You’re a cutting edge recruiter. The big 3 in social media are your best friends. You Tweet. You Facebook. You are a regular, if not religious user of LinkedIn. You know the ins and outs of finding candidates online and may have even developed a blog to back you up in your efforts to connect and communicate openings to jobseekers… and better yet, you’ve made placements. You’ve grown your networks and connected, particularly on LinkedIn with tons of candidates as well as future candidates and developed a robust network, which makes it easy for you to reach in and find 5-10 spectacular candidates whatever job you’re recruiting for.
And by now, you know how to manage your online profile and have tracked all your user names, including your real name. Bravo.
But it’s time to talk turkey. Who are you representing? Yourself? Or your company?
One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is The Lorax… and one of my favorite parts starts with the Lorax saying, “I speak for the trees.” Well, who do you speak for when you’re online? You? Or your employer?
I could write a blog post on authenticity and how that deepens your connections online, but that’s for another day. What I want you to do today is protect this tool, this presence, that you’ve developed and figure out right now at least, who you speak for. Consider this:
- If you are using any or all of the big 3 to further your recruiting and have been growing your networks I encourage you to do a few things. First of all, determine if you are speaking from your own personal identity or a corporate identity. If you are speaking truly from yourself but have given yourself the moniker “SAPKelly,” change that username. Now. Make sure your accounts are going to a private, aka non-work, email. If your entire online presence is centered around your work and there’s no personal brand conflict, leave it as is. But be ready to leave that username behind when you leave your job. And if you’ve created social media profiles incorporating the company name, and speaking for the company, you need to share all of those, the emails you registered and passwords with your employer.
- If you’re speaking from your own voice, and not from your company, you need to include a disclaimer on your profiles, essentially saying “Opinions are my own.”
- If your social media presence was non-existent when you started with your employer and you’ve since built it up, you need to have a conversation. You need to determine, if you are using any of the big 3, who “owns” that information. You may think you do. But you may have an employer that feels, because you used the big 3 on their time, that they do. Have a conversation. Outline who is entitled to what. Get it in writing.
- Be reasonable. If you need to negotiate, like offering to share your LinkedIn network contacts with your employer prior to your departure, then do so. Especially if it means you retain your username and online reputation. The reality is that anyone you pass to them they would have to contact and connect with, and that would be up to your connection to decide if they want to or not. And if you’re really irritated because your company wanted that from you? Grow your network upon your departure… using fee based offerings from TopLinked.com or just adding LION to your profile can literally double if not triple your network in a few months.
And all of these items? Well, they work as a nice checklist for employers too. If you’ve had your head in the sand and are just letting your recruiting and hr staff go rogue on social media – harness it now. Get a policy. And stick to it.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.