So, just how dangerous are Social Network Sites (SNSs) to candidates when they’re job hunting.At Bright Network, we are working with firms who want to utilise social networks for the hiring of new staff – however those firms also want to ensure that they are engaging with the right kind of potential talent. Our experience shows that social networking is one of the key new ways to recruit – ‘social recruitment.’
If you have an engaged community of people on the right platform, you can harness the power of social media to successfully connect firms with the talent they want to reach. And if you incentivise that crowd of online people in the right way, (be that through gifts, financial rewards etc), you create a focused community, who can recommend their friends and acquaintances, and so firms can access a greater pool of trusted talent. With the boundaries between work and play becoming increasingly merged with the introduction of SNSs, everyone needs to be aware that anything they send into the web may be ultimately traceable, and has the potential to stay for a long time. In our experience, large businesses who are hiring lots of people don’t have the time to check profiles on sites such as Facebook, however small businesses will be far more likely to. So does this mean SNSs present a natural threat for employees? Social networking does not have to be a problem. For example, Twitter is where breaking news stories are often first posted and as previously mentioned, a new and efficient way for potential clients, businesses and employees to interact and hear about new jobs and opportunities. I think the most important thing for employees to remember is that you should not post or write anything on an SNS that you would not want almost everyone you know to be aware of – as the advanced technology of SNSs is that, comments and posts are nearly always traceable and with facilities such as ‘like’ in Facebook and ‘retweeting’ on Twitter – there is almost no escape. So, how is social networking affecting current employees? If any employee is time-wasting, whether whilst using a social networking site or not, it’s likely this will be affecting their work and many of the big firms block social networking sites at company computers. Staff need to be aware that should they choose to tweet or facebook something negative about their workplace, this could come back to bite them. Most employees have a code of conduct that they sign when they join, and just because you have a personal twitter/fb account – you are not exempt. And while of course from time to time, everyone needs a good rant, just like in life, you choose your moments and you choose your audience – wisely. There is of course the well-known story of the bank employee who posted on her facebook status that she was not looking forward to work on Monday or something similar, only to be fired on the Monday! I think the lesson is to always be mindful what you write as there is always someone watching or reading that you haven’t taken into account. The world moves on – but the old ‘think before you speak’ does not. The key thing is clearly privacy settings – our advice is to have them turned right up so strangers (i.e. recruiters) can’t see the social side of your life. However I would also stress that 99% of recruiters completely get that people use SNSs for social things and it doesn’t concern them – after all, they’re probably on them too (!). In the graduate space big recruiters aren’t trawling SNSs looking at profiles – they’re too busy, it’s more SMEs when recruiters are often also the managers and will have to work with the candidate and want to know more about them. So, in short SNSs carry both potential and threat, it’s how an individual chooses to use them that will ultimately determine they’re worth.





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James Uffindell, MD and Founder of The Bright Network

James started his first business aged nine, another one at 14. In his last year at university James setup an organisation, Oxbridge Applications, to help people apply to university and at 25, went on to co-found a social enterprise. While James has lived and breathed the commercial world for 10 years, when he left university he really had no idea as to what to do, or even how to go about it.

While some friends found their way into investment banking and law, many were left baffled and floundering. As James met more and more bright graduates who felt similarly, lacking in guidance he decided to set up The Bright Network.