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Using social media in recruiting, hiring

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In an age of rapid technological advances, it’s no surprise that the business world is changing, too.

The world we live in has become one of lightning-fast communication and near universal access to pretty much anything you could want to know. For businesses, this means adapting to the new environment.

More employers are turning to social media as a source for recruiting and hiring. Human resource professionals and business managers use LinkedIn and other social media to attract and investigate potential employees. And they are valuable in maintaining a pipeline of qualified candidates for your business or company.

“[Social media] is changing the world, changing the way people find each other,” said Ira S. Wolfe, president of Lehigh Valley based Success Performance Solutions. Wolfe, who has written extensively on the practice of using social media in business, said the future of recruitment processes is through social media sites, in particular LinkedIn.

Wolfe said that, like much else in our lives, the recruiting process one day will be done nearly entirely online.

As more businesses use digital techniques, it’s more important than ever for job seekers to be conscious of their social media persona.

Many times, employers have discovered highly qualified candidates while other times they have rejected potential candidates – all or in part because of what they discovered in the digital world.

With more than 300 million members worldwide, including 100 million in the U.S., LinkedIn is one of the leading social media sites for business. The site allows members to upload their resume, portfolio and other important information, while connecting with other professionals in the field.

According to myHR Partner Tina Hamilton, LinkedIn is a valuable source for employers because it allows people to make connections even when not actively job-seeking or hiring.

“When you get to passive candidates, that’s the best,” said Hamilton, who works in human resources outsourcing. “People that are not necessarily looking but may be highly qualified. [LinkedIn] gives more of an opportunity than sites that only have active people who are looking.”

Because of LinkedIn’s networking capability, employers can spread the word about job openings. Hamilton, who is based in Allentown, advises employers to always look at a person’s network and friends and to join any group that may be specific to their industry or area.

“If I’m contacting somebody, I might say to them, ‘If you or anyone you know might be interested, please feel free to share this,’ ” she said.

With LinkedIn having launched a mobile app, it’s more convenient than ever for employers to make connections.

This ease of access, according to Wolfe, can mean the difference between attracting a qualified employee and turning them off from your job posting.

“If [companies] find an individual through LinkedIn, and [the candidate] wants to find out about the company before they start applying, they go to [the company’s] website,” Wolfe said. “If it’s not mobile ready, you’ve lost them.”

An easy-to-use, attractive company website is crucial for attracting an ideal worker, he said.

While sites such as Facebook and Twitter have proven to be an important tool in connecting businesses with clients, its function as a hiring tool has yet to be seen.

LinkedIn gives the user the ability to find jobs and candidates through searching job titles and zip code. According to Hamilton, Facebook and Twitter are less targeted.

“You can’t really zero in like you do on LinkedIn,” Hamilton said.

That being said, Hamilton noted the value of posting job advertisements on Facebook and Twitter alongside LinkedIn.

“Friends can share, people will share for you; then their network is seeing it,” she said.

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