A recent survey by CollegeGrad.com found that 47% of college grad job seekers who use social networking sites have either already changed or plan to change the content of their pages as a result of their job search. This interesting press release from CollegeGrad.com also gives an example of an employee who was asked to change the content of her MySpace page as a condition of her continued employment. Read the release for the details.
As we suggested in a recent blog posting, social networking as a recruiting tool is in its infancy and it is truly fascinating to watch develop - both from a technology standpoint as well as cultural.
On the cultural side, I feel for the younger generation of today. I can't imagine having a journal of my college life - with pictures - available to recruiters via Google. But it is important for these young adults (and all of us for that matter) to show good judgment and think before posting. As I was once told in the early days of email, “Don't email anything you would not want shared on the front page of the New York Times.”
While it is in everyone's best interest to practice good judgment, hiring managers and senior executives (many of us age 40+) must be careful how we interpret what we learn about candidates via the Internet. We are already behaviorally inclined to want to hire people like ourselves. It's human nature. It is also human nature, when interviewing, to ask questions and look for answers that validate our reasons for wanting to hire someone when what we should be doing is finding reasons not to hire the person. So when using social networking sites to recruit, have an open mind, be objective and go slow.
Along these lines, I really enjoyed Michael Kascsak's aticle on ERE.Net last week entitled It's Their Space: How Do You Plan On Getting There. I personally do not think the older generation has to master instant messaging and blogging in order to speak to and recruit fresh college grads. I also do not think companies need to cave into "what they want" such as letting them wear flip-flops or giving them their own parking spots - if these needs do not fit into your company's culture. But I do agree with what I believe to be the underlying premise of Mr. Kascsak's article which is we need to take some time to understand the target audience (e.g., college grads) and what motivates them - if we want to succeed in recruiting and hiring them. Whether we are in marketing or recruiting, we need to adapt and change with the times. Good leaders do this intuitively. The legendary Penn State footbal coach Joe Paterno did not allow his players to have long hair and was very dictatorial in his coaching and discpline in his early years. It worked and he won national championships. Today, he let's players have long hair, tatoos, piercings and have a voice in formulating the team's strategy. And he still wins championships. He has adapted but the culture of the "company" (his team) remains the same and the types of people he recruits has not changed.
Social networking in recruiting offers promise, but while it continues to evolve, we need to continue to adapt. And regardless of how we "find" candidates, the most important job is to make sure those candidates fit with your company. This is articulated well in a recent Express Computer article from India, that quotes Gautam Sinha, CEO, TVA Infotech, “There are a few aspects which are the primary criteria for any recruiter while evaluating an individual for a job. These important traits include communication abilities, dressing sense, how one carries oneself, etiquette, manners and personal grooming. All these are collectively called the personality of an individual. So in ground reality the personality effect is the biggest criteria for selecting any individual these days.”