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Want to Hire? Social Media Is Key

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter play important role in helping companies attract employees, say experts

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Nearly half of job seekers used social media to help them find employment, according to Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation study. That’s significant if you have roles to fill within your organization.

“In today’s marketplace, if you’re not active on numerous types of platforms, you’re absolutely limiting yourself,” said Mike Carr, president of Carr Recruiting Solutions with New York branches in Syracuse and Rochester. “What was borderline non-existent 10 years ago is the most important way to find people.”

While he acknowledges that job boards like Monster and Indeed can help attract applicants, social media sites like LinkedIn should be an important part of any company’s outreach to candidates.

Carr said that consistent methodology and effort should go into using social media to maintain a company’s online presence and that every candidate should receive a response unless it’s obviously not someone serious about the position.

“We have to be respectful of folks but also respectful of our time,” Carr said. “Some apply frequently or just interact on a volume that’s not sustainable for any employer, not just us.”

He said that employers should not do bait-and-switch posts, where they post jobs that aren’t real, just to fill up a roster of potential candidates for some other — usually a lesser — position.

It’s unlikely that candidates will fall in love with your company and feel so smitten that they’re willing to work well below the salary they need.

Sometimes a company may receive negative comments after posting about a job opening or on employer review sites like Glass Door, such as “Worked there — worst job I ever had” or the like. Carr doesn’t post the name of the clients for whom he’s trying to find candidates so that doesn’t come up for him; however, he advised avoiding a tit-for-tat online war with those kinds of posters.

If someone expresses a specific and legitimate concern, respond, take it offline and address it.

“With negative reviews, respond to them,” said Todd Consilio, vice president of Business Operations for nine branches of Staffwork, including Syracuse. “Say what you’ve done to address the issues. That negative review will tend to stay there. Generally, posts with foul language, personal attack or a claim that can’t be substantiated might be taken down. If it’s true, it likely won’t come down but you can respond to it. In many cases, they will take it down if there’s a valid reason to do so.”

What type of social media you use can make a difference. They may attract different types of candidates or be used for different types of positions.

Consilio said that the company uses Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, but in different ways.

LinkedIn is the social media platform of many types of business professionals, owners and consultants.

“On LinkedIn, we home in on the kinds of candidates we’re really looking for as people have a resume posted as their profile,” Consilio said. “We can see if they’re a potential fit for the job we want to fill.”

Facebook is more widely used as a social media platform. Facebook and Instagram may be more accessible for promoting positions of all skill and experience levels. These may also be used to cross-reference candidates while screening them.

“We have to keep in mind that people aren’t always honest on social media,” Consilio said. “You’ll find people claiming the education or job title they haven’t really had. You have to be careful of that.”

Calling for names and dates of employment or confirming the education can help employers know if they’re getting the real deal. Consilio said that many people play it straight and narrow on LinkedIn, but let their true colors show on other platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to looking for job seekers, Consilio said that Staffworks also posts employment ads on social media.

He said that when posting ads, it’s important to let potential candidates know about the working environment, benefits and how up-to-date the equipment is.

“People will go to the one whose posting is most inviting, who shows how this will help their career,” Consilio said. “Applicants want to know what’s in it for them.”