Three Ways to Use Social Media for HR Needs


Like every other aspect of business communications, the new trend we see is the incredible impact social media is making on human resources outreach. There are three main thrusts to this trend (image credit: seniorserviceamerica):

1) Searching candidates history has been a controversial topic. While Google (and other search engines) can reveal a lot about a person, some cultures and conservative legal teams are rejecting this kind of intelligence as transgressing boundaries.  But around the country background checks are considered legal.

SMB Finance magazine recommends online checks as a way to avoid fraud from potential employees. In addition to formal services, employers often use Google, Facebook and other applications to determine character.  Strange college incidents, cursing, personality attacks and other negative comments can really hurt someone’s ability to successfully integrate into a culture, especially if those searches become public knowledge in a company.

2) Blogs and social networks have turned into fantastic recruiting mechanisms, demonstrating some of the exciting activities a company can offer potential candidates.  One of my local partners and friends, Brian Williams at Viget Labs, always says one of the biggest benefits of Four Labs is its ability to attract great talent. In Great Britain there’s a new site called Vlog, which allows employers to video blog their site.

LinkedIn has become its own art for both companies recruiting and job seekers alike.  LinkedIn in has great potential to be a hyper-local recruiting tool. Facebook seems to have become a millennial version of LinkedIn, a necessary place to fine entry level talent.

Another aspect of this specific trend is the use of social media by end users to find and locate new jobs. Increasingly, savvy people use social networking to get themselves in front of potential employers. 

3) At the same time, social media reputation management becomes increasingly important for companies who must be ready to deal with disgruntled and former employees that use blogs and other social media outlets to attack and criticize the company.  Consider how rapper/media mogul Jay Z’s 40/40 club in Las Vegas has garnered a bad reputation for abusing its employees. Or Shell Oil’s treatment of its North Sea workers.

It’s essential for companies to build monitoring programs so they don’t get blind sided by such events.While legal action may be the obvious recourse, blogs can be great mechanisms to counter disgruntled employees and tell your side of the story. Further, a blogger can provide a voice of reason in other blog’s comment sections, while not attacking said employee, the company’s policy and position can be equally represented.

11 Replies to “Three Ways to Use Social Media for HR Needs”

  1. Nice to have a post of mine referenced for a blog providing a voice of reason in the HR arena. Makes sense though. One of our large law firm blog clients just added an internal blog for sharing employee news and highlights. They are finding it to be a real morale builder.

    Keep up the good work Geoff.

  2. Right you are, Geoff. I think every one of our last 10 hires would tell you that our blog had some influence on either the way they first heard about Viget or their decision to pursue an opening with us (or both). It’s a great way to share not only the knowledge within an organization but the personality of a company as well.

  3. Excellent post. I really love when smart folks like you talk about the alternatives to straight marketing and pr stuff, and show the other ways the tools can be applied. It’s a great strength in your perspective, and yet another reason why you’re a mainstay read of mine.

  4. Kevin: You are too kind. Your blog is an outstanding resource, and I’m glad to source it. In addition, it only makes sense the HR would benefit from this media form… Social is about people, and so is HR.

    Brian: Thanks for your insights. I really appreciate your sharing these results.

    Anthony and Chris: Thank you!

  5. This is a great summary of the highlights and major issues in applying social media to recruiting. Ultimately, it is the way things are going – for big and small companies – but there are certain pitfalls and things to look out for that are fairly well-documented at this stage (legal issues and whatnot.) Companies need to take the plunge and get engaged. It’s not expensive, the barriers to entry are low, but the opportunities and rewards are high.

    Companies can now cultivate a great employer brand (that may even be different from their corporate brand presented to customers) and reach a targeted audience of younger applicants.

  6. HR has definitely evolved to use this type of media, at least those companies that are willing to change. Others seem to have their heads stuck in the sand and ignore the riches of using social media. Why would a company ignore this resource? I know it’s a bit difficult to change at first, but with a little training everyone could benefit.

  7. Great post. HR and nowadays HT (Human Talent) is reinventing themselves. Companies are eager to find better ways to find better people. And people find better ways to find better employers.
    Better meaning very simply speaking: “A better match”
    Adrienne Corn @AdriCorn speaks about HR and social media on the Social Media Academy tomorrow. It will be a fascinating session as she gives an outlook in what the leading companies are doing with communities around talent search, moving away from the old “screening process” and more.
    May I add a few tips:
    – Make your profile real – no stretching the truth ;-)
    – Have normal photo – that represents the real YOU
    – Get some recommendations (not only on LinkedIn)
    – Blog about your talent – don’t hide what you know
    – If you are looking for a new job, make sure the potential employer
    read your blog and comments about your skills and expertise
    – Like you connect with friends and peers in the social networks
    Connect with the team from potential employer
    – Talk about what your expertise is on other blogs and forums
    – Watch your language – The Internet keeps everything
    – Don’t think in discrimination but – the perfect match
    – You compete with 100 Million other employees
    Your advantage is the social web if you start using it
    Trust in your ability – not in a coincidence!

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