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Social Media: What Employers Think

Woman using a computer
Woman using a computer

In one of my recent CNBC columnsI advised jobseekers about managing social networking overwhelm.

Recently, I spoke with several employers representing a range of different companies about how they use social media in their recruiting:

Use of social media is a signal of quality. Yianni Garcia, Marketing Specialist for GradeGuru.com, part of McGraw Hill Education, looks at LinkedIn, Indeed, Facebook, and Twitter, when he recruits for his open positions. While he also utilizes traditional, offline sources, his work in the interactive space means that he wants to find people already conversant in the space.

For Garcia (and other employers I spoke to), finding people on social media is not just a recruiting tool but a way to screen for skills. PS. Garcia also notes that since he has optimized his own LinkedIn profile, he has gotten a lot more networking and speaking invitations, so he has seen the benefit of social media on both sides.

Social media gives proactive jobseekers an edge.

Chris Fiorillo, VP of Web and Internet Strategy for Adecco Group North America, estimates that more than half of Adecco applicants find them via social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Building an online community is a priority for Adecco Group, and even the CEO tweets several times per day. (Jobseekers, if you can get into your target employer’s conversation, you can separate yourself as an applicant!)

But social media does not replace offline tactics. Most everyone I spoke to acknowledged that social media was just one part of their recruiting strategy. Matt Smith, Student and Business Finder of Responsible Outgoing College Students (a.k.a. ROCS) goes as far as saying that nothing beats old-fashioned, live communication (and he’s a Generation Y!). Smith acknowledges that blogs, websites, and online networks help jobseekers distinguish themselves, but he estimates that the vast majority of their hires come from traditional networking.

In Jobvite’s recent Social Recruitment Survey, results showed that nearly half (43%) of jobs are not listed on job boards and that a high majority of companies (72%) indicated they were increasing investment in recruiting via social networks. Jobseekers need to embrace this new reality. Use social media to differentiate yourself and send your signal of quality. Be proactive, and use social media to identify more job opportunities and expand your networking contacts.

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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart a career coaching firm for Gen Y professionals. Formerly in corporate recruiting and retained search, Caroline has recruited for Accenture, Booz Allen, Citibank, Disney ABC, Oliver Wyman, Pfizer, and Time Inc. She currently writes career columns for Portfolio.com and Vault.com and teaches Professional Development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Comments? Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com