How to land a job using Facebook

How to land a job using Facebook
By admin

Imagine you're in the middle of a job interview and your prospective employer asks for your Facebook details. 

If you grant them access you're essentially letting a stranger look through your personal correspondence, and what they find while snooping might undermine your chances of landing the job. If you refuse, you look like you're recalcitrant or hiding something, which might also work against you.

Civil libertarian groups claim an increasing number of job seekers in the US and Europe are facing exactly that dilemma as employers overstep the mark and attempt to invade peoples' privacy.

So far in Australia it seems few companies are so blunt as to demand access to someone's Facebook page. But even if your Facebook postings are restricted, Marlene Lane, marketing manager at InPlace Recruitment, said there are plenty of other ways employers can use social media to research job applicants before they commit to bringing someone onto their team. 

"If you are active on Twitter, for instance, they can search for your posts and if you've tweeted from Facebook they may be able to access links to images," Lane said. "They can also build up a profile of you based on the people you follow on Twitter, and the people who follow you."

InPlace Recruitment director Sandra Chiles said employers are also using professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to view job candidates' resumés and check that the information they provide is accurate.

"In 10 years time I think references will no longer be common practice in Australia," said Chiles. "Some companies already refuse to provide them because they fear that if they make a comment about someone they could end up getting sued. That means employers have no choice but to find out about applicants using social media."

That makes it vital for current and future job candidates to never forget one simple maxim: nothing is truly private anymore.

"If you declare publicly that last night you wiped yourself out and ended up in the gutter then that will quickly spread. And if people see those kinds of activities they may feel you are not suitable for the job," warned Chiles.

"Your personal and professional reputation is sacrosanct. If you do anything to harm that reputation it's very hard to change it."

She added that comments don't need to be salacious to raise eyebrows. 

"People need to be equally careful about what they say in social media about their past and current employers and colleagues."

She claimed more companies are now including guidelines on responsible social media behaviour in their employment contracts, with employees likely to lose their jobs if they make inappropriate comments about their company or boss.

TMS Asia Pacific chief executive Andrew Chan said he's already seen a number of people terminated because of careless Facebook comments about their organisation. 

"Often these aren't public statements," he said. "They've just forgotten that their boss is a Facebook friend or one of their friends knows their boss." 

On the flip side, social media provides job applicants with new ways to identify job opportunities and to showcase their skills, passion and personality to potential employers.

Companies and recruitment firms now regularly promote selected job vacancies through social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. By taking part in forums based around professional interests it is also possible to hear about opportunities before they are advertised publicly.

Recruitment experts recommend establishing links to companies you might aspire to work for. This could mean following them on Twitter and Facebook or by joining a company's LinkedIn group. 

"Companies such as Starwood and InterContinental Hotel Group have great Facebook career pages," said Chan. "A lot of employers are now conscious of their brand, not just on the consumer front but from the employer standpoint. The reason is that Gen Y are fussy about who they work for and companies like to demonstrate their values through social media."

He also suggested following blogs associated with companies of interest.

"Every organisation has its own personalities and characteristics and blogs and forums are a useful way to get a better understanding of that culture. You can compare your views versus their views." 

Another option is to start your own LinkedIn group or use your own blog, Facebook page or tweets to demonstrate your talents and your understanding and interest in relevant industry issues. 

Chan said it's important to remember, however, that your social media activities do not have to be work-related in order to impress or be useful to would-be employers. Instead your profile should present someone who is well rounded and engaged in a wide variety of pursuits, including sports, music, culture and even charities.

"If you are going to write a blog, for instance, do it about something you're passionate about," he said. "It doesn't need to be about work, it could be about pot plants or flowers."

Remember, employers aren't necessarily looking for workaholics; they're looking for a candidate who will fit into their company's culture.

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