Not Every Social Network is Created Equal

A couple days ago, I received an application via Linkedin for a recruiting position we have available at our firm. The email began like most do: “I’m interested because…My resume is attached….Let me know when you’re free…” Pretty boilerplate-type stuff. I put the candidate’s information into a folder of people I’d be reaching out to later that day.  

Ten minutes later my phone had a notification. It was from the almighty Facebook--the king of social media. As I opened the message, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The same candidate who had just applied on Linkedin had also requested to be my “friend” on Facebook.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Why would the candidate be so bold? I thought to myself, “This is something that everyone knows not to do. Right?”


After talking to some of our internal employees about what had just happened, I received a mixed reaction. Some laughed as I had done, others stared blankly at me and asked, “Is that not something you should do? I don’t know the rules for things like that.” That’s when it occurred to me: There are no rules in social media and job hunting, we’re simply making this up as we go.

Sure, we’ve learned along the way that you shouldn’t Tweet negative things about your current employer or post a status update that contains sensitive proprietary information. Going even further, companies are starting to pop up that specialize in combing through a potential candidate’s social networking presence and calling it a “social network background check.”  But how you use your social networks to connect during your job search is something that is still somewhat of a grey area.

Not every social network is created equal and you should treat them accordingly. This is indeed not a universal truth. It is instead an unwritten rule--a rule that Facebook, Twitter, and Google would cringe to hear. They would like you to use their platform as your “one stop shop” for everything social media related. The fact is, that’s not how things work.

Candidates need to be smart about how they search and connect with people who are in charge of the internal recruiting processes at organizations. I’ve created a list for what I’ve dubbed the Big 4. This is what I believe to be the current protocol for connecting in a professional environment:

  • Facebook: Never connect with a hiring manager/recruiter’s personal page unless you know them personally outside of work. You can, however, connect with their business page if they have one.
  • Google+: Never connect with a hiring manager/recruiter’s personal page unless you know them personally outside of work. You can, however, connect with their business page if they have one.
  • Twitter: Never “follow” a hiring manager/recruiters personal Twitter account.  However, most will have a business account that you should be encouraged to find.
  • LinkedIn: The preferred venue of communication for professionals on social media. But again, the idea on Linkedin is to build a network of people you know or have been introduced to from another party.

Again, there is no absolute and this will no doubt continue to evolve. But just as wearing sweatpants to an interview can ruin your chances, so can a misstep on social media.


Views: 468

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 13, 2014 at 2:18pm

Thanks, Nick.

"Indications are SN is here to stay and will transition accordingly (its use as a recruiting tool will proportionally change over time as results prove or disprove themselves under varying conditions and circumstances). "

Indeed. Since customers are willing to invest time, money and other resources in something which DOES NOT WORK FOR FILLING IMMEDIATE JOBS,, does it mean we should go over to the "Dark Side of the Force" and join slick hucksters with high-level connections ready to sell the latest recruiting snake oil or “magic bullet” to desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors who fail to recognize that in most cases they are futilely “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” of their companies’ ill-conceived, over-blown, grossly-dysfunctional hiring practices.

"Strategy"? I thought "strategy" was:

1) Move along in a hiring daze.

2) Get a big order for something.

3) Panic.

4) Hire a bunch of contract recruiters to work 60+ hrs/week drinking from a firehose of reqs

5) Wait 'til things slow down ever so slightly.

6) Get rid of (almost) everybody, losing knowledge transfer, experience,  group cohesion, internally-developed best practices, etc.

7) Rinse and repeat. 

Most companies barely know what they're doing NOW as far as recruiting, let alone what they WILL do.

Besides, who's around long enough to see a plan through? We live increasingly in an:

"I'll be gone, you'll be gone, so let's do the deal!" World.

No Cheers,


Comment by Nick Lagos on February 15, 2014 at 12:47am

lol...  guess I stand corrected...

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 16, 2014 at 11:07am

Not sure I agree... Facebook is the only SN I consider strictly personal but even that has changed of the last year or so. I'm probably friends with more recruiters these days and blocking irritating family so obviously a shift is happening. Twitter is relatively professional for me and I engage on it a lot more than I do LinkedIn. I just sat on an employer panel a few nights ago and I confessed if candidates REALLY wanted to get my attention, Tweet me! My LI inbox is overflowing. The better rule of thumb is look at someone's profile before deciding to send a friend request. If there seems to be an abundance of professional info / relevant news, go for it. If it's mostly personal (or even worse, set to private!) leave them alone....


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