Bosses hunting your Twitter raves

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 07/04/2013

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It's not what you know, it's who you know: be it Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers.

How popular you are on these social media sites is becoming increasingly important as companies look for well-connected and influential people to bring firepower to their brands.

Digital experts say social media and recruitment now largely go hand in hand.

At the most basic level, companies check up on prospective employers to see if they make unsavoury postings online.

But firms are also using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to find new employees - both by listing opportunities and by increasing the chatter between recruiters and the people looking for jobs.

Hays Recruitment New Zealand managing director Jason Walker said the firm had formed a relationship with LinkedIn - a social network space essentially for CVs - because they realised the massive importance of social media in recruitment.

"Social media has become an essential part of any organisation's recruitment strategy," he said.

"It is easier to generate talent through social media. A lot easier than it was four or five years ago."

Walker said in a recent survey of 270 employers across New Zealand the company found that 64 per cent of employers used LinkedIn to find new employees, 50 per cent used Facebook and 10 per cent used Twitter.

Of those looking for jobs 74 per cent use LinkedIn, 24 per cent used Facebook, and 7 per cent used Twitter.

Tom Bates, the social influence director for digital strategists Contagion, said employers would look at a prospective employee's social media presence to validate what the candidate was saying about their online profile.

"If someone says that they are influential and they are not even on Twitter, or don't use social media well, then they are not being authentic or honest."

Bates said he would look to social media to back up what a potential employee told him.

"When I am recruiting . . . I look first and foremost on LinkedIn. I look at the experience people have, their connections, because it gives a really open, transparent, easy way to source relevant people.

"I also look at all their other social media identities to get more of a sense of who they are, outside of the one-hour interview I may have with them. I look at their Facebook and Twitter and potentially Instagram and beyond to make sure there is a good cultural fit."

Bates said there was a fine line for employers sussing out potential new recruits.

"There is a difference between an employer trying to access private information versus what is posted publicly. If it's public domain then it is fair; if it's not, then it's not."

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The job-finding also worked in reverse with big corporates engaging with prospective employees online first.

"It is more a way to give a bit of insight to the business and develop a bit of open dialogue. It is a passive way to engage people."

Bates said there was no longer an online and offline identity.

"Online is only going to become more prevalent - it just gives you better tools to be able to connect with the right people, the right jobs, the right information and, if you are an employer, get your company the right outcome more efficiently.

"I think what it does, rather than replace the real world, it just augments it and speeds it up. It gives you a better chance of success, rather than having to go through the same channels in a physical way."

- Sunday Star Times

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