When you’re searching for a job, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. In the flurry of jobseekers’ Twitter accounts, RSS feeds, and email alerts, it can be useful to take a step back and remember that on the other side of all your efforts are people puzzling over how to reach the best possible recruits. Sometimes, their recruitment strategies aren’t so different from the ones you’re using to find a great position.
Looking at the search from the other side of the desk (or the screen) may help you get a better feel for the companies you’re hoping to join—including their strengths, cultures, and challenges. And understanding the mindset of employers can help you communicate your value as a potential employee and problem-solver.
Social Media Recruiting: Brave New World
In a recent study we conducted of 500 professional service firms, we found that 55% of companies use the Internet to recruit new employees.
Social media recruiting is an easy, inexpensive, and increasingly common way for companies and job seekers to connect—and it’s becoming more and more effective. In fact, according to a Jobvite 2012 survey, 1 in 6 job seekers say they found their current job through social media. Maintaining a professional social media presence shows employers that you understand contemporary communication channels, and puts you in a space where more and more companies are turning for recruits.
But what about those companies that don’t use the Internet to recruit—or at least not yet? Well, our study found that 66% of firms plan to increase their online marketing budgets this year. Those budgets include recruitment; companies recognize that the future is online, and they’re moving toward it. Job seekers do well to stay ahead of the curve.
And here’s the beauty of professional networking with social media: these days, you can send a signal that reaches beyond the digital domain. By using platforms like LinkedIn to extend your professional network, you can communicate your expertise (and availability) to a wide range of professional contacts. Even if a contact’s company isn’t hiring, they may know someone – a former colleague, say – who is. That contact of a contact might not have been actively recruiting online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach them with online tools.
Company Content: A Glimpse Inside
These days, many savvy companies regularly produce content that educates their audience and helps both buyers and potential recruits understand the company—who they are, what they know, and what they do. Think company blogs, videos, and ebooks —often filled with valuable industry-related educational content. This is called “content marketing,” and companies’ social media recruiting frequently coincide with their content marketing efforts.
As a jobseeker, you want to understand potential employers as well as you can. So make use of their content. What exactly does Company A do? What sort of clients do they serve? Firms’ websites and social media feeds may provide valuable insight. Social media can offer subtle glimpses into the working culture of a firm. If you see occasional photos from corporate events and parties, these might tell you something about day to day life at the company. News bulletins—awards won by the company, major contracts landed, the development of an exciting new product—may help you understand the company’s focus and direction.
Thinking Like a Marketer
Companies are using content marketing to communicate a lot of things, including their unique identity and their place in their particular industry. But one of the most important things they’re trying to do is demonstrate their expertise. Keep these goals in mind as you’re marketing yourself. How can you demonstrate your unique expertise and show how it aligns with a company’s needs?
Social media is a fantastic opportunity to engage in industry conversations. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn Groups give you the opportunity to communicate directly with professionals in your field. If you take the time to ask thoughtful questions and offer informed opinions to your social media channels on a regular basis, you will start to appear on the radar for your industry. Then, when you do post a job advertisement, you will already have made a professional connection—and this could be the basis for an ongoing relationship.
Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., is Managing Partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge is a leader in rebranding firms to help them grow faster and maximize value. Lee can be reached at LFrederiksen@hingemarketing.com or 703-391-8870.
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