With the advent of social media (okay, so we’re passed the actual advent, but with the exception of the TechCrunch founder NOT reading this, we can all agree that we’re just heading into the social media scene), recruiting and HR are taking some exciting turns. It’s like an adventure that we never quite figure out, except in hindsight.
And while having an account on twitter, seesmic, friendfeed, facebook and various other social media happy sites has improved more than one recruiter’s business, the time it takes to keep up with all these networks can be . . . well, time consuming. With time at a premium and new “networks” being touted every day. . . How do you balance rubbing shoulders with keeping your nose to the grindstone?
First off, it’s currently sort of a “given” in our interest that social networking/media is always a good thing. It’s not. Finding the right network or application for you is kind of like finding that perfect pair of jeans. You have to try a lot on.
Here’s my primer on finding the right social networks for you:
1) Define your target market. Make sure that the networks you join will expose you to those people. Are you looking to connect with people in your field? Reach a specific industry? Tailor your approach to ensure that you get maximum benefit.
2) Set aside time for social media tasks. The “always on” mentality of social media can lead to an initial dip in productivity. More and more on Twitter we’re seeing people “turn it off” so they can do their..um…actual job?
3) Decide your transparency level ahead of time. There are so many applications, some used for personal, some used for professional, that it can be difficult to keep track of how much you are sharing. Now with different cross-sharing techniques, all your feeds can be aggregated into one place. Do you really want your professional contacts to see all your baby pics or what you did last Saturday night?
4) Don’t join networks that have only a few people on them. I won’t name any names (namyz, ecademy, bluechip) but when your time is limited you can’t wait for a network to become established. And truly, only a few will really stand the test of time. Some social media diehards (myself included) argue for being part of invitation only beta or alpha testings. These can often build up loyalty with the founder and make for a more targeted and beneficial networking opp.
5) Use the same pictures. I cannot remember where I read this (maybe Ryan Healy or Dan Schwabel’s blog) but relative unknowns should use the same or a similar picture for every network they belong to. This builds continuity and makes the most of networking ops across different networks. It’s also very helpful when the time comes to meet F2F with some of the contacts you’ve developed.
6) Make a list. An oldie but a goodie. Making a list for the day allows you to ensure that the “busy work” of social media doesn’t keep you from the other important aspects of your job. Crossing off candidate development, client contacts, interviewing and database updates will not only force you to focus on important tasks, it will keep extraneous “tweeting” and “posting” to a minimum.
7) Be accountable. Now that social media has taken a foothold in our industry, there is some research coming out about the ROI of blogging and social networking. Having this available to your higher-ups or to you as a reference, will allow you to compare your own analytics to what you are spending the majority of your time on.
If the numbers make sense, keep it up! You only lose if you refuse to play the game or don’t tweak your platform to make the most of the time you have.
Maren Hogan is a millennial living the dream in Omaha, Nebraska. When she’s not plotting the downfall of Gen Xer’s like me, she’s doing marketing and development for an IT recruiting and outsourcing firm called HCI. When she’s not at HCI, she’s blogging at Big O Recruiting and becoming addicted to Twitter…