This is for job hunters who have a social media presence — and for job hunters who don't. • The latter group needs to start. • The former should fine-tune their online images.
According to a new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 56 percent of employers are using social networking sites to find and evaluate job candidates. And 20 percent plan to do so soon.
"Social networking websites allow an employer the opportunity to gather initial information about a job candidate before a single word has been exchanged," the report says.
SHRM, the world's largest association of hiring managers, found that 95 percent of job recruiters who use social networking sites look at LinkedIn to prospect for candidates.
Can the message be any clearer? Any job hunter, any worker who might someday consider changing jobs needs a LinkedIn profile.
Your profile should give a clear picture of your talents, your experience and your position. And it should include some recommendations from bosses, colleagues, clients and customers — the kind of references that corporate policies sometimes prohibit them from sharing.
After LinkedIn, hirers aren't as avid users of other social networks, but they do check other sites.
Among hirers who use social media, the survey found that 58 percent hunt for candidates on Facebook, 42 percent check Twitter and 23 percent look at professional association or industry-specific networking sites.
Employers like the insight they get from social media. A top benefit is that they find workers who aren't looking for a job but may be perfect fits for their needs.
Another plus for hirers is that trolling social networks is a cheap way to recruit, especially those "passive" candidates who aren't responding to job postings.
The survey said social network recruiting is most useful for midlevel management and nonmanagerial, salaried professionals.
Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star.