By Amy Littleton, Vice President, KemperLesnik
Having hired many people over the course of my career, I can honestly say that social media has become one of my primary tools for research. Looking for a PR candidate? Share that on your LinkedIn profile. Seeking a job? Find out who is hiring, and learn about your would-be employer’s staff and culture. Want to get more information about someone you’re interviewing or being interviewed by? Sleuth around online to get a real sense of competency, experience and personality.
I haven’t hired one person over the past four years whose interview process hasn’t been accompanied by an exhaustive online and social media search. One guy came to my office promoting his social media prowess, but when I searched him online he had no Twitter handle and only 70 LinkedIn contacts. Of those 70 contacts, he loosely shared two connections with me. For two people who had worked in the PR agency business in Chicago at the same time for more than 10 years, that social media showing wasn’t very reassuring. And, it was a big reason he didn’t make the final cut.
On a brighter note, I made contact through Twitter with one of our most recent hires. We were at an industry event – she from Detroit and I from Chicago – and some of the event organizers were hosting a tweet up after the day’s activities. Both of us were listening and responding to online conversations taking place during the event, and we met face to face at the tweet up. She just happened to be a complete PR rock star and interested in moving to Chicago. A few weeks later, we had her in for an interview. A month or so after that, she had a job with KemperLesnik and began singing Sweet Home Chicago.
When it comes to generally keeping tabs on jobs in social media, I have a column set up in TweetDeck titled PR job. This captures anything and everything related to jobs in PR, including Monster and other job board postings, people looking for jobs, employers looking for candidates, and more. I often peruse this column to get a read on who’s doing what, from competitive agencies to clients.
In addition, LinkedIn offers a plethora of job postings. If you’re a jobseeker, your first stop should be LinkedIn. We use the KemperLesnik LinkedIn page to post job descriptions, and, often times, people get in touch with me about our jobs through some connection we have in common. There is no better way to stand out in the mind of a would-be employer than to make a personal connection to her. Not a job guarantee, but it does guarantee that you’ll at least get a look. And, sometimes that’s all you need.
In conclusion, social media is the new – or not so new – frontier for jobs. Whether you are a hiring manager looking to vet candidates or a professional seeking a job, social media offers something we’ve never had before – access to candid information and insight. Before web 2.0, we had bios, headshots and resumes; today we have Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Flickr accounts, LinkedIn profiles and much more. Candid information has made social media the place for candidates and job seekers to get a pulse on what’s happening in the PR job world and to turn that knowledge into action and results. My two cents worth of advice? 1) Pay attention. 2) Use it.
Amy Littleton is vice president and head of the public relations division of KemperLesnik, a PR, events and sports marketing agency based in Chicago. She is also current president of PRSA Chicago. Amy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.twitter.com/amylitt or http://www.linkedin.com/in/amylitt.