant to their profession

On Twitter

  1. Tweets often (between 2-10 times per day is considered reasonable)
  2. Has a healthy followers/following ratio
  3. Has the biggest network
  4. Keeps a healthy balance between personal and professional tweets
  5. Doesn’t just update, but also responds to others and generally seems to get Twitter

When Googled

  1. Does not lead to something controversial like arrests
  2. Leads to profession-related discussions and commentary on other social media sites
  3. Leads me to their online blog, webpage or social media profiles
  4. Doesn’t come up blank

Do go read the rest of the post on why all this matters and what to do if you’re a newbie. Also, the author recruits for the software development industry — other industries may not need this level of skill with social media.

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