Social Media and Recruiting

Do you “tweet”? Do you have a Facebook page? Are you LinkedIn?

The explosion of social media can be confusing to even the most tech-savvy individual. People of a certain age (you know who you are!) may even tend to dismiss all the rapid-fire communications as a passing fad, or just something that “those darn kids” do for fun.

But “those darn kids” embrace Facebook and Twitter the way previous generations used the telephone or e-mail. They are the communications channels of choice for an entire generation. So if you are in a position of authority you’d better become familiar with how they work, since most of the workforce you will be hiring in the next few decades are living on-line.

When it comes to finding and recruiting workers, however, social media can be a two-edged sword. For those looking for young, eager talent, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media channels offer new ways to get the word out about openings. At PQNDT we are blogging, “tweeting” and using Facebook to stay in touch with job candidates.

We are also using Facebook as part of the pre-qualification process for job applicants. In years past the process of checking references was limited to calling previous employers and acquaintances. We were limited in the types of questions we could ask. And most references were cautious about providing any meaningful information that might reflect badly on a candidate.

Now we make it a point to review a candidate’s Facebook or MySpace page. The information they post can often give us a revealing insight into a candidate’s character. If we see a raft of “party” photos, it may indicate a less than dedicated approach to work. Similarly, a Google search can sometimes turn up information about a candidate that can affect a hiring decision.

That leads to a word of caution to job applicants: Be careful what you post on-line for the world to see. Information you put on your Facebook or MySpace page, blogs that you post, or tweets that you send — all are in the public domain and open to scrutiny. There have already been court cases decided in favor of employers who used information from such social media searches to disqualify a candidate.

So think twice before you post those awesome photos of you chugging directly from the keg on the beach at South Padre Island. You never know who might be watching.