By Margaret Hansen, JobsInMS.com
Can spending some of your time on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - otherwise known as "The Big 3" - improve your recruiting stats? Possibly. After all, those who frequent them are potential employees and that group is swelling at a staggering pace. Here's a quick rundown.
1. Tweet, at Least a Little
Twitter is an unusual company. Originally set up as a microblog to let others know in 140 characters or less (about a sentence) what you're doing now, Twitter has exploded recently among businesses looking to market their companies. Twitter updates are kept on the user's profile page and distributed to friends via text messages, instant messaging, RSS feeds, and other means.
Is Twitter a successful company? It's not making a profit, but it is making a splash. Twitterers are addicted, plugged in and they could be Twittering about your company.
So, how could Twitter help you with recruiting? Think of it as a party that never stops. You probably wouldn't want to spend all of your time at the party, but a pop-in to say "hello" now and then wouldn't hurt your reputation and could help it.
Two ways to do this: enhance your employment brand by posting your logo and bits of information about your company, and, while you're there, "catch" conversations that you could influence positively. Try doing a Search on Twitter for your industry and your company.
Share a resume tip or the best way to apply for a job at your company. Respond to someone seeking a job that you offer. Do you see any negative experiences that involve your company? It's time to intervene and set the record straight.
Even if you don't want to be that connected, you would be amiss to ignore Twitter. In March of 2009, Twitter's growth rate reached 1,384% (February 2008 to February 2009) with no sign of slowing down. If you decide to use it, get familiar with Twitter lingo, such as @replies and follow.
2. Linking Up
With 39 million members in more than 200 countries and 170 industries, LinkedIn has become the professional online network of choice. Free to join, LinkedIn provides an easy and quick way to find employed passive candidates or those niche employees with highly specialized skills. If and when they become unemployed, they update their account and all of their connections instantly know about it.
LinkedIn began in 2003 and now adds one new member every second.
It provides a free online space for a job candidate, detailing their status, past and present jobs, employers, skills, endorsements, websites, and blogs, among other things. You can access this information through your connections or your connections' connections linking your way to potential employees.
The other side of LinkedIn is the Group function. Using groups, you can appeal to a broad number of people with common interests, such as Accounting, HR, marketing, or a college alma mater, to name a few. Once accepted, you can post job openings to the group and respond to posts from job seekers looking for work. You can also send people to your online jobs and company profile, marketing your jobs even further. Although far from efficient, LinkedIn offers a nice way to gain passive and high-level candidates for those hard-to-fill positions that you may not want to advertise. Get immediate feedback and network those jobs with LinkedIn.
Something to consider: "People with more than 20 LinkedIn connections are 34 times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five."��- Guy Kawasaki, a high-tech venture capitalist, blogger, author and speaker.
3. Facing the Facts
What began in September 2006, Facebook is now the second most trafficked PHP site in the world, running thousands of databases.
Like its other big counterparts, it's a distraction, a connection and a phenomenon. Unlike the other two, it attracts a more casual user who communicates with his or her friends and family on a regular basis sharing photos, favorites, ideas and plans.
Many recruiters - including the CIA - have used Facebook successfully to recruit the college-aged crowd. But the economy is changing everything. Jobs are becoming a more casual conversation topic among experienced workers who are finding themselves - or someone they know - jobless. Check out some facts from Facebook:
- 200 million active users - 100 million access the site every day
- Two-thirds of its users are outside of college
- Fastest growing demographic: the 35 and older crowd
As the world becomes more comfortable with social media, the argument to use it to your advantage strengthens. Even if it's not the most efficient way to fill a job, spending a little bit of your time with free social media could enhance your recruiting.