Corporate Eye

A Cautionary Note


While doing research for the series on social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), I came across this must-read article by attorney Lester Rosen, president of Employment Screening Resources.  The title alone makes it worth a stop:  The Rush to Source Candidates from Internet and Social Networking Sites – Let’s Slow Down and Think About This for a Minute. Rosen writes about some potential legal issues that may be associated with social media recruiting–and though there’s not a lot of detail, he points out some topics worth considering.

Beyond the legalities, however, there are several practical aspects of social media recruiting that may deserve more time for thought.

  • First . . . a social media strategy only communicates and amplifies what you have to offer. If the corporate site is lame, luring people there will not net positive results. If job descriptions are uninformative and application processes are overcomplicated, promoting jobs and attracting applicants will not pay off (or at least not well enough). So if social media is not part of a comprehensive strategy, it probably won’t be worth its investment.
  • Second, if a broad-spectrum approach to social media recruiting doesn’t fit your company’s needs, there’s no reason to pursue it. Looking mainly for highly experienced specialists? Forget about Facebook. Seeking highly creative, innovative personnel? They’ve moved on to more exotic arenas (boutique boards, niche sites, affinity groups, etc.) Most companies have a mix of needs, but the key consideration here is to identify targets and objectives before jumping into an aggressive social media strategy.
  • Third–it’s been said often, and by experts, that social media presence is more than just putting Follow Me and Find Us badges on the website. It doesn’t work without a well-tuned approach and knowledgeable management. And it doesn’t work fast! So a half-hearted effort will likely cost money without producing results.
  • A fourth thing to consider: Executive branding expert Meg Guiseppi says baby boomer executives are afraid of LinkedIn and social media. If one of those scaredy-cats is just the man or woman your company needs, they may not be visible online at LinkedIn or anywhere else. Takeaway?  It will take old-fashioned, offline fundamentals to track them down.

And finally–just in time for this post–Recruiting Trends is offering a free webcast titled Sourcing Backlash: Integrating Traditional Approaches with Leading Edge Technologies.  The agenda includes pros and cons of emerging technologies; phone techniques that complement social media; low-tech/low-cost tactics for increasing passive candidate flow; and much more!

(Thanks to hansol for sharing the original “Whoa” sign.)

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.

Thanks very much, Cynthia, for referencing and linking to my blog post.

I’m so glad you mentioned the need for informative job descriptions. On the candidates’ side, when I collaborate with my executive clients to create their resumes and other career marketing communications, we often rely on job descriptions to help us focus and target.

Everyone loses if job descriptions are vague and spare.

If my clients and I don’t know what the companies that she/he is deeply interested in want, how can we align my clients’ expertise and competencies to show what a good fit they’ll be for the company? We strive to make it as easy as possible for hiring decision makers to see the promise of value my clients offer and to differentiate their unique value proposition from their peers.

As far as getting candidates up to snuff with LinkedIn and other social networking sites, I’m doing my best to get my clients to move from being invisible to companies, to having a strong online footprint so that accurate, on-brand information about them is easily accessible to anyone vetting them.

Hopefully, sometime soon, and with education and perseverance, our efforts will converge and make the whole process easier for everyone involved.

Meg Guiseppi
C-level / Senior-level Executive Branding & Job Search Strategist

Thanks so much for the interesting follow-up, Meg. Improving job descriptions is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the hiring process–but a lot of companies seem to overlook this low-hanging fruit! I’ve been doing some research on new approaches (such as interactive descriptions) and plan a post on the topic soon. Also, you raise a very good point about “vetting.” I think we tend to consider web presence mainly as a selling opportunity, and forget that it’s also a way to ensure the availability of accurate information.

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