There’s a lot of pressure on the job seeker. Send the perfect resume. Write the perfect cover letter. Have the perfect interview. As a job seeker there is a ton to focus on, sometimes you get lost in the jumble. It’s no surprise you go onto autopilot and apply anywhere that’s accepting applications. However it is the jobseeker's responsibility to research where you’re applying - and learning about the company on social networks opens up new insights...
We are living in a society where everything is online, and I mean everything. Offices aren’t meant to be top secret, barricaded, moat-protected establishments (unless you’re a spy.) You want to work in a place where they are proud to share their employer brand. One way to do to so? Check out what social networks they’re on and evaluate what they are posting.
Does the company have a Facebook presence? If they don't, what can you infer about them as a company? They aren't social, they are wildly behind and in desperate need of a social media director. Are these things you want in a future employer? Do they allow you to post, or have they removed that option? The ability to comment on a company page tells you the enterprise are open communicators. Are they providing value to their audience? Are they sharing accomplishments and telling you this is a place you want to work? Are there pictures of office life and people enjoying their work? Do you see work life balance? Thinking through these questions gives you an insight as to how you will fit into the work atmosphere and company culture.
On Twitter, check the discussions of your potential employer. What are they talking about? Who are they talking to? Twitter is text; talk business. How they interact with their community is a very telling sign of what kind of company they are. Do their employees share the brand? Does the official company Twitter account actually answer and respond to questions and comments? At SmartRecruiters, we are committed to transparency and response. The team members on Twitter are proud to share updates from the company, and tidbits about what is going on at work. We’ve also just created @SRCares, so if there is ever an issue we can answer as quickly as possible, and people know they have a place to go. We are an open minded, and open-to-communication kind of company. Are the companies you are considering applying to?
Check out the company’s Instagram or photo sharing websites (Pinterest, Flickr, BranchOut, PhotoBucket, etc.) and see what kind of pictures they have that shed light on their place of work. If there are a lot of pictures of employees working together on various activities, maybe this is the kind of place that does a lot of work in teams? Other times companies share what they eat for lunch, what they do after work, and what their office looks like. All of these are indicators of environment, which is very important to your future success and longevity of tenure in a job. If you’re not happy in the environment, it will be hard to thrive.
LinkedIn is typically seen as a place to connect with people more than the company, but that is changing. LinkedIn has recently made a huge push towards improving LinkedIn company pages. You can easily see who is keeping up with trends. Look to LinkedIn company pages for a more professional impression of the company, and take a look at your potential co-workers too.
Google+ is tricky and diverse. There are a lot of different ways to use it. But, some companies have gotten really good at it. See what communities your potential employer participates in. This will connect you to professionals in the space. This is great for networking and determining what kind of people you might be working with. Google+ also has the potential to be a great place to leave an impression by commenting on an employer's status.
The point is that there is a lot to focus on and pay attention to as a job seeker. It easy to blindly apply to different jobs, never knowing what the culture is like until you wind up in a cubicle not speaking to anyone around you. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Now, employers know jobseekers are online checking out their employer brand. By seeing who is sharing updates that align with your priorities, you can refine your job search and apply to places with the environment to empower your professional development.
Lexie is the Community Manager at SmartRecruiters.
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