Tips for Connecting with Recruiters on Social Media

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Are you prepared to use social media to communicate with recruiters? According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 84 percent of organizations are currently recruiting on social media – and 9 percent plan to start sometime in the near future.  

Increasingly, employers are tapping social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to connect with prospective candidates to explore their interest in job openings with their firm.

Whether you are communicating with a recruiter via email, text, social media, instant message or any other way, it's important to keep it professional. That’s harder than it might sound: for candidates who are used to communicating with friends and peers on social media, keeping the immediacy of the medium while shedding the casual attitude that goes with it can be quite a challenge.

It’s important to remember that no matter how you’re talking to a recruiter, you’re having a professional conversation. The interaction might feel informal, but don’t fall into the trap of treating it that way.

What you say and how you say it reflects on you as a potential employee, as well as a job applicant, and provides an opportunity to show off soft skills like attitude, communication skills, and emotional intelligence.

Beyond that, your communication with the recruiter shows whether or not you know how to behave in a modern work environment, i.e., one that’s not restricted to a physical office building. A casual tweet or a sloppy Facebook or LinkedIn message may lead them to believe that you can’t be trusted to communicate with coworkers and clients in a professional manner when you’re online – which is where much of today’s “office work” takes place.

Here are some tips for getting connected and keeping it professional when you're communicating with a recruiter via informal channels.

Tips for Connecting with Recruiters on Social Media

Keep LinkedIn Up-to-Date. Make sure that your LinkedIn Profile is updated, complete, and built to impress employers. This means incorporating recommendations from supervisors, colleagues, clients, vendors, etc. The position descriptions in your profile should emphasize accomplishments and value added, rather than just listing what you did. Be sure that you use your personal email address (you can select it as primary) when talking to anyone from another company about jobs.

Watch Your Facebook Page. Be careful about the image you present on your Facebook page and make sure that you have set privacy parameters to protect any content that you wouldn't want employers to see. Recognize that some recruiters may use less than ethical means to view even seemingly protected parts of your Facebook page.

Manage Your Tweets. In addition to being careful how you phrase Direct Messages when you're talking to a recruiter, be careful what you tweet and retweet. Your retweets will show up on your Twitter page and if an employer is checking it out, you will want them to see workplace-appropriate content.

Keep It Formal. Employers often provide employee referral bonuses for their employees to source candidates for hard-to-fill positions like IT. Facebook friends might reach out to you to assess your interest in working for their firm. Resist the temptation to be too informal with your friends and carefully construct your responses to messages because they might be forwarded verbatim to recruiters.

Check Privacy Policies. Investigate the privacy policies of recruitment firms prior to responding to any inquiries if you are concerned that your current employer would react negatively if they became aware that you are in job search mode. Sometimes you are better off phoning a recruiter to explore this issue before you formalize any interest in writing.

Keep It Professional. Even though social media communications are often informal, be sure to maintain a professional tone when conducting exchanges with recruiters.

Avoid using abbreviations, acronyms and truncated instant-message language.

Keep It Short. LinkedIn messages can be brief since your Profile provides a more complete picture of your background. If an employer has shared a specific vacancy that appeals to you, focus on why it would be of interest and briefly summarize how you might add value. Most recruiters on LinkedIn will give you an email address or a link to their applicant tracking system so you can forward or upload a resume and letter if you decide to formally apply for a job.

Proof Your Messages. Carefully review any social media communications for spelling and grammar errors before you send, post or tweet.