Guest post by Eric Reid (@ciaoenrico) an SEO, blogger and social media marketer from Tempe, Arizona. He writes about these subjects on his own blog, Ciaoenrico. In his spare time, he writes plays and posts minutiae to Brightkite.
There is a wealth of advice on how to get your company to go “social.” But people leave over time, and new positions need to be filled. It may be beneficial to you to find out during the hiring process which people, if hired, can not only do the job, but speak for your company.
Is Facebook a Resume Builder?
I wouldn’t say you should change your hiring priorities so you find someone whose Facebook page is blowing up. Still, if the most qualified candidate has that as well, it just makes them more of an asset to you. Perhaps you’ll come up with two identically qualified candidates, but one is a very popular blogger in his field. Wouldn’t that make your choice a little easier? What if you have one candidate with a larger number of contacts in Linkedin, but another who is much more active on Linkedin’s Answers and Groups, and always has a new update? Which would be more important to you?
Fish Where the Fish Are
If you’re interested in finding a new employee who has these kinds of skills, start posting your jobs on social networks. It’s no guarantee that the person who responds to the listing will also be a social media power user, but it is a start. A lot of job hunters use Linkedin to find jobs these days as it is, and many more are finding out about new jobs on Twitter. So it already behooves you to look there if you want to attract the most talent.
In your interview process, ask your applicants if they use any of the social media sites you want your company to be on, and if they mind telling you their user profiles. Aside from letting you see how well versed they are in one social network or another; it answers the question for them about whether or not you do that kind of background check. By now we’re all aware that when you go looking for a job, you don’t post anything that will be tough to explain later. A candidate who isn’t hip enough to know they shouldn’t post pictures of themselves drunk and mauling teenage girls could also be the kind of employee who tweets, “I hate this job. This place sucks. I wish a heavy object would fall on my supervisor’s head.”
That having been said, I would also recommend viewing their postings with a grain of salt. Maybe they posted something once or twice about how the Illuminati are responsible for all the photo radar cameras in Tempe. If they’ve created thousands of other much more sane posts, you shouldn’t hang them for their minor dabbling in conspiracy theory. Social media represents people being themselves – warts and all. If on occasion they share something stupid, fine. We’re all stupid from time to time. You’ll just have to play it as it lies.
Finally, consider which sites your own marketing strategy needs to be on, and how well you’re covering all of these bases. Say you have a blog and profiles to maintain on Twitter, Facebook and fashion social net Polyvore. You have a lot of people already on all of these sites except Polyvore. When you go to the interview, don’t just ask if your applicants use social – ask them if they use Polyvore. Ask them how they use it, what kind of network they’ve put together, and if they’d be willing to speak for you on that site in addition to the job you’re hiring them for. You might find someone who could teach classes on Polyvore, and is willing to teach others in your company how to use it and why it’s so useful to you.
(photo by Justin Marty)