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Why recruiters should care about job seekers' social media experience

This week, one of my colleagues forwarded me two posts on how a social media presence can be a negative in the recruiting process. In "Is Personal Social Media Experience a Negative For Job Seekers?" job seeker and post author Beth Harte shares the following advice she received from a recruiter.

"Remove all of your personal speaking, writing, blogging and social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare links, etc.) items from your resume. Companies don't give a crap about that, they only care what you will do for them. Those items are red flags letting them know that you'll request to be out of the office speaking or on Twitter all day and that you will not be helping to solve their day-to-day problems (i.e. tactical work)."

I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the recruiter that would dole out this kind of advice, sitting in front of his paper stack of yellow pages and Apple 1 computer, tied down to his land line, destroying small forests with his collection of paper resumes sent by fax, per his request. Sadly, in reality, his philosophy represents many companies and hiring teams that haven't caught up with the 21st century and still think the Internet is only for e-mail and pornography.

It comes down to this. For companies to succeed, they need to innovate. In order to innovate, they need to accept the change that new technology brings, and this includes social media. Social media is not a fad, but it's a new way we brand ourselves and our company.

The first thing I do when working with a new candidate is research their digital footprint. The results I find determine their level of involvement and engagement in their line of work and help me understand their motivation and character a bit better. Ignoring this digital road map of a person's history and achievements is ignorant and prehistoric.

Recruiters need to educate hiring teams and companies on the importance of seeing prospective employees as a more than just transactional help solving "day-to-day problems." Having (and sharing) a strong social media presence shows more than just your personal opinions. It shows what kind of value you can bring to a company.

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