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Prospective employers are watching you

As with all other areas of life, the increase in social media is starting to have a significant effect on recruitment.

After years of looking at social media with some suspicion, it appears that many employers are embracing social media to either publicise vacancies or identify or screen potential candidates.

Research from HR services company Penna shows that in the last two years employer sentiment has done a u-turn. In 2010, 51 per cent of employers viewed social media with suspicion. By the end of 2012, the portion of employers who remain hostile to social media had dropped to just 5 per cent, with almost half of recruiters now considering themselves as experts in the use of social media for recruitment.

This has an impact both on firms looking to recruit staff and for candidates in the job market.

The most common form of social media that recruiting firms are using are the usual suspects of twitter, facebook and LinkedIn and

The advice for employees is that creating a desultory entry on LinkedIn is no longer enough.

The number of companies which have used social media to replace their usual hiring process is still small but employers are increasingly using social media as a way of communicating directly with candidates and building a profile in the market.

It is increasingly common for employers to use social media to screen potential employees. Candidates need to be increasingly aware that unless they have their privacy setting correctly adjusted, potential employees can see a good deal of what they get up to.

Companies also need to be aware that prospective employees will also use social media to form a judgement of potential employers and many companies are starting to work on improve their own online reputations to remain or become attractive to new recruits.

However, this style of recruitment does have its drawbacks. Many employers say using social media is very effective at reaching younger candidates but as many older workers are not as active on these sites they are harder to reach.

And there are potential legal problems that arise when using social media to screen employees could potentially land employers in trouble. The employment and HR advisery service Acas says that employers could potentially face an employment tribunal for discrimination if it is found to be basing decisions not to employ someone based on a candidate’s social media profile.

Traditional forms of recruitment are not dead yet but social media is having a bigger and bigger impact on this area and companies and candidates are having to take it more seriously in order to stay competitive.

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