Gigonomics: Employer Broadcasts Want You

Published: Apr 14, 2009

Sometimes job searching feels like an anxiety-filled creep down an unfamiliar dark alley, but it’s important to remember that it’s a two-way street. Yes, unemployment is on the rise and competition for existing openings is keen, but there are many companies that are actively hiring, even vying with each other in an effort to attract the top talent in the marketplace. You can use this competition to your advantage.<p>“In some ways, the job search market is better than ever,” says Chris Russell, president and founder of in the Northeast and author of the book, Ultimate Job Hunting Secrets. “That’s because there are so many tools for job searching, and a vast amount of information is available. Many companies are organizing recruiting efforts around social media, using Facebook and YouTube and engaging candidates in conversation. As a result, there’s a lot of transparency about companies, what they do and what kind of people work there.”<p>He should know. A ten-year veteran of online job search recruiting and marketing, Russell has architected ways for social media to serve at the confluence between job openings and job search. It’s Job Search 2.0.<p>Russell’s latest endeavor,, features company marketers, HR execs and other professionals touting their company’s strengths and perks via downloadable podcasts. More than 100 clients have signed on to use the service, including Intel China, AT&T and McGraw-Hill. You can hear Marcia Wolff, recruitment manager for McDonald’s, discuss the benefits of ground-up employment at the world’s largest food chain (“McDonald’s work experience teaches skills and values that last a lifetime…including teamwork, customer service and leadership…”), or listen to Boston Financial executive Kerry Winsor talk about what a Retirement Plan candidate needs to bring to an interview (“…full knowledge around 401K planning and IRS regulatory issues…”). Podcast in hand, these companies spread their good words through YouTube, LinkedIn or on their corporate websites, building traffic and interest for their recruiting efforts.<p>The value for an individual candidate is significant. By tuning in to a spiel directly from a real person at the company, job seekers can pick up clues as to the work ethic, focus, corporate zeitgeist and esprit de corps—knowledge that is especially useful in preparing for a job interview.<p>Social media also can be used to promote the individual job hunter, but caution is warranted. Free-spirited Facebook chatter and those really funny beer pong pics aren’t necessarily the side you want to present to a corporate HR officer or recruitment firm. According to Shally Steckerl, chief talent acquisitions strategist at JobMachine, Inc., job seekers who use social media as a self-promotional tool should carefully construct their online persona. That’s because recruiters and HR professionals sift through online data and profiles to build more complete pictures of potential candidates. Speaking in an interview with Total Picture Radio at the 2009 ERE (Electronic Recruiting Exchange) Media Expo, Steckerl stressed the importance of using social media to your advantage by creating posts and profiles that reflect your professional side.<p>“People need to put what they do on their profiles,” said Streckerl. “Twitter asks a very simple question—What are you doing? Part of what you’re doing is, ‘I’m working.’ Make it clear what it is that you do. Talk about your job—’I’m at a conference, I’m at the so-and-so booth because I’m interested in such-and-such technology because that’s what I do for a living.’” Other effective posts may include that you’re attending a webinar, or teaching a class. Anything that emphasizes your professionalism.<p>Of course, privacy switches on social media sites make it relatively simple to shield data that you don’t want seen by those outside your chosen groups. Nevertheless, social media is a powerful component of the modern job search, and professional recruiters increasingly are making it integral to the process. Use it to your advantage and you’ll have a powerful ally in turning any dark alleys into well-lighted, multi-lane expressways.<p><b><em>--Posted by John Riha,</em></b><p><em>John Riha spent more than 20 years in magazine publishing including stints as managing editor of Traditional Home and executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens before being laid off in January. He now produces multi-media content, video, and, yup, is thinking about cranking out that novel. You know the one.</em><p>Recession Briefing: 4.14<br>CEO's--They're Just Like Us!<br>Recession Lexicon: Slayoff