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Social Media Recruiting: The Boundaries Problem and How to Solve It

Oct 07 , 2015

Social media recruiting relies on building relationships and contacts with job prospects through social media.

Social media has forever changed the way most recruiting is done, but its openness also poses problems for recruiters as the boundaries between work and personal can easily begin to blur. Since social media offers great opportunities to build your talent pipeline so that you can quickly fill positions when they become available, it is a valuable resource if it is used correctly.

The Problem of Boundaries in Social Media

There are two main problems for recruiters that use social media for recruiting. First, social media is available 24/7, which makes it all too easy to check in and post outside office hours. Second, social media recruiting revolves around developing relationships, which can quickly blur between the personal and professional.

It is difficult for many people whose jobs involve social media to set effective boundaries, but it is equally necessary for these boundaries to be set to prevent possible problems like burnout and inappropriate contact that could lead to undue influence. Here are some guidelines for setting boundaries for social media recruiting:

--Separate your personal Facebook page from your recruiting one (for hiring managers, you can use the company page for recruiting efforts). Accepting recruiting prospects as friends on your personal Facebook page is not a wise idea. Facebook friends can become very friendly sometimes, and then it becomes more of a temptation to give special treatment or favors that could become problematic.

Keeping your personal and recruiting activities separate is the best plan.

--Keep up your LinkedIn page. This is a more professional-oriented site and more appropriate for recruiting. LinkedIn allows you to quickly evaluate candidates' skill levels and experience when trying to fill a job opening, but it can be less effective for evaluating cultural fit of candidates (a task Facebook may be better suited to).

--Make a schedule for checking in and posting on social media. If you don't keep to a schedule it will take up way too much of your time. Deciding ahead of time when you will not engage in social media recruiting will help keep your professional and personal lives separate. Some suggestions: during dates and when your significant other says "Can we talk?" are probably good times to put down the phone or computer.

--Have a purpose for all your professional social media activities. It's professional to have a plan and to work your plan. Save your recreational surfing for your personal profiles. Keeping to your plan will prevent overload and burnout from not knowing when enough surfing and posting is enough.

--Remember that social media is social. Be friendly and courteous. Show interest in your contacts' lives. Networking works best when it comes from genuine interest, but also remember that these are professional colleagues, not just social friends.

The Number One Rule

There's one basic overriding principle you can follow when it comes to social media recruiting: better to be safe than sorry. If something feels at all inappropriate or unprofessional, it probably is. Avoiding these behaviors will help you maintain a good reputation and avoid possible problems.

GDH Consulting provides IT Recruiting services to match skilled workers with companies that need them.